Jill

Hi there, my name’s Jill.  I’m an Information Assistant at the Royal Windsor Information Centre and I’ve been lucky enough to live in Old Windsor for over 20 years. 

Why lucky?  Well, I live very close to an undiscovered part of Windsor which gives me and many other villagers a huge amount of pleasure.

Old Windsor? What happened to make it old?  In Saxon times, this was Windsor.  The Norman invasion saw William arrive in Windsor and build Windsor Castle in a better vantage point, just up the road.

Royal connections abound around the village, from the view of Windsor Castle from many parts of the village, to historic Runnymede on the south eastern border of the village.

Parish Church of St Peter and St Andrew, Old Windsor

So how do you get there?  Take a walk down Church Road and you will come to the 19th-century refurbished Parish Church of St Peter and St Andrew, then carry on through the churchyard towards the River Thames.  You will note as you pass the church porch that there has been a place of worship on this site for over 1000 years.

Albert Bridge, Old Windsor

Arriving at the River Thames you can either turn right along the towpath towards Runnymede or left for our undiscovered walk.  This time we choose the left turn towards the Albert Bridge, near the famous Windsor Farm Shop, for me the better walk with a reward at the end of a sit down and a cup of tea.

So, walking past the marina, we can look across the river to Wraysbury Boatyard, a point of fascination for our grandchildren who constantly admire the various craft moored and ask, “Nana, when will you get one of these boats?  Wouldn’t it be grand to sail along the river like millionaires!”

Yes, wouldn’t it!

Now we are passing the idyllic willow tree-lined riverbank.  As you walk along this part of the Thames, with The Queen’s swans gliding serenely up and down, it’s easy to imagine you are part of a Victorian novel.  Wait a minute!  In his novel Three Men in a Boat, Jerome K Jerome described this stretch as “a delightful bit of the river” and I certainly agree.  We could sit here for hours watching boats go by and sipping lashings of ginger beer, but there is an appointment with a cup of tea to keep.

Over the little bridge, giving us a heady scent of Wisteria, we arrive at Old Windsor Lock. 

Old Windsor Lock

Like an amphitheatre, the lock is attracting spectators looking down on the holiday river traffic queues as they move through the machine in a typically British orderly fashion.

On the other side of the lock we walk past Ham Island with its waterfront houses.  This island forms part of the development of the lock and has been around for 200 years.  It’s accessed via a narrow single lane bridge of the same vintage at the end of Ham Lane.

Carrying on along the river and past the weir, we get a fantastic view of many different types of wildlife in the fields and both on and in the water.  It’s a favourite haunt of many kinds of angler, not just the human kind.  Away from the walkers, on the far bank of the river a statuesque heron stands waiting for its chance, waiting for its treat.

Just around the bend in the river, the Albert Bridge magically appears from behind the trees and we have to make the hard choice: turn tail and head for home or treat ourselves to that cup of tea from Windsor Farm Shop.  Well, what would you do?

Related

National Trust Runnymede
Historic Site
National Trust Runnymede: Writ in Water by Mark Wallinger

Seen by many as the birthplace of modern democracy, this picturesque open landscape beside the Thames was witness to King John's historic sealing of the Magna Carta on 15 June 1215. Today Runnymede is the perfect place to relax outdoors, or to pause and reflect on the history of the struggle for freedom. As well as a monument to the democratic legacy of the Magna Carta, you'll find further memorials to John F. Kennedy and the Commonwealth Air Forces. There are two art installations to be discovered in the meadows. The Jurors by Hew Locke is a collection of 12 bronze chairs sat in the meadow. Writ in Water is a major architectural artwork by Mark Wallinger, in collaboration with Studio Octopi. Runnymede in Sound

Old Windsor
Towns & Villages
The River Thames at Old Windsor

Old Windsor was the oldest Saxon town in Berkshire and the seat of Edward the Confessor. It continued in importance up until about 1100 when it was gradually overshadowed by the building of Windsor Castle two miles upstream.

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