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Delphiniums near Sheepcote Woods

Delphiniums near Sheepcote Woods

SWC Walk 189 Beeches Way: West Drayton to Cookham

12-Jul-15 • thomasgrabow on Flickr

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One of 6 Pubs en-route in Cookham

One of 6 Pubs en-route in Cookham

SWC Walk 189 Beeches Way: West Drayton to Cookham

12-Jul-15 • thomasgrabow on Flickr

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Ancient Pollarded Tree in Burnham Beeches

Ancient Pollarded Tree in Burnham Beeches

SWC Walk 189 Beeches Way: West Drayton to Cookham

12-Jul-15 • thomasgrabow on Flickr

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Path in Brockhurst Wood

Path in Brockhurst Wood

SWC Walk 189 Beeches Way: West Drayton to Cookham

12-Jul-15 • thomasgrabow on Flickr

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Stoke Common

Stoke Common

SWC Walk 189 Beeches Way: West Drayton to Cookham

12-Jul-15 • thomasgrabow on Flickr

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One of 6 Pubs en-route in Cookham

One of 6 Pubs en-route in Cookham

SWC Walk 189 Beeches Way: West Drayton to Cookham

12-Jul-15 • thomasgrabow on Flickr

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Teashop in Cookham

Teashop in Cookham

SWC Walk 189 Beeches Way: West Drayton to Cookham

12-Jul-15 • thomasgrabow on Flickr

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Beeches Way: West Drayton to Cookham Walk

Lowland heaths and mature woodland close to London. Can be done as 2 shorter walks.

Length

Beeches Way (Cookham to West Drayton) : 17.0 miles ( 27.3 km). Can be done as 2 shorter walks of around 8 miles by using buses

Langley to Cookham : 13.7 miles (22.1 km). This is the recommended option - it misses out the (less interesting) M25 and canal parts of the walk.

OS Map

Explorer map 172 - Chiltern Hills East

Toughness

5 out of 10. Well waymarked. Good paths. Just long.

Features

This 17 mile route, from the Thames at Cookham to the Grand Union Canal at West Drayton explores rare lowland heaths and mature woodlands, escaping “Far from the madding crowd's ignoble strife” (Thomas Gray 1750)

The walk can be followed in either direction. It is fully waymarked, and marked by chevrons on OS maps. NB The short sections from the river to the stations at either end of the walk are not part of the way, and so are not waymarked.

We recommend a slightly shorter option, Langley to Cookham, as this cuts out the M25 and the less interesting start of the walk. Cookham has nice pubs to finish at, and await your train home.

The route passes:

  • West Drayton (station, pub).
  • the Slough Arm of the Grand Union Canal (cdetour due to collapsed bridge), and the main Grand Union Canal,
  • the M25,
  • Iver village (flint church, pub, option to walk 1km to its station)
  • Option to start/finish early 1km south at Langley station
  • Langley Park County Park A more formal park with Rhododendrons (blooms from mid January to July), and a line of giant redwoods,
  • Black Park County Park (lowland heath). It was re-stablished as heathland after a large 1970's fire that burnt down a planted forest. Being adjacent to Pinewood Studios, it's featured in many films: Hammer House of Horror (as Transylvania), Carry On, Harry Potter, Jame Bond, Batman...
  • Fulmer Village (pub, rare bus to Slough)
  • Stoke Common (mature woodland)
  • Stoke Poges (rare bus to Slough, 1 km south to village centre and pub)
  • Brokenhurst Wood
  • Farnham Common Village (pub, shops, bus to Slough)
  • Burnham Beaches (mature forest). Now run by the Corporation of London, its noted for trees that have been continuously pollarded for 400 years.
  • Littleworth Common (lowland heath), and Dorney Wood,
  • Woolman's Wood (keep an eye of for Lord Boston's Victorian Folly - 4 towers),
  • Cookham - pretty historic village and the River Thames, pubs, station

The GPS route (see warning icon on the map page) has a detour from the official route near West Drayton due to a collapsed canal bridge. This adds a mile of road walking, another reason to start/finish at Langley.

Walk Options

The walk is too long for most people, so here are some options to shorten it, or do it in to stages

Note: The rail line from Paddington passes (in order) West Drayton, Iver, Langley, Slough (for buses to villages on the route), Maidenhead (for the branch line to Cookham) and Cookham (change at Maidenhead).

