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Winter Walks in Berkshire for Families

Winter Walks in Berkshire for Families

Not much beats a crisp, Winter day, pulling on the wellies and coats and heading off on family walks. We’ve been roaming the beautiful county of Berkshire to come up with our favourite family friendly hikes (haha, who am I kidding, we’re definitely more in the gentle stroll camp!).

And if you’re looking for ideas on keeping the little ones entertained while walking, why not check out the National Trust 50 Things to do Before You’re 11 3/4. Climbing trees, making dens, playing pooh sticks, hunting for bugs and much more, have a look here and start ticking them off!

 

The Long Walk, Windsor

The Long Walk runs all the way from the gates of Windsor Castle up to the statue of the Copper Horse on Snow Hill. It carves a straight walkway 2.64 miles from start to finish through Windsor Great Park. This is a great place to come with the kiddies. Not only do they get up close and personal with Windsor Castle, but the path is well tarmacked and perfect for scooters (cycling isn’t allowed on the route). You may even spot the resident Great Park deer. Once you reach the top you can really see how amazing the statue is while taking in the stunning views back down to the castle and as far as the London skyscrapers on a clear day.

For parking you’ll need to either park up in Windsor Town Centre and walk up to the Castle starting point on Park Street, or you can park in the small car park on Kings Road free of charge, cross the road and walk up the pathway to join the Long Walk that way. Please note once you’re on the Long Walk there aren’t any toilets, so bring a potty if you’re going through that stage!

For more information click here.

Kennet and Avon Canal, Newbury

The Kennet and Avon Canal is actually an 87 mile long stretch of waterway from London all the way to the Bristol Channel. For a more family friendly option we started at Newbury and walked along the way towards Hungerford. In it’s entirety this is about 9 miles which could be done for the energetic with older children and bikes, having younger children we took buggies and keep it much shorter. I suppose the beauty of a canal walk is you can turn around and head back whenever suits you. This is a stunning stretch to walk along. The littles ones will love seeing the boats, bridges and locks along the way, and it’s a picturesque and relaxing stroll. Only watch out is I think it could get pretty muddy in patches here so maybe best for a spell of dry weather.

For more information, click here.

Dinton Pastures Country Park, Winnersh

This is a great buggy and child friendly walk. You’ll find lots of paths and detours should you feel that way inclined but the main walk around Black Swan lake is about 2 miles. You’ll also find plenty of ducks and geese so make sure to pack some bread. At the start of the walk there’s a great size play area which will keep small people entertained for hours. It has a wide range of play equipment including: zip wires, slides, swings, a sand pit, play bridge, trampolines and lots of tunnels, perfect for little explorers. And it looks really pretty too, made mainly from natural materials.

If you want to get a bite to eat there you’ll find the Dragonfly Café near the main car park with outdoor seating and a selection of hot and cold food options and refreshments. You’ll find toilets and baby changing here too. There’s a large car park at Dinton but you need to pay and display so make sure you have some cash to hand.

For more information click here.

Swinley Forest & the Lookout, Bracknell

Swinley Forest in Bracknell is perfect for adventurous children who enjoy making dens, searching for bugs and climbing trees. There are loads of well marked routes ranging from 1.5 – 4 miles, all sign posted with distances so you can commit to the route that best suits your family. Park up at the Lookout Discovery Centre on the edge of the forest and you can walk from there. There’s also a great play area for kiddies at the Lookout as well as a café (hot and cold drinks, sandwiches, children’s boxes, cakes and more) and toilets with baby changing facilities.

Maps are available to buy from the Lookout for £1.00. For more information, click here.

