This walk this month takes you through Virginia Water and on to the River Thames and the three memorials at Runnymede – to the Magna Carta, President Kennedy and the Air Forces, all of which are free to visit. If you want to make a day of it, you could also drop in and see the Savill Garden, Britain’s finest ornamental garden, which is also on the route.
The walk was submitted by Guildford Rambling Club (see guildfordramblingclub.org.uk).
1. Facing the pub go into Northfield Road which forks away down its right-hand side. At a bend by ‘Dial House’, take a footpath out right. Follow the path through to a field and cross it half-left. Enter a corridor and again follow the path through to emerge on an unmade lane (Prospect Lane) which leads you out onto a road, Wick Lane. Turn left and quickly pass the Sun public house. Keep going for about ¼ mile along Wick Lane until you reach, on the right, the entrance to the Savill Gardens coach park.
2. Walk over to the Visitor Centre and then left along the tarmac path in front of it. Keep going to pass the Obelisk, descend and pass a lake. Climb a slope and reach a multi-way junction. Take the left-hand fork of the two paths straight ahead. After about 100 yards fork right onto a wide grassy path. Follow this down through laurels and emerge in an open area and then visit the Totem Pole which will be off to your left. Now head back along your path to the Totem Pole, following the ‘Blacknest Gate/Valley Gardens’ signs. Keep going until reaching a junction by a truly giant sequoia. Here turn left and immediately right. Ignore lefts and rights, keep going until reaching a T junction with a tarmac lane. Go left. Soon reach a junction with a sign ‘Toilets 100 yards’. Follow this sign past the toilets and a house and turn left to walk along the edge of the Polo Grounds.
3. Reach a T junction with a wide road (actually a crossroads with a wide sandy track straight ahead) and turn right. Now walk up to and through Cumberland Gate and continue on following the road as it swings right and exits the park through Bishops Gate. You could picnic just inside the park. The Fox and Hounds is a little way beyond the gate, on the right.
4. Afterwards, continue on along the road past the gate and the pub and follow it as it swings left to pass the Savill Court Hotel. Turn left into Crimp Hill. Turn right into Ridgemead Road. Reach a T junction with Castle Hill Road. Turn left and immediately reach a T junction with a main road. Go left and walk down-hill until you see a footpath on the other side, heading out right. Follow this lane to its end to reach the Kennedy Memorial. Go down the steps to reach a field. Turn right and walk along the edge to reach and visit the Magna Carta Memorial (on your right).
5. Continue a few yards further along the field to take a footpath, right, into another field. Head a quarter left and through a gate labelled ‘Airforces Memorial’ and into woods. Take the steps leading up ahead right. Follow the path up and reach a road. Go right and walk past some Runnymede College buildings. The road swings right and you reach the entrance to the Airforces Memorial. After visiting it, continue along the road, passing a car park and toilets, until turning left down Coopers Hill Lane, a side road that leads you to the opposite side of the green from the start point.
DISTANCE: 8 miles
OS MAPS: Explorer 160 Windsor, Weybridge & Bracknell
STARTING POINT: From the A30, go through Englefield Green, past the shops and until you reach a large green on the left. Barley Mow Road runs along the nearer edge of the green. Park by the edge of the green, in Barley Mow Road and opposite the Barley Mow pub.
REFRESHMENTS: The Barley Mow, Englefield Green, Egham TW20 0NX. Telephone 01784 431857. Bishopsgate Road, Englefield Green, Egham TW20 0XU.
Top image: The Magna Carta Memorial by Andy Pearce
Runnymede Air Forces Memorial
This memorial is dedicated to some 20,456 men and women from air forces of the British Empire who were lost in air and other operations during WWII. Those recorded have no known grave anywhere in the world, and many were lost without trace. It is managed by the Commonwealth War Graves Commission and is open every day except Christmas Day and New Years Day. From 1st April to 31 October, the times are: weekdays 9am to 6pm or dusk whichever is sooner; weekends and public holidays 10am to 6pm or dusk whichever is sooner.
The Savill Garden
Britain’s finest ornamental garden, The Savill Garden is a garden for all seasons and a place of beauty and colour that’s loved by horticulturalists and enthusiasts alike. Visitors can journey through 35 acres of interconnecting gardens and exotic woodland. Every garden has its own unique attraction, featuring a distinctive group of plants that introduce a fresh burst of vibrant colour throughout the seasons.
Sir Eric Savill first created his woodland garden in the 1930s. Since then, many others (under the watchful eyes of Kings and Queens) have been on a tireless quest to add their own expertise and creativity. The Rose Garden, opened by H.M. the Queen in 2010, is a magnificent addition. Designed by Andrew Wilson, visitors can wander the swirls of rose beds and enjoy the perfume at its best from a walkway that rises into the centre of the Rose Garden, see below.
Open all year round except Christmas Eve and Christmas Day from 10am to 6pm daily. Last admission to the garden is at 5.30pm. Charges apply.