Langley to Cookham : 13.5 miles recommeded option

This is the best summer option, but you do miss out the eastern end of the walk (the M25, and the canal). In this case its best to walk towards Cookham which has nicer pubs to aim for. Starting at Langley saves 3.3 miles.

You could also start fom Iver Station, but this only saves 1.5 miles

Cookham to Stoke Poges (bus stop) : 8.5 miles

Stoke Poges (bus stop) to West Drayton : 8.5 miles

The walk can be split into 2 shorter sections by using buses. Splitting the walk at Stoke Poges would make two equal walks of 8.5 miles, but it only has rare buses (none on Sunday). It would be best to catch the bus from Slough station in the morning (when you can time your train to connect with it) to Stoke Poges, and start the walk from there. Slough's bus station is next to the train station.

Other bus stops on the route are:

  • There are regular buses at Farnham Common (to Slough station), and a nice pub to wait in. (6 miles from Cookham / 11 from West Drayton )
  • There are rare buses from Fulmer (11 miles from Cookham / 6 from West Drayton).

Langley to Burnham station : 11-12 miles

This option has been done by some walkers and involves cutting south through the woods just beyond Farnham Common and then following Crow Piece Lane.

Bucks Council have a leaflet with map extracts describing the walk.

Travel

Hourly Trains from London Paddington (passing West Drayton) to Maidenhead, where you change for Cookham, take around 1 hour. West Drayton is in London Zone 6, and has at least 2 trains an hour to Paddington

Farnham Common (after 6 miles) : The 74/X74 go to Slough station (on the same rail line), take 15 mins. Regularly on Mon-Sat, but check the time of the last bus on Sunday

Poges (after 8 miles) : Rare buses (#353, 2 hourly) on Mon-Sat. None on Sunday. Bus stop is on the route, but pub is 1km south in the village centre.

Fulmer (after 11 miles) : Rare buses (#335, 2 hourly) on Mon-Sat, None on Sunday

Iver : Does have buses, but its only a 1 km walk to the station, saving 1.5 miles for a total of 15.5 miles.

Suggested Train : early, as its a long walk

Eat

There are lots of refreshment options on this walk:

West Drayton has 3 station pubs. The Blues bar is the pick of them

Iver : A couple of pubs to choose from

Langley Park Visitor Centre has a cafe

Between Langley Park and Fulmer there is a cafe with a large terrace overlooking Blackpark Lake.

Fulmer : The Black Horse - a very pleasant pub with a nice garden

Stoke Poges : pub 1 km south of the route, in the town centre

Farnham Common: The Forresters 01753 643340. Excellent large pub with real ales.

The Beeches Cafe: this is at the end of the car park for Burnham Beeches, a few hundred metres beyond the village of Farnham Common. Farham Common's main street also has a Costa Coffee and both a Tesco and Sainsbury Express.

Perhaps too late for lunch but a nice refreshment stop, the Blackwood Arms on Littleworth Common is a charmingly-sited traditional pub with outside tables surrounded by grass and trees

Cookham: The suggested stop for tea in Cookham High Street is Infusions (tel 01628 528 537), a delicatessen with a garden where you can eat your purchases. There is also the Teapot Tea Room just beyond the King's Head. Other options are the seventeenth-century hostelry, the Kings Arms (tel 01628 530 667), open daily until at least 9pm (serves food from noon) and the Bel and the Dragon pub (tel 01628 521 263), both also in the High Street: also the Crown, at the west end of the High Street which has outside tables overlooking Cookham Moor. In addition, there are two pubs which you pass on your way to the railway station, the Countrystore shop opposite the station, and a Costa Coffee just beyond the station level crossing.

Help Us!

After the walk, we would love to get your feedback

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Trains

Out: (not a train station)

Back: (not a train station)

By Car

Start: UB7 9DY Directions then return to your car by train:

Finish: SL6 9BP Directions then travel to the start by train:

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Help

Start walking Large print Using GPS data

National Rail: 03457 48 49 50 • Travelline SE (bus times): 0871 200 2233 (12p/min) • TFL (London) : 0343 222 1234

Version

Jun-17

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