Ray Mill Island & Boulters Lock, the River Thames at Maidenhead

Ray Mill Island and Boulters Lock are one of my youngest memories as a child. It’s been a firm favourite with families for a long time, and is somewhere I love taking my children now for a afternoon outside in the fresh air, and it’s free. To access the island walk past Boulters Restaurant and turn right crossing over the pedestrian bridge. On the Island you’ll find small play areas and a lovely place to walk and feed the ducks. There’s an aviary and guinea pig enclosure, toilets, lots of picnic tables, and a café for refreshments. At the far end of the island is Boulters Weir, one of 50 remaining on the Thames. On your way back to the car why not sit at the Lock for a bit and watch the boats come in and out, or have a little walk along the river if you want to add a bit more on. There’s no parking on the island but there’s Boulters Lock Car Park which is a large open air car park just across from Boulters Lock on Lower Cookham Road, SL6 8JN. This is just 50p for up to 3 hours, or free with an Advantage Card if you’re a resident of the RBWM.

For more information click here.

Shepherd Meadows, Sandhurst

Shepherd Meadows and Sandhurst Memorial Park are adjoining sites offering loads of recreational activities and walks for families in the Sandhurst and South Berkshire area on the River Blackwater. Shepherd Meadows consists of 100 acres of wet wildflower meadows and woodland, perfect for adventurous children looking to build dens and pretend campfires. This makes for a lovely walk spotting the local wildlife and collecting nature items. There is a good network of paths interlinking the two sites. Sandhurst Memorial Park is home to a fantastic children’s play area with loads of equipment and an activity trail. There’s also Pistachios Café for refreshments and toilets found here.  

For more information click here.

Basildon Park

Basildon Park is a National Trust property near Reading with over 400 acres of parkland perfect for family walks. You’ll find four different walks all clearly sign posted, easy to follow and different terrains depending on what you’re looking for. The walks range from 0.5 – 3 miles. Click here for a map of the grounds with the walks marked and the nature trail.

There are many areas of the parkland perfect for little ones to explore, build dens and go on bug hunts. They also have a nature trail sheet for kiddies to mark off wildlife and plant life as you explore the beautiful grounds. Basildon Park has car parking, reception, shop and toilet facilities.

For more information, click here.

The Nature Discovery Centre, Thatcham

The Nature Discovery Centre at Thatcham is a great day out for all the family, even the dog. There’s a beautiful lake with a walk all the way round the outside which is great for children who will love the interactive displays and games. The fish tanks are a great way of showing what life is like under the water and bringing this to life for little ones. There are two fantastic play areas for smaller and bigger children, so this really is suitable for all ages. There’s a café in the main building for food and refreshments with great outside seating offering views over the lake. You’ll find ample car parking which you can donate money to in order to help with the maintenance of the site.

For more information click here.

 

Fancy something a little bit outside of Berkshire…

 

Dorney Lake, Buckinghamshire

The ever-popular Dorney Lake is a great destination for walking and running, as well as taking the scooters and bikes for the kiddies due to it’s well tarmacked track all the way around the iconic rowing lake. It’s a beautiful walk and with one track around there’s no way of getting lost. You’ll also find some really nice places nearby to grab a coffee or a pub lunch. Some of our favourites are; The Pineapple, The Palmer Arms and Dorney Court Kitchen Garden.

There’s a car park next to the lake as you drive in with pay and display machines. For more information, click here.

Burnham Beeches

Burnham Beeches is considered to be one of the best examples of ancient woodland in Britain. It’s a great choice for a family walk with buggy and scooter friendly paths winding through the stunning woods. Little explorers will love the climbing, discovering, den building and bug hunting on offer. There’s also a shallow stream which children can splash in and walk through with supervision. The walk is under 3 miles, with the option to take a shortcut and it’s all well marked.

There’s free car parking by Beeches Café and Information Point on Lord Mayor’s Drive, off Beeches Road in Farnham Common. You can also grab some refreshments and snacks at Beeches Café at the start of the walk. Here there are toilet facilities and baby changing.

For more information, click here.

