A bit of fresh air always a great tonic whatever the weather. Have a look at our suggestions for nice walks in the local area and get out to enjoy our beautiful surroundings.
Charvil Country Park covers 75 hectares and is rich in wildlife with 2 nationally rare plants: the Loddon Lily and Loddon Pondweed. Those local to the area will recognise the name Loddon, which has been used in road names and community centres. The park is also popular with birdwatchers where herons and wildfowl can regularly be spotted.
The park is still largely left to nature with two large lakes left purely for wildlife. There is a nature trail leaflet to encourage residents explore the local area. This area is particularly popular with dog walkers. Charvil Country Park is not developed in any way, so there is no coffee shop or facilities, but if you are looking for a walk in the wild, this is the place to come.
Visitors should remember, there are no parking facilities. Pedestrian access is from Park Lane, Old Bath Road, Vale View and East Park Farm Drive.
Beware the highwaymen in Maidenhead Thicket! This used to be a perilous place to travel through in the 17th and 18th centuries. Now, a very pleasant mixed wood with some orchids if you’re eagle-eyed. You can also spot Emperor Dragonflies in Summer and Bullfinches in Autumn. Robin Hood’s Arbour within the wood is believed to be an iron age farmstead.
A couple of miles to the west of Maidenhead, and just off the A4, the Thicket offers varied walking routes (5 miles of walks in fact!) throughout the seasons with highlights including clumps of snowdrops in spring and a golden canopy of oak and lime leaves in autumn. The avenues of tall trees provide coolness in summer. Parking is at Stubbings Garden Centre, which of course makes a great stop for coffee and snacks after a walk so its ideal for our clients to have some time in the peace and tranquillity of the woods, followed by a tasty snack!.
Sonning Lock on the River Thames dates back to the 1500s, although obviously not in the form it is today. And the mill in Sonning is mentioned in the Domesday Book of 1086.
Things have changed over the years at Sonning, and visitors can now enjoy a tea garden (open April-Oct), serving hot and cold drinks, cream teas, snacks and ice creams. We love to accompany our clients and have a little sit along this stretch of the Thames too with the walk starting around Sonning Bridge. We always love a stroll in Sonning on the off chance we bump into local resident George Clooney!
The lock-keeper from 1845 to 1878 was James Sadler, a poet and beekeeper. He wrote verses about the river and about bees and is credited with the invention of the Berkshire hive.
Is there a spot more lovely than the rest,
By art improved, by nature truly blest?
A noble river at its base running,
It is a little village known as Sonning.
— James Sadler (1845—1885)
Many visitors to the Lock make a cheeky excursion to Loddon Brewery, 2 miles up the road in Dunsden Green. The Taproom is open Thu-Sat 10am-6pm and the shop is open Mon-Sat (check times).
The Wallingford River & Castle Circular Walk in total is 5 miles to do the full figure of 8 walk. However, you can always double back on yourself for a shorter walk. Start at Wallingford Bridge down Castle Lane just behind The Boat House pub. The Thames Path is signposted to the right just beyond it.
Its always full to relax by the river – our clients often like to take some bread to feed the ducks, who are so friendly they often will come right up to you in hope of a snack. There are plenty of benches so you can sit and watch the boats go by.
A few minutes walk bring you to the remains of Wallingford Castle built under William the Conqueror in 1066. The castle was destroyed by Oliver Cromwell in 1652, leaving the ruins we see today.
There are plenty of restaurants, cafes and shops in Wallingford, so our care team often like to take our clients to a café for a treat after some fresh air.
Hambledon village is a very quaint and pretty village in the Chiltern Hills, between Henley and Marlow.
The village is worth a wander around – there are lots of pretty buildings and cottages made from flint and stone. St Mary’s church with its tower is a beautiful church and if you manage to get inside you can see its intricately decorated ceiling. The post office in the village is where you’ll find drink, snacks and ice creams and there’s seating outside.
The village also houses a Jacobean style manor house built in 1603. Charles I stayed there overnight in 1646 on his return to London from Oxford. Other famous links to Hambledon include William Henry Smith, founder (in 1821) of the WH Smith and Lord Cardigan, famous for his role in leading the ill-fated Charge of the Light Brigade, who was born in Hambledon. The chest that he took to the Crimea can be seen in the church. And the village had a starring role as the location in the the film Chitty Chitty Bang Bang.
A mile to the south of Hambleden at Mill End is Hambledon Mill and Hambleden Lock on the River Thames which are lovely to walk around and discover. Both the mill and the lock featured in the novel Three Men in A Boat.