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Route for a romantic bike ride along the Thames near Windsor

PUBLISHED: 16:06 11 February 2019 | UPDATED: 16:06 11 February 2019

View across The Brocas towards Windsor Castle

View across The Brocas towards Windsor Castle

Archant

This idyllic bike ride along the Thames will make the perfect date

This is one of the most idyllic Thames cycle rides, offering great views over the Thames to Windsor and a chance to enjoy the beauty of the quaint village of Bray. The ride passes close to Dorney Lake, also known as Eton College Rowing Centre, used in the 2012 Summer Olympics.

The route also goes through Eton, past The Watermans Arms pub, which dates back to the 17th century and is one of the oldest pubs in the area having formally been a parish workhouse. If you want to stop for a while, you can explore the pubs and shops of Eton or Windsor over the bridge.

Some of the ride uses the Green Way, which is a waterside trail from Cookham to Maidenhead and is suitable for cycling in many places. Adjacent to a recycling site is a park constructed in 1987 with a Nature Reserve, ideal for cycling.

This is an easy ride and largely flat but has some uneven surfaces, particularly along the Thames Path, so you are advised to use a mountain bike or hybrid and be considerate to walkers.

Some of this route uses sections of the the National Cycle Network. These are a series of traffic-free paths marked by blue signs and under the custody of Sustrans.

You can start the ride at River Road or Eton at The Watermans Arms pub for what is a circular/figure-of-eight route. River Road has some free parking if you are taking your bike to the start by car but Eton is more restrictive and parking is expensive.


Information

• Start/finish: River Road, Taplow, Maidenhead (SU9021681310) Approx. postcode SL6 0AB

• Map: OS Explorer 172

• Distance: 15 miles or 24km

• Terrain: Largely level riverside tracks with gates and some minor roads

• Time: 1 to 2 hours

• Refreshments: Choices in Eton or Windsor

The walk

1. (SU9021681310) Follow River Road south towards Eton with the river on your right. The road will display a sign saying ‘private road’ but this is part of the Thames Path and opens to a track.

2. Follow the track south-easterly with the meander of the river. Keeping the river on your right; you will see breathtaking views from the riverbank path. This path can become rutty and uneven at times so take it slowly. The track goes under the M4 motorway, past Boveney Lock and under the A332 (you may need to dismount your bike at some gates and locks along the route) and over two wooden bridges till you get to The Watermans Arms pub. The pub is on the Thames Path. It’s a great opportunity for a rest stop or a bite to eat before the return leg back to Bray. The return leg of this route is slightly more varied and makes a nice change from just the river route.

3. (SU9662677258) From The Watermans Arms, follow the small residential road (Atherton Court) north past some modern residential blocks and bear left along Meadow Lane and continue as the lane bears left. Continue straight ahead whilst the lane becomes narrower. You eventually come to a railway bridge and at this point turn right following Cycle Route 4 North, keeping the Victorian railway bridge brickwork on your left-hand side and passing some allotments.

4. (SU9611678083) Eventually, you get to Eton Wick Road (B3026). At this point follow the cycle path that runs alongside the road and under the railway bridge through a small tunnel under the A332. The cycle path leads onto the road for a short time towards the village of Eton Wick, passing the church of St John the Baptist. You will then see a left-hand bridleway sign on the left.

5. (SU9506378350) Take this paved cycle path towards the river. At the south end of the path you will see a footbridge; take this bridge and follow the cycle track, which has fields on the right. This is a lovely stretch and with care you can get some more speed over this section.

6. Continue along this track with a tree avenue ahead of you and along Lock Path as it merges into Boveney Road. Turn left at Cycle Route 4; you will then get to the entrance of Dorney Rowing Lake. Go through the gate and turn right. Follow the cycle track around the edge of the rowing lake complex. This is a lovely path and passes some wooded sections.

7. Eventually the route reaches a small access road that forms the entrance to the rowing lake. Continue ahead on the cycle route till you eventually reach the Thames Path again. You follow the Thames Path with the river on your left and then cross the river using the wooden footbridge. On the other side of the river, follow the track until you reach a junction.

8. Turn right at the junction along Monkey Island Lane, following this lane as it crosses over the M4.

9. Monkey Island Lane merges into Old Mill Lane and winds through the pretty village of Bray.

10. Turn left on Ferry Road. Turn right on to the road heading towards the church and through the village along the B3028. At at the end of the village turn left along Hibbert Road (SU8996679760).

11. Follow Hibbert Road till you come to a small gate on the right with the Cycle Route 4 symbol displayed. Take this cycle track with woodland on either side until you reach a bridge, cross the bridge and take the second road just ahead at the small residential roundabout. Continue ahead along Oldfield Road.

12. Just under the railway bridge take a right at Oldacres and follow this residential lane until you see a sign for Cycle Route 52. Turn left at Horseguards Drive and then right again at the end of the drive, taking the left turn to follow Guards Club Road until you reach Bridge Road roundabout.

13. Turn right at the roundabout and cross the river, turning right along River Road, which will take you back to the start point.


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