Dave Sergeant

This walk is ramble 18 in the book Rambling for Pleasure in East Berkshire. Although it could be described as a walk from Ascot station to Sunningdale station it took in quite a lot of the countryside in the area, some of it I had walked before but quite a lot of it totally new to me. 7 miles in length and made a very pleasant walk on a lovely sunny spring morning.

A relatively early start with the 0905 train to Ascot where I arrived a few minutes later. I got a bit misled by the instructions and missed the first country path in South Ascot which went by the church, instead going direct to the main road and walking down that before picking up the path to Sunninghill. I passed Ellison's TV and Video shop, who I do repairs for, on the way, closed and deserted at that early hour.

So off the main road and straight into woodland. Under the railway line and into the picturesque Coombe Lane with a selection of rather nice houses. Tom Green's Field is a recreation ground managed by Sunninghill Council but I could not find who Tom Green is, at least he has a field named after him.

Out of Coombe Lane and onto the A329, the first of the busy roads I had to cross. Then another path, very narrow, which led eventually to St Michael's Church. The yew tree here is over 1000 years old, carefully preserved with an iron girdle round its trunk.

The next part of the walk passes through Silwood Park, a field campus of Imperial College. The main campus is a little away and the path goes through a mainly wooded area where they do ecological work. All hidden behind chain link fencing and locked gates, there is quite a large lake visible in the distance.

Out onto another main road then shortly afterwards into Mill Lane for around half a mile. Although the guide book suggests this is a quiet road it was not so and without a pavement on either side not that pleasant. But there were a few very expensive houses to cheer things up.

At the end of Mill Lane I reached the Blacknest end of Virginia Water. The park was quite busy and there was a burger van doing good business with rather more delights on offer than the equivalent at Osterley last week. As a nice gesture after Prince Philip's death car parking was free.

Out again onto the busy A329 and crossing that I turned into Cowarth Park. This is a huge estate with polo grounds, a large mansion house hotel, lake and several other expensive properties. It is owned by the Sultan of Brunei.

After the formal estate the path continues through woodland for a while before reaching the A30, another busy road to cross, along that for a while up a hill and a right turn into the Wentworth estate. More posh expensive houses before reaching the golf course. A nice place to live for sure and if you can afford it play the sport as well. Notices to keep to the public paths although the little signs they put up to direct you were not that clear so I probably 'strayed' a bit.

Coming out of the golf course the path should enter woodland. But sadly due to a huge fire in August 2020 most of that has been destroyed and all that is left is burnt tree stumps. A disturbing sight. I pressed on over the still visible pathway to eventually reach unaffected woodland which took me to the outskirts of Sunningdale. A few estate roads later I again reached the A30 which I had to cross yet again to get to the station entrance

That was not quite the end of the story though. As always on my walks I just missed a train. But in this case the next train got delayed at Staines and South Western Railway in their wisdom decided to miss out stations on its route to make up time. So it zoomed through, just ten minutes late, and I had to wait for the next one half an hour later. Maybe out of principle I have put in a Delay Repay claim for the 60 pence they will owe me. Back home around 1.30 for a slightly delayed lunch and another pleasant walk.

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