I had not been feeling all too well these past couple of days, and so, when I opened my curtains this morning and saw an almost clear sky, I jumped at the chance of going for a walk. I love walking, and could do it all day – though being engaged to an American has been a journey of slowly coaxing him into seeing the enjoyments of my favourite hobby!
It also struck me that, though my fiancé Chris has been staying here 2 months already (and has stayed here a month before, in 2011), I have neglected to show him much of the town I call home!
So, with birds and stones in mind, we decided to set out and see how far we got …
Sutherland Grange Park
Much needed rain indeed!
So, the initial plan was to start at Sutherland Grange Park, which is as north as you can go in Windsor, as it is cut off by the River Thames. I must confess, it has been several years since I last visited this park .. actually, it’s been almost a decade! The last memory I have of visiting this place was during the 2003 European Heatwave, when we found the only way to cool down was to jump in the river!
The spot where we “cooled down” in 2003
On approach to the park, you could clearly see the effect of the recent rain we’ve been having! The whole entrance on the right side of the park was flooded.
We immediately headed to the area that I last remembered from this park, and it’s pretty much still the same! Though, health and safety have had their way, and some (slightly useless??) tree trunks have blocked off a dip in the bank. Another difference in just how murky the Thames is looking now – we could see the rocks on the bottom 10 years ago! Although, maybe it has something to do with the recent rain? I wouldn’t know …
This park, I must admit, is not as amazing now I’m older – when you’re young, you can make a large empty field magical, right? – and especially seeing as we didn’t bring one of my dogs with me! But it still made for some wonderful nature moments – we saw a Kingfisher! I haven’t seen one for years, and naturally Chris has never seen one, so that was a delight. As is the nature of the Kingfisher, it was too quick for me to take a picture – but I’m still happy Chris and I got to see one. I did manage to take a photo of this beautiful butterfly right by a daisy!
The Church of St Andrew the Apostle, Clewer Village
After finishing our walk around Sutherland Grange Park, we pondered where to wonder off to next. We ideally wanted to keep to the northern boundary of Windsor heading east, since we had started in the north-west corner of the town.
The quaint entrance to St Andrew’s Church
I quickly remembered a small church in the village of Clewer which I had often mentioned to Chris, but had failed to show him – as I soon discovered I had with a lot of things in Windsor! And so, we headed east towards St Andrew’s Church.
The church and the village are a notable part of Windsor’s history – Clewer village is older than Windsor, and the name Clewer comes from the old word for cliff-dwellers, after the people who lived below the hill that is now home to Windsor Castle. When William the Conqueror successfully invaded England in 1066, he took the lands belonging to the Manor of Clewer, and built his fort here. This fort ultimately became the Windsor Castle we know today! However, being a mere wooden fortification, there was no chapel upon Castle Hill at that time. And so, it is noted that William the Conqueror attended mass at St Andrews Church!
Upon further inspection and research, it is evident that St Andrew’s Church is no stranger to well-known names! These names include Lord and Lady Otho Fitzgerald, who built Oakley Court, the Kellners, the last lineal descendants of the English branch of Martin Luther’s family, and Owen Allum, a 17 year old boy from Windsor who died on the Titanic – his body was one of only 333 to be recovered, out of over 1500.
Of course, there are many more names which mean more to local people than these, these are just 3 that stand out as recognisable to a majority! Indeed, I hope to return here, family tree in hand, to search for any ancestors of mine which may be buried here. As you will discover in future posts, I have quite an obsession with my family tree!
So anyway, I didn’t quite realise that our journey around Windsor would be quite as lengthy – but is that necessarily a bad thing? Who wants to rush! So, I have decided to split this post into parts – I’m not sure how many, but knowing how carried away I can get, I wouldn’t want to limit myself anyway!
Until next time …