Walking The Eton Rivers Triangle
Start / Finish: Car park at the Jubilee River Riverside Centre, Slough Road, SL1 2BP
Distance: 7.4km / 4.6 miles
Duration: 1 hours 50mins at at leisurely pace
Other Routes Touched: Jubilee River Way, Thames Path, NCN4, NCN 61
Map: OS Explorer 160 Windsor, Weybridge & Bracknell
The first thing that you’ll notice about this walk when looking at the map is that it’s not a triangle. Its not even close. But when I imagine it, it's a perfect isosceles following the Jubilee River until it meets the Thames, taking the Thames Path back to Eton, then cutting across Eton back to the start. Despite the annoying lack of perfect geometry, it's a hidden gem of a short walk in touristy Windsor and Eton.
I grew up in neighboring Maidenhead and remember regular occurrences of the Thames flooding. The Jubilee River was the answer to this, a channel built in the 1990s to divert overflow from Maidenhead to Datchet. Since then its become a regular feature on my runs and cycles as an alternative scenic route between the towns. Most people stick to the middle sections accessed by car-parks near Taplow and Dorney. The section East of the Slough Road roundabout is comparatively quiet.
The first 1 km from the car-park follows NCN Route 61 before it diverts north toward the Grand Union. Here, keep on the Jubilee River heading South-East after the footbridge, crossing over Eton Road, under the railway line and into Datchet Golf Club. The confluence with the Thames is hidden from the path by high hedges that border the golf course. When you cross the bridge on King Edward II Avenue look back along the East bank and you can see the junction of the rivers.
On the bridge you’ll also get a great view of Windsor Castle and, to the South, the private areas of the Castle estate. Immediately after bridge, turn right onto Home Park and follow the Thames Path as it bends round towards Eton Bridge. After crossing under the railway line for a second time the path crosses a light industrial area containing a boat repair yard and Romney Lock. Despite living near Windsor for most of my life I didn’t even know there was a lock there as you can easily miss it. After the lock the path follows the edge of the Railway Station car-park and opens out to Windsor Riverside.
Here's a good point in the trip to take a break and there’s loads of choice on either side of Eton Bridge. The route continues back on the Eton side of the bridge with a couple of options. The short option would be to follow Eton High Street / B3022 as it will take you directly back to the start. A longer but more interesting alternative is to take a left turn off Eton High Street through Church Close. This takes you on paths round the back of the college buildings and playing fields, then along the Slough/Windsor railway spur leading back to the Jubilee River just West of the car park.
If you find yourself in Windsor and want an interesting short walk to avoid the tourists and shoppers you can’t go wrong with this one.