Column: The joy of walking in and around Maidenhead

Gavin Ames

I seem to have reached that age when walking is now counted as exercise.

My younger self may have scoffed at this notion but the last time I went running it hurt. So I simply stopped. I mean, why wouldn’t you?

I guess all this hiking is a middle-aged thing and one of the consequences of COVID. When people have been cooped up working from home, getting out for a stroll and some fresh air is great for the mind, body and soul.

I have found some wonderful routes that I didn’t previously know existed. We have some beautiful countryside on our doorstep and within a couple of minutes of my house I can be among copses of trees and farmers’ fields.

You can also do things whilst you are walking as well as look at the scenery.

Sometimes I make phone calls to catch up with people.

This seems to be a relatively outdated concept in these WhatsApp days, when we prefer to type messages to each other rather than actually have a conversation.

I also like to listen to music when out walking, as putting it on at home is rarely well received. I have also discovered audio books and podcast series, which tend to hook me in.

The dense woodland next to Ridgeway school and hemmed in by the A404 and A4 is a favourite.

It is a relatively small area but there are lots of paths and I am quite happy wandering around there for an hour, lost in my own thoughts, never taking the same route twice.

A couple of routes take me through picture postcard Littlewick Green which is lovely to wander through.

Pab has been a regular walking companion and if you walk through there from the farm side and out the other end and keep going, you get to Burchetts Green.

There are quite a few house porn opportunities en route in both villages, before doubling back through more thick forest on the other side of the A4.

When we are feeling more energetic we push on through BCA, before crossing the road to go through Temple Golf Course, where there is a public footpath, and then underneath the A404 to walk up Lee Lane towards the Pinkneys Arms, which itself is on the edge of the thicket.

This takes us past a house called Wings. If you happen to live there, then you are very lucky indeed.

Waltham St Lawrence is also lovely to walk around on a loop through fields from White Waltham.

We are lucky to have such picturesque villages on our doorstep. It is amazing how far you can walk without seeing so much as a car.

Last week I discovered that you can walk off road from the mini roundabout at the Cannon Lane / A4 junction all the way to Longridge, Marlow in little more than an hour-and-a-half.

It’s a delightful tramp across the thicket and then through the woods. At this time of year it is especially rewarding with the multi-coloured falling leaves.

The only other signs of life are dogs taking their owners for walks. What’s your local favourite route to stroll?

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