After a slightly delayed train journey, 19 Poly Ramblers and 1 guest made it onto the rail replacement bus at Staines, thanks to Ida who arranged for the bus to be held for us. Unfortunately 1 member arrived at Egham on a later bus, too late to join the walk. Such are the perils of rail delays and replacements. But we were lucky with the weather. The sun shone all day, at just the right temperature for an autumn walk. We made our way up Cooper’s Hill and down to Runnymede to enjoy the recent artworks commissioned to celebrate 8oo years since the signing of the Magna Carta.
Writ in Water by Mark Wallinger is a large scale round structure that leads to a central chamber open to the sky, above a pool of water around which the words of Clause 39 of the Magna Carta are reflected. Huw Locke’s 12 Jurors also echoes Clause 39. His 12 bronze chairs are decorated with images relating to the struggle for freedom and equal rights. We also admired some amazing, large wickerwork figures in the process of construction. However, what we did not see (sorry folks) was the memorial to J F Kennedy opened in 1965, which Andrew asked about. Apparently, Britain gifted an acre of Runnymede woodland to America in memory of JFK – the only piece of American soil in the UK (good quiz question). On it is a 7 ton block of carved Portland stone reached by climbing up steps made from 60000 granite setts (square cobbles to you and me). Definitely something to see on another visit.
After a snack stop at the NT cafe, we walked the Thames Path to Datchet for a late lunch, admiring the expensive houses and boats along the way. The pub and community cafe at Datchet served us well. Two people left after lunch and the rest of us continued on the Thames Path to Windsor, with views of the Castle and Eton school.
Thanks to all who joined me on this walk, my first as leader since January 2020! And thanks to Ida for her photos and negotiation skills. Sandra