Picture the scene: the sun was shining, the eldest was at school, and my husband and I were at home with our soon-to-be-two little boy. Regular readers of the blog will know that I’m a firm believer in ‘little adventures’: I love to plot day trips to beaches, castles, beautiful towns… anywhere to inspire the mind and lift the soul. (Especially if there is a photo opportunity in it for me!) With only one small human to look after, and away from the constant questions of a five-year-old, we decided this was a great opportunity for us to get out and explore parts of Maidenhead that we’d never been.
I’d recently heard about The Green Way, a public footpath that runs from Bray, through Maidenhead and then up to Cookham and having read that it was buggy friendly, I figured that we could take the toddler along so he could get a change of scene and experience some of the countryside around us.
How to find The Green Way
We chose to start our route at North Town Moor, just off North Town Road. I have to confess that we lived just around the corner from here when I first moved to Maidenhead in 2010, but I’ve only really explored a small part of the moor. I hadn’t really researched much further to see where the footpaths lead. We decided to start our walk here as there is a small car park at North Town Moor. This was fine on a quiet Wednesday morning, but I can imagine it could get much busier at weekends.
North Town Moor is owned by The National Trust.
Map showing the route of The Green Way:
We had planned to begin the route with my son in the buggy, and to ‘release him into the wild’ later on. Ha. He had other ideas. He wanted to walk. But then he didn’t. He wanted to be on Daddy’s shoulders. And then he didn’t. The Buggy? Yep, undecided on that too. So we spent the first 15 minutes ‘negotiating’ with a non-speaking tiny person. This way. That way. Or no way at all as he ran around in circles waiting for us to chase him. He eventually got the message and settled for Daddy’s shoulders which gave him a great vantage point to spot a farm tractor going by: ‘Oh look, it’s Old Macdonald!’ (In our lives, EVERY tractor is Old Macdonald. He’s a busy, omnipresent kind of guy and even my five year old hasn’t questioned this yet!)
We chose to walk across the moor and then take the ‘Green Way East’ route up towards Widbrook Common and then back along Maidenhead Ditch (the romance!). There is an extra loop at the top of the route that takes you right up to Cookham but we didn’t think we’d manage to get all of that done in a morning and we are still religiously sticking to the lunchtime nap at home for the Little Man. Having a circular route was also much easier for us to figure out with the buggy. One day, when I’m child free, I’d quite like to walk from North Town Moor down to Bray to get my head around how it all fits together when you’re away from the busy main roads.
We did this middle section of the Green Way in about two hours, walking at a leisurely pace while we chased the Little Man (and I stopped every few hundred yards to marvel at the flowers or foliage!)
What can you see on The Green Way?
The path goes via farm fields, hedgerows, ponds and streams and the air is buzzing with bright damselflies and butterflies. You can probably see lots of birds too, although I didn’t really keep an eye out when we were walking. I was intrigued to see Maidenhead’s skyline with Berkshire house peeping up above the fields, and also Cliveden house on the distant hillside. It felt completely timeless and almost like we’d stepped into a magical bubble away from the pressures of everyday life.
My son’s excitement peaked pretty early as we walked through cornfields and he explored the pathways, picking up stones along the way. Within ten minutes he had passed out in the buggy leaving my husband and I to chat freely as we walked along the route. Our sentences are normally interrupted by ‘Mummy…’ and ‘Daddy…’ before we even finish them so this felt like an unexpected treat.
Who will like The Green Way?
The paths are wide and accessible so it’s great if you have a baby or toddler in a buggy like us, although I think that the distances involved would make a small person on foot get tired pretty quickly. I think my 5 year old daughter would have managed it on her balance bike and could ride along the path on her proper bike now too. (Although we’d have to walk a lot quicker to keep up with her!)
In the future, when we all have bikes, this will be a lovely route across the fields and over to Cookham for a picnic. The paths through the fields can get a bit bumpy (and muddy in wet weather) though, so it’s not ideal for scooters or ‘beginner’ bike riders.
If you don’t fancy doing a circular route, you could walk to Cookham and then catch the train back to Maidenhead, or even catch the train one stop to Furze Platt if you wanted to break up the walk a little bit. I think this would definitely get my two years old’s attention!
I’m not really a ‘flowery’ person and I’m usually most at home swooning over architecture in the city, but something about this walk was really inspiring. I think it was that if you tuned into your surroundings there were flashes of colour and contrasting textures everywhere. I found that I couldn’t stop taking photos!
‘Goat’s beard’ seed heads. My daughter would have wanted to blow these away immediately!
More about The Green Way
If you want to find out more, there is a really handy PDF showing the route of The Green Way which you can download from the RBWM website. You can read more about The Green Way, including the history of it on the Maidenhead Civic Society website too.
With the help of members of the ‘Eco @ Oaken’ Facebook group, I’ve been able to identify the names of the flowers that I saw. I thought it would be useful to share this on a handy sheet so that you can download it and see how many you can ‘spot’. Could be a great way to keep the younger ones entertained along the walk.
The Green Way downloads:
You can click the text above to download a ‘Summer in Maidenhead Spot it’ sheet.
This includes the map of the whole route shown above and also details of the things you can spot along the way. Essential reading before you set off.
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About my blog
I write this ‘Maidenhead Mum’ blog to share my experiences of life here in Berkshire and beyond. I fit blogging into my ‘spare time’ around a four day a week day job and family life, but I love to share the beautiful things that I find to see and do. For more posts like this, you might like to follow my Maidenhead Mum page on Facebook or on Instagram as they are the most frequently updated. If you subscribe using the box below you’ll get my blog posts delivered straight to your inbox along with some behind the scenes photography tips on each email