Length 11.5 km (7.1 miles)
For more Maidenhead routes, see Routes List.
NOTE: I ran this route a few times during the winter of 2011/12, and every time I got to Cookham, it got dark, hence the dark pictures. And my last run was in the snow. But I learned again: every run is a good run.
Here is the northern half of the loop along the Thames River out to the village of Cookham and then back along the Green Way in Maidenhead. It's quite a long route, so feel free to just run along the river, then turn around, or just run up the Green Way as far as you feel, and cut it short.
To read more about the Green Way, just click here.
We'll start this route at the same spot as the southern route: in front of the Bear pub on Maidenhead's High Street. You will notice that a stream runs south from the street. This stream -- variously called the Maidenhead Ditch, the Cut, White Brook or York Stream -- is followed by the Green Way in both directions from this spot.
In a few blocks, High Street (after a couple of name-changes) merges into busy Bridge Road. Right where they come together, you can see the open lawn of the Moor to the north, where we will be returning later.
|Running out Bridge Road|
|Fountain and Maidenhead Bridge|
Run another 200 meters northwards, and then the road will curve to the left, away from the river, but a footpath will continue along the riverside. Follow the footpath. This dirt path will first lead past some big homes, but later the shore opens up into woods and pastures.
After a while, you'll see a boat house on the other side of the river. The boat house belongs to the Cliveden estate, a mansion on a magnificent hilltop grounds owned at various times by dukes, earls, the Prince of Wales and then the wealthy American Astor family. Now it's a 5-star hotel, owned by the National Trust.
Soon after the boat house, the river trail turns to the left, heading inland to the village of Cookham. It joins in with Mill Lane, which heads west until it runs into Sutton Road, A4094.
This is a busy road, so it's best to get away from it quickly. You can do this by crossing the road diagonally to the right, heading down the next side street, to continue westwards on School Lane.
This quiet street curves towards the right until it runs into the main village High Street at the stone cross.
|Along Cookham High Street|
|Green Way waymarkers: just follow those signs!|
You will go through a few pastures at first. In typical English fashion, this public footpath crosses directly through farmfields, and you might end up sharing the field with bulls or sheep.
|Head straight through this pasture and out the other gate|
When you hit a raised, dike-like tractor road, the path turns right for a few hundred meters until it comes to the Maidenhead Ditch. Just before the stream, turn left and follow the stream from now on.
The path crosses the stream a few times on the way back to town. The green areas get narrower, becoming just a small lawn along the stream.
|Running along the ditch, next to the vegetable fields|
There's a pedestrian tunnel leading beneath Bridge Road, and you come out on Moorbridge Road (the same street as the Maidenhead High Street). Turn right and run the last few blocks back to the Bear pub.
|Maidenhead Moor at Bridge Street|