Cliveden Woods

One of our favourites, Cliveden is a National Trust property situated just outside of Maidenhead. You can make a whole day out at Cliveden. You’ll be spoilt for choice with the walks at your disposal. From woodland rambles, to lake side strolls and walks through gardens, everything is well marked with paths suitable for buggies and scooters. There’s also a great story-book themed play area, large (and somewhat challenging, ahem) maze, and ponds with bridges and stepping stones. If you’re feeling peckish after all that walking you could try the Orangery Café which has a more extensive menu and outdoor seating for sunny winter days. Or you’ll find refreshments at the Doll’s House Grab and Go overlooking the Storybook play area, or the coffee shop near the main car park for a hot drink and a slice of cake.

For more information and to check details see www.nationaltrust.org.uk/cliveden.

The Savill Garden

The beautiful Savill Garden sits within Windsor Great Park as an enclosed garden which you usually pay an entrance fee to get in to – however from 1 December – 5 January entry to the Garden is free. There are also lovely walks outside of the actual garden which are free to enjoy.

The Garden is very pretty with flowers, walks and a pond, made up of 35 acres of interconnecting gardens. It’s all well marked with good paths suitable for buggies. From 1 December 2017 – 5 January 2018 entry to The Savill Garden is free. Outside of this period the usual charges apply, you can find out more here.

The Park – Sitting within Windsor Great Park, this is a great place for getting out for some fresh air and is bike and scooter friendly for the kiddies. There’s a lovely, self-contained play area with a sand pit, swings, slides and climbing equipment. Plus, there’s the added bonus of a refreshment van nearby if like me you need a good few caffeine hits to get going in the morning. Throw in some beautiful walks through the woods and a huge lake with ducks always happy to see the arrival of bread clutching toddlers, and you have a perfect spot for a family walk.

There are good toilet facilities in the main Savill Garden building by the car park with a separate baby changing area. There is also a restaurant in the main building. This has 2 areas: the main restaurant which serves hot food, and the Gallery which is slightly more child friendly and serves cold food as well as grab and go boxes (4 items for £4.90 of which you can choose a sandwich, drink, fruit). There’s a large car park which you pay for when you leave, this can be pricey so check charges when you arrive.

For more information, click here.

Marlow River, Buckinghamshire

Marlow is our go-to choice for an after school stroll. It’s a nice short walk great for younger children, broken up with feeding the ducks and a play in the park. You can park up in the Pound Lane open air car park and make your way through Higginson Park down to the river to feed the ducks and watch the boats going past. Walk back along the river towards Marlow Bridge and follow the path to the left which takes you up to the children’s play area. You’ll find a Costa coffee shop (music to my ears) and public toilets here too.

Black Park, Wexham, Buckinghamshire

Bikes and scooters at the ready, Black Park is waiting. Sitting just outside of Berkshire in Buckinghamshire, this is a great place for a family bike ride, walk or just a trip to the park with an ice cream after. There are over 10 miles of well surfaced paths suitable for buggies and scooters for the adventurous amongst you! You’ll find a large car park on arrival which is pay and display, we paid £3.70 for 2 hours (that’s the only non-free bit done). A short walk through the woods takes you to the lake with a path that goes all the way round. On the other side of the lake you’ll find a large woodland play area for the little ones, with plenty to keep them busy. It’s a perfect afternoon out for kiddies who like exploring, we spent ages collecting acorns, making campfires and playing hide and seek. You’ll find toilets by the play area, and also a café selling refreshments and food which can be eaten inside or out on the terrace. There’s also a little refreshment cabin over the other side of the lake near the car park.

For more information click here.

 

We hope you found this post useful. After all that walking maybe you fancy a family friendly roast dinner! For ideas on places to eat with the kiddies in Berkshire, click here.

 



2 thoughts on “Winter Walks in Berkshire for Families”

  • We love Cliveden! The woods, just along from the main entrance are great for exploring. We love the natural playground trail hidden in the woodland, with tree swings, logs to balance on and den’s to hide in. I love that the tree swings are strong enough for grown-up’s too! I obviously have to test them each time….just to make sure they’re safe 😉

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