I met a group of Polyramblers including a new member, at Paddington station. We boarded the 1013 train, run by TfL, to the delight of freedompass holders who could enjoy a free ride to Slough. The train gathered up more of us en route, and outside the main entrance of Slough station, we all assembled with even more in the group who had travelled by other means. So we eventually set off with as many as 28 in the party. It was quite a cold day.
Our route took us across through several pedestrian crossings over the busy A4, then south along the Windsor road, where after some 200 yds we passed through a gateway and path into the cemetry of St Mary’s Parish Church. I considered giving a talk to the party here on the tarmac outside the church building, but changed my mind due
to the large size of the party. So we carried on along Albert Street, Dachet Road, passing over the M4 and down onto a footpath via The Myrke taking us past rows of terraced houses and onto another footpath leading us into Agars Plough.
Agars Plough is a playing field owned by Eton College, but open to the public. After passing a brick bridge on a wide track, I decided to stop the party to do a short history on Slough. We had passed the site of Observatory House on Windsor Road being the home of Sir William Herschel who discovered the planet Uranus in 1781. Whilst travelling on the train earlier, I thought of a poem by John Betjeman called Slough, and found it online through my smartphone, and thus linked it direct to its home menu. So, with the party assembled, I retreived the said phone out of my pocket, and, just as if I was rubbing Aladdin’s Magic Lamp, with 2 or 3 swipes of the phone’s glass screen, the poem suddenly appeared(not the genie!!). I recited it in full, and this was apparently well received by many in the party!
The walk then continued to the College Buildings in Eton. The college was founded in 1440 by Henry VI when he was only 14, being modelled on Winchester. At the centre of Eton we took a right turn past the Burning Bush Lamp, passing Common Lane House, and Godolphin House and a plaque to A C Benson, the author of “Land of Hope and Glory”. Our passage then led out onto fields through a series of railway arches, under the by-pass, over Great Eton Common, until we reached Eton Wick, for our chosen lunch venue.
Aware of no food available at our venue, the Greyhound PH, we brought our own lunches. On arrival at 12.45, it appeared to be closed, as the doors were locked, but we occupied its many picnic tables in its front yard adjacent to the street, and started eating. However, at 1pm the doors were unlocked, and some of us thus went inside into the warm to buy drinks.
As we left the pub a few members decided to leave the walk here, four catching a local bus and one a private car arrangement. The rest of us set across the nearby meads down to the Thames Path, where we had fine views of Windsor Castle. After a mile St Andrew’s church, Clewer, appeared across the water. William the Conqueror is said to have visited this Norman church. The Thames path continued to take us under the by-pass and GW railway, and onto Brocas Street into Eton High Street.
We crossed the bridge into Windsor, where one more member left us after I showed her the way to Central station. From the bridge, a left turn in front of the Castle ramparts. Then past Riverside station, opened by the London & South Western railway in 1849. To the station side is Royal House, originally built as Queen Victoria’s waiting room. We turned left into a park, crossed over the SW railway onto more thames path, passing a boatyard, then following the boundary of Home Park. After passing under a rail bridge, we then climbed up an embankment onto a road being a sharp right turn, and thus struck northwards over the Thames. The next path took us beside a golf course, and back towards the Myrke. We then recrossed the M4 into Upton Court Park where we emerged onto a car park in the grounds of a Scout Hall.
We were soon back at Albert Street, at which point I let Maria take over the last mile of the walk. She knows Slough better than I do, and I decided it would save repeating the first mile in reverse, creating a more varied route for the party. We thus crossed the High Street and a huge covered car park underneath Tescos and thence back to the station for trains etc. home.
And so its a big thank you from me to all the other 27 Polyramblers who attended this walk. Including Ida, the only bus traveller, for lots of wonderful photos.
GEOFFREY Photos by Ida, Geoffrey and Stuart