I set off again this afternoon to walk new route for part of the Day 1 walk. I was unhappy about the walk north of Taplow last time: the riverside is not accessible, I found, and so I had to walk along the Cliveden Road, which can be very busy and without a pavement not ever a verge for much of it: I kept having to dive into thorn bushes – that and being unhappy about extended road walking.
So, today I parked at Dorney Reach, which is where the M4 crosses the Thames to try a different route. The Thames is gorgeous here, if you can ignore the extensive works on the M4 bridge. (The path is closed under the motorway bridge and so diverted onto a floating path at present, on pontoons bobbing on the river.)
After the first house, I turned off onto a track and a bridleway off that, heading north-west to cut a loop off the river, and this brought me to the Jubilee River, and across a footbridge. A track north then passed under the railway and emerged at the A4, but the road and attendant garages were soon passed, and past a sports field and an entrance, a path leads north-east across fields to emerge at Boundary Road, at the south edge of Taplow. The map shows the path continuing directly ahead – I had to retrace my steps though, as that was a farm entrance and not a public footpath, which runs from south of the hedgerow. (Apologies delivered in person to the farm.) From this footpath is a last, distant view to Windsor Castle.
After a short way up a lane is a little hamlet which I took to be called Burnham from the map, but Burnham is now a swollen suburb of Slough, a mile off, and this is just the bit which has so far escaped. None of my route this afternoon was urban, though there were hints that I was close to the edge of the town here, as there had been by the A4. Over the fields though and all that was left behind.
From this hamlet of Burnham, the path lay north, by fields, a golf course and through a wood. The woods around here are lovely and had I been able to do so, I would have plotted a route all through the woods to meet a further path I could see, but the woods at this point are private and closed. Therefore some road walking is unavoidable, but this rote was to minimise it. Emerging then at Taplow Common Road, I found it to be a B road with some traffic, so I went instead north up a narrow lane called Rose Hill, only to cut back to the B-road at the end of it.
The remaining stretch of Taplow Common Road is without pavement and little verge, but it is a far quieter road than the main Cliveden Road (to which it runs), and with no insane drivers, so where I did step off the tarmac it was more out of courtesy than necessity, and the verge is more accessible, mostly. The road emerges opposite the main entrance to Cliveden House, now a national Trust house. The main Cliveden Road here is back to the route I walked on Day 1, but I had bypassed the deathly stretch of road. North of this point, the road has broad verges or pavement all the way.
Immediately here though was The Feathers, a fine pub. I unlocked my bicycle, which I had left here earlier before driving to my start point, and cycled back to Dorney Reach.
An alternative revised route emerged though as I was walking. I had left the riverside soon after the motorway bridge, but if you want to carry on with the river a little longer, do, as far as Maidenhead Bridge. It is a pleasant stretch. From the bridge (and this is the way walked on Day 1) is park with a path which crosses the Jubilee River and heads uphill to Taplow Village (as I did on Day 1). It is a little more road, but you can stroll through the village, past the pub and the church up to the top, and emerge at Boundary Road just above the path I walked this afternoon.
I will mark the new route up on my online map on the project page shortly. That is the last link in the Buckinghamshire Way complete.
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