Guide to Cycling in Windsor Great Park

Photo © Alan Hunt (cc-by-sa/2.0)

Windsor Great Park is a beautiful, sprawling park leading up to Windsor Castle. It contains a vast range of wildlife to see as you cycle along and is well-equipped with places to eat and rest your weary legs after a couple of hours in the saddle. One of the many great things about the park is that it is mostly traffic-free; it is also free to enter, at least for the parts you can visit on a bike.

Read on a detailed guide on cycling in Windsor Great Park.

1. Getting to Windsor Great Park

Winsor & Eton Riverside Station

Windsor Great Park covers a vast area and has a number of entry points, depending on where you are starting from and how you are planning to travel.

If you are coming by car, you have the following options for parking:

  • The Savill Garden is on Wick Lane, the postcode is TW20 0UJ (link is to Google Maps)
  • Virginia Water and Virginia Water South The postcodes for these two car parks are GU25 4QF and SL5 7SB
  • Parking in Windsor There are a number of car parks you can use in or near Windsor town centre. Once you are parked, make your way to Windsor Football Club and you can join the National Cycle Route 4 which leads into the park from this point.

There are several train stations within reach. If you are bringing a bike, check that you are allowed to take it on the specific train you want to take.

  • You can get to Windsor Central from London Paddington (you'll have to change at Slough)
  • There are direct trains to Egham, Windsor Central and Windsor Riverside, Ascot and Virginia Water from Waterloo

2. Can I cycle in Windsor Great Park?

Cycling is encouraged in Windsor Great Park

Image credit: Gary Butterfield on Unsplash

Cycling is encouraged in Windsor Great Park

You can definitely cycle in Windsor Great Park. There are a few guidelines that you need to stick to:

  • Ride in groups of no more than 6, and no more than 2 abreast at any time
  • Make sure you adjust your speed to take account of the roads, and the other road users around you. If you are passing horses or other animals, reduce your speed and consider dismounting if space is tight.
  • You must stay on the roads or marked paths. Off-road cycling is not permitted anywhere in the park
  • No cycles are allowed on the Long Walk, even if you are pushing them. The same applies to the Deer Park and the Valley Gardens
  • At certain times of the year, the park can be very busy. This is especially true when there are major events, when there can be considerable numbers of vehicles. Take care during these times, particularly if you are out with children

3. Bicycle hire in Windsor Great Park

If you don't have your own bike (or even if you do, but don't want to bring it), you can hire a bike from several shops in the area. These include: Extreme Motion and The Bike Company in Windsor town centre and Stows Cycles in Slough.

Prices tend to be £30 to £40 for an adult for a day, depending on the type of bike.

4. Windsor Great Park cycle routes

Cycle routes in Windsor Great Park - click the map to see a pdf version

Windsor Great Park covers about 7 square miles and includes quite a few routes you can take on a bike - the map shows all of the allowed routes.

From Windsor, you need to enter the park via the National Cycle Route 4, which is on the south side of the town. If you are parking in any of the other car parks, the entrance to the park is nearby.

As long as you stay on the roads or permitted paths you can ride wherever you want.

5. Things to do and see in Windsor Great Park

Ancient oak tree in Windsor Great Park

Image Credit: Malcolm Gould / Ancient oak tree, Windsor Great Park

A large part of Windsor Great Park is designated as a Site of Special Scientific Interest (SSSI) and a Special Area of Conservation (SAC). The park is managed to ensure that the fauna and flora can continue to flourish while also allowing access to millions of visitors each year. Look out for:

  • Ancient and veteran oak trees some of which are up to 1000 years old
  • Over 125 Champion Trees, an award given to the tallest or widest tree of its kind in the UK
  • The world-famous Red Deer herd that live in the deer park. You might also see muntjac deer, roe deer and badgers among many other species, if you cycle quietly enough
  • Dead Wood Habitats created when fallen trees are allowed to remain and decompose naturally. They provide a home to a wide range of insects and fungi, which are becoming increasing scarce in more aggressively managed woodlands

You can ride alongside Smith's Lawn where you might see a polo match. You can also see the 100ft Totem Pole given to the Queen by the people of Canada in 1958.

6. Facilities

The Savill Garden Kitchen next to the Savill Gardens Car Park serves refreshments and has outdoor seating.

The Windsor Great Park Post Office and General Store also serves hot and cold drinks and snacks.

The Obelisk Lawn, next to the imposing Cumberland Obelisk has a mobile cafe. You are also free to eat your own picnic on the lawn here.

7. History of Windsor Great Park

William the Conqueror

After William the Conqueror became King in 1066, he took a liking to the existing Forest of Windsor and started to build Windsor Castle as a defensive fortress. Some of the oaks planted during his reign are still alive in the park to this day.

In 1129 the first 'Parker' was appointed to oversee the park. The title still exists as 'Ranger of the Park'. The current holder is the Prince Philip, the Queen's husband.

In the 17th century, Charles I, influenced by French garden design, put his mark on the park by creating the Long Walk, among other features.

Prince Albert, the consort of Queen Victoria, was famously interested in improving the lot of the working people of the country. In the park, he built cottages for the workers on the Estate and created the Royal School for their children. The School is still educating local children to this day.