Boulter’s Lock, Maidenhead
CPRE Berkshire Chairman John Hudson shares a favourite walk ideal for those with children and grandchildren.
This is a very interesting walk/visit, especially for families with young children. If driving, you can park in the public car park, located a couple of hundred metres past Boulter’s Lock, going towards Cookham.
Walking back towards the lock, you will usually be able to see several boats waiting to go through, especially at weekends, and during good weather. It is an interesting sight to see the various different types of vessels entering the lock, then seeing it filling up or emptying, and watching the boats exiting the lock, as people have done since Victorian times.
Access to Boulter’s Island is over the stone arch bridge, then walk behind the restaurant and cross over the old mill race that used to supply the flour mill there. Following the path, you will reach the island, and the edge of the Thames, where there is a stone patio, which is very popular with children wanting to feed the many ducks and swans.
Continue walking along the Thames towards the weir, where you are likely to see several canoeists and kayakers paddling the rapids.
At the weir you can read the interesting history of net fishing, and of the more recent fish pass. Continuing along the path, you will see more ducks, swans and fish in the river. A little further on a path off to the left leads to a small aviary and menagerie, containing many colourful birds, and rabbits and guinea pigs, always popular with children.
Further along are a selection of carved wooden animals and toys for children to play on, and then at the path’s end is a café selling drinks, snacks and ice creams. Alternatively, you can go upstairs to the pub terrace for a drink, while looking at lovely views of the river, before walking back to the car park.