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winter scene at the Thicket Maidenhead

Winter Walks in Maidenhead

There are so many places to walk to around Maidenhead, as we are surrounded by pretty villages, such as Bray, Holyport and Cookham. There are two walks I particularly enjoy doing and give so much at different times of year. The first is the Thicket over to Stubbings. In the summer months you can do the Butterfly Trail, and in the winter it sets a rather different backdrop – especially in the snow or frost.

And the second is the circuit from Boulters Lock to Taplow. With so much to do on Ray Mill Island and around the river all year round – and a perfect attraction for families in the summer.

Over the winter – especially during that ‘Twixmas’ period, as a family we search for walks to do, and these are my favourites.

butterfly trail at the thicket

The Maidenhead Thicket

I can walk this from my house as it isn’t very far, but there is a small free carpark situated on the Henley Road, SL6 4LL.

Head over the footbridge and it will take you to the Thicket, which is a National Trust wood. It has a history – as it used to be a place highway men would travel to in the 17th and 18th centuries. Robin Hood’s Arbour is situated within the wood.

It is 6.1 hectares and there are open areas to walk (although can get very muddy). You can walk around the Thicket, but if you take your first right at the bottom of the footbridge and follow the path round to the left, you can do a reasonable walk that takes you to Stubbings Nursery. It is the perfect stop off as there is a cafe and shop at the nursery, where you can sit in for hot food, snacks and drinks or get a take out coffee and cake.

Head out through the garden centre marquee, which is often set up with Christmas decorations in the run up to the festive season.

boulters lock and river maidenhead

Boulters Lock to Taplow

This one is a circuit, so you can start at any point. There are pay and display carparks just past Boulters Lock on Lower Cookham Road, SL6 8JN or at Riverside Gardens/Jenner’s Cafe, Raymead Road, SL6 8NP. 

Starting at Boulters Lock, walk over the bridge to Ray Mill Island. Continue straight over the second bridge (the Taplow Bridge) over the river which will take you to the Taplow riverside. Here you can take a right and walk through Taplow following the footpaths. You will pass the Hall and Woodhouse pub if you fancy a stop off, or Roux at Skindles which is closer to the Maidenhead Bridge on the Taplow side.

As you head over the Maidenhead Bridge, turn right and follow the river back to your starting point. There are more options for food or drinks. Including the Blue Cafe at the Thames Riviera hotel Thai Orchard, Jenner’s Cafe, the Thames Hotel or The Boathouse at Boulters Lock when you have finished your circuit. 

maidenhead bridge and fountain at bridge gardens

Or head to the Island Piazza on Ray Mill which is a kiosk selling drinks and icecreams with outdoor seating (more ideal in the summer than in the winter). Visit the guinea pigs and aviaries or walk around the river on the Island.

The riverside is lovely to visit all year round, with a mix of play areas and open green spaces on both sides. Perfect for winter walks in Maidenhead!