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A village scene with bight green grass in the foreground, a path running through it and a horse chestnut tree in flower behind the path but in front of several houses.
The village of Cookham Dean | © National Trust Images/David Sellman
Oxfordshire, Buckinghamshire & Berkshire

The long Wind in the Willows walk

Follow this moderate 5-mile circular walk exploring the rural community of Cookham Dean before venturing into the Woodland Trust's Wild Wood at Quarry and Fultness Woods. The walk passes through farmland, woodland and along the quiet village lanes that inspired Kenneth Grahame, author of the classic children’s tale Wind in the Willows.

Total steps: 14

Total steps: 14

Start point

Cookham Dean Common National Trust Car Park, Cookham, Maidenhead SL6 6PJ. Grid ref: SU862838

Step 1

From the National Trust car park, head out across Cookham Dean Common and follow the path that skirts around the left hand edge of the common. Continue following the path to the left of the large house and grounds at the northern edge of Cookham Dean Common and turn left by a yellow grit salt bunker. Take the lane to the right after passing the striped fingerpost to Combe End.

Step 2

After 120 metres, pass to the left of the triangle of grass and lone silver birch tree and onto the path ahead, turning right before the kissing gate. Follow the woodland path up a gentle hill for 8 minutes until you reach Bigfrith Common meadow and the red telephone box on the corner.

A red phone box full of books in a green landscape
The community library phone box in Cookham Dean | © Hugh Mothersole

Step 3

Continue past the restored red telephone box on the corner of Bigfrith Common and take the road on the right followed by the sharp left onto Church Road.

Step 4

Continue along Church Road for 150 metres, look out for the blue plaque commemorating Sir Henry Walford Davies on your right, until you reach the Jolly Farmer free house on your left, then St John the Baptist Church on your right. From here continue ahead along Church Road until you reach the Cookham Dean Village war memorial.

Step 5

From here take the right fork past the village war memorial on your left and Cookham Dean Village Hall on your right. Follow Hills Lane, past Popes Lane on your left before following the public footpath across Harding Green. At the other end of Harding Green turn right onto a track and left after the houses on your left, following a footpath sign. Walk a short distance down the footpath to the short fence where you will come to a good view towards Cookham and Cliveden House on the top of the distant ridge.

A layered landscape view of a valley with a big stately home on the top of the hill and rolling green countryside below
Cliveden as seen from Cookham Commons | © Rose Bradley

Step 6

Retrace your steps to the small parcel of common land that makes up Harding Green, this time turn right and cross Hills Lane to take the path to Warners’ Hill, past the sign for Uncle Tom’s Cabin to the right. Continue down Warners’ Hill and take a right at the bottom where it meets Dean Lane. After 50 metres you will reach a triangle of land at the centre of a group of 16th-century timber-framed cottages.

Step 7

Cross Dean Lane when it safe to do so, take the road on the left hand side of the triangle and continue along Alleyns Lane. Climb the hill along Alleyns Lane for 550 metres and take the footpath on the left before Alleyns Lane meets Bradcutts Lane. Follow the footpath between fence lines and horse fields for a further 550 metres until you reach a kissing gate and road just beyond.

Step 8

Continue straight past the driveway on your left until you come to a track on the right. Take this track downhill for 70 metres until you meet a crossing of tracks. Go straight over and continue for 160 metres until the track joins Spade Oak Reach.

Step 9

Straight ahead you will see a metal fingerpost with brown bridleway markers. Cross Stonehouse Lane and follow the right-hand bridleway marker down Gibraltar Lane for 50 metres and take a left at the silver Winter Hill National Trust sign. Continue along this track through the National Trust woodlands at Winter Hill for 550 metres until you re-join the end of Gibraltar Lane.

Step 10

Follow the left fork joining up with the Cookham Bridleway Circuit and then pass by Quarry Wood End on the path to its left. After 250 metres, continue past the entrance to Quarry Clyffe House, followed by Quarry Wood Hall after that. For the next 550 metres you will be able to enjoy views of the River Thames before joining the junction with Quarry Wood Road. Here, take the footpath immediately on your left, and climb up the hill for 350 metres until the path re-joins Quarry Wood Road.

Step 11

Cross the road when it is safe to do so and continue up the wooded footpath. Cross over Quarry Wood Road for the second time following the footpath for a further 140 metres before taking the footpath on your right that squeezes between residential properties to both the left and right. At the end of this footpath you will again reach Quarry Wood Road, cross over for a third and final time and enter Quarry Wood at the Woodland Trust car park on Grubwood Lane.

Step 12

Take the footpath straight ahead from the Woodland Trust car park then follow the blue-topped posts, make sure you don't take the path on your left by the bench after 250 metres and continue to follow the track and the blue-topped posts for a further 360 metres. Here you will find another bench, opposite which is a fine view of the Thames Valley towards Marlow.

Step 13

From the seat and view point continue along the path, keeping the steep slope on your right. After 280 metres, take the right fork past another blue-topped post down hill for a further 180 metres where you join up with a bridleway. Follow the waymarker for the bridleway downhill for a further 170 metres and you'll reach a five-way crossroad.

Step 14

At the five-way crossroad take the track to the left by the waymarker post. You are now leaving Quarry Wood and entering Fultness Wood. After 200 metres leave the bridleway, following the footpath waymarker to climb the earthen bank on the right. Continue up the steep slope until it levels out, before crossing another footpath and passing through the kissing gate. Follow the hedge line on your left into the arable field ahead. Continue for 360 metres then take the stile and small ramp through the trees on the left. Straight ahead at the end of the trees is Winter Hill Road, and beyond it, the National Trust car park where you started.

End point

Cookham Dean Common National Trust Car Park, Cookham, Maidenhead SL6 6PJ. Grid ref: SU862838

Trail map

Cookham Dean Wind in the Willows walk map
Cookham Dean Wind in the Willows walk map | © Crown copyright and database rights 2013 Ordnance Survey

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