Windsor Great Park Walks

 These reports appear here in the absence of any details of the route – which it is hoped will appear eventually so that other can follow in the footsteps of those below!

In October 2014 we had a splendid walk in Windsor Great Park.  Bill Cathcart, retired Park Superintendant, was our guide in the woodland area around Cranbourne Gate.  We learned about the pollarding of old oaks which have helped to keep them into centuries of growth,  many around 400 years old.  We were very impressed to see “The Offas’s Oak” named after King Offas which is around 1300 years old!  This old oak is assisted in its maturity by supports to some of its huge branches.  When we went round it we could see how it is hollow inside.  We also saw The “Conqueror’s Oak”,  just as old, hollow and  well supported.  Fantastic to see the age of these trees.  (What history they have seen through all those years.)

It was most interesting to learn that hidden within the woods there are still avenues of trees which were planted to make it possible for Queen Anne to follow the Deer Hunts in her carriage.  Queen Anne did not ride but still wanted to hunt.  More avenues of trees were planted around Queen Victoria’s  time for access to Cranbourne Lodge in the area of Cranbourne Park.  Queen Victoria also enjoyed the hunting.   We stopped to look at the Cranbourne Tower, the last remaining part of Cranbourne Lodge in a clearing in the woods.  The Tower is still occupied.

The walk and Mr. Cathcart’s talk was fascinating.  He has kindly promised to take us for another walk during next spring.  This time possibly around Bears Rails.  Look out for the date to be supplied later.

Second Windsor Great Park Walk: 8thApril 2015

A good crowd of our members met in the Cranbourne Car Park for another enjoyable guided walk  in The Great Park with Bill Cathcart.

After a rather hazardous crossing of the road we entered the Park through Cranbourne Gate.  Bill told us about Forrest Lodge to the right of Cranbourne Gate.  It was built between 1772 and 1782 to a design by Thomas Sandby for John Deacon the then Groom of Bedchamber to the 2nd Duke of Cumberland.  Well laid out gardens were protected by a Ha Ha, a sunken hedge or fence designed to keep animals out from the garden but allow an uninterrupted view from within garden and house.

We then walked past the Village and the York Club, centre of Park employees’ entertainment.  There are also Playing fields, a bowling green and a golf course.  Bill explained to us about the trees donated from various countries celebrating the Queen’s Coronation which are opposite the York Club.  We walked up past the Queen Elizabeth‘s Statue on a point overlooking Queen Anne’s Ride and on across Duke’s Ride where the Queen changes from car to carriage for Ascot Races and then past very pretty cottages and the Royal School.

We turned left past Chaplains Lodge and crossed down to the right, along grassy “lawns” laid out for the grazing of the deer.  From here we saw the back of the Copper Horse which stands at the top of the Long Walk.  We were glad to hear that the myth about the Sculptor is not true.  He did not commit suicide because he did ‘t put stirrups on the statue.  George the 3rd rides on the Statue as a Roman and they had not invented stirrups in Roman times.  The Sculptor went on to produce more works after this statue.

We continued a lovely grassy walk back to Cranbourne Gate. The walk was followed by a relaxed lunch at The Old Hatchet Inn.

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