Walk Duration: 1hr 25
OS Map: OS Explorer 172 Chiltern Hills East;
Suitable for: babies in backpacks, little legs, all-terrain pushchairs (in dry weather and along Thames Path stretch only)
Walk features: Thames Path National Trail, riverside walking,perfect picnic spots, boats, ducks, pubs, railway.
Nestled on the banks of one of the prettiest sections of the Thames, Cookham is a delight of a village and the perfect place to while away a sunny afternoon. This is an easy circular walk along a beautiful stretch of the Thames Path, past Bourne End on the opposite bank of the Thames and returning along the edge of Winter Hill.
If you have an all-terrain buggy and are looking for a riverside stroll then I would highly recommend it as a there-and-back-again walk. In theory, you can take a buggy all the way round as most of the kissing gates on the return leg have enough turning space in them for a pushchair. However, sadly one or two still have very narrow spaces and would not accommodate an all-terrain pushchair so best to stick to the Thames-side stretch which is by far the best part of the walk anyway!
The walk starts from the car park just west of Cookham village centre. Leave the car-park through the main gate and into the meadow beyond. Follow the grass path to the riverside and then follow the riverside path keeping the Thames on your right hand side. This is a great place to come window-shopping for properties for when you win the lottery. Splayed on in all their splendor on the opposite bank of the Thames are several luxurious residential dwellings complete with their own boat-house and picture perfect gardens. You can’t help feeling that a constant stream of gaping passer-bys peering into your garden would put many potential residents off but perhaps the beautiful riverside location more than makes up for this.
Go through the kissing gate and keep right on the Thames Path. At the railway bridge, go through another kissing gate, walk under the bridge and through the wooden gate on the other side. All the kissing gates on the Thames Path stretch of the walk are large enough to fit a big pushchair through.
The Thames Path now brings you to the outskirts of Bourne End and you will pass the marina on the opposite bank of the river, with plenty of boats lining the banks. On the left-hand side opposite Bourne End marina, the Thames Path passes right by the riverside Bounty pub where you can grab a bite to eat or a quick drink. There are plenty of outdoor tables spilling down to the riverside and also an enclosed kids playground. I’ve not tried the food here but the location is great and the staff friendly. It can get very busy on sunny days so come early if you want pick of the best tables.
Follow the path onwards and through another kissing gate into a field beyond. The walk takes on a more rural feel here as the path leaves Bourne end behind and stretches out towards Winter Hill and if you are walking with a pushchair this is probably as far as you will want to go. As the Thames bends towards the left, the path leaves the riverside and leads behind the houses perches on the edge of the river. As the track veers right into Copse Farm, keep on the footpath to the left, following the line of the fence.
Where the fence finishes, turn left and follow the footpath directly across the middle of the field in the direction of Winter Hill which rises directly ahead of you. Pass through the gate and turn left along the path that runs along the bottom of Winter Hill. Continue following the line of the hill. As the path begins to rise, you will come to a kissing gate. Go through and follow the tree lined footpath to the railway bridge, passing back underneath.
Continue along the path until it returns you to the meadow where you started. You will find the meadow through a gate to your left with the riverside in view and a golf course straight ahead. Go through the gate into the meadow but keep to your right, following a track along the edge of the field, with the golf course clearly visible through the hedge to your right.
Follow this track all the way back to the car park and the start of your walk. For those in search of refreshment, there is often an icecream van on the green here in summer months. Alternatively, walk towards the village centre over the village green and I can personally recommend the Cream Tea on offer at The Crown.
Map of Route:
Cookham is situated within close proximity of Maidenhead and Slough and is also easily accessible from the M40 motorway, with High Wycombe and Beaconsfield close by. Parking is free at the riverside car park at the start of the walk, located on High Street (B4447).
Cookham can be reached by train from Maidenhead, with good onward connections to London.The walk is easily reached by foot from Cookham Station. Cookham is accessible by the no. 37 bus within 25 minutes from High Wycombe and 15 minutes from Maidenhead, with services throughout the day.
View Cookham-Winter Hill Thames Path Walk in a larger map
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