Saturday 19th March 2022 Sunningdale to Windsor -11 miles

Twelve Poly Ramblers met at Sunningdale Station on a lovely warm day to begin our hike, a thirteenth member of the group joined us at our lunch stop at the Saville Garden restaurant having missed the rail replacement bus. We quickly encountered obstacles from a fallen tree at the start of our walk, negotiated with difficulty. After a pleasant walk though Cowarth Park we entered Windsor Great Park and made our way to Virginia Water Lake where we stopped for a tea break at a refreshment kiosk. We followed the sign posting to reach the Valley Gardens where we wended our way onwards attempting to follow somewhat complicated route instructions. The flowering Camellias and Azaleas were stunning. We crossed a bridge and walked though the open grass of Azalea valley, unfortunately going once again off our route, splitting into two parties. We managed to regroup by the stump of the giant Wellingtonia tree sadly cut down owing to disease. We headed towards the Totem Pole and continued on our route towards the Obelsisk Pond and our lunch stop at the Saville Garden Restaurant, where we enjoyed a leisurely picnic in the sunshine. After lunch we walked down the Rhododendron Drive towards the Cow Pond where we spotted Egyptian ducklings out with their parents. We went through a lightly wooded area and followed the path round towards the Royal Lodge before entering the Deer Park. At this point we deviated off the main route to explore the deer park spotting a large herd of deer in the distance. After re-joining the main route, we continued along the Long Walk till we finally reached the gates of Windsor Castle. We followed the route back towards Windsor Central Station for some and Eton and Windsor Riverside Station for others. A really enjoyable day out with lots of sunshine and blossom. Hilary