The Royal Borough of Windsor and Maidenhead Council has set aside a £4.5m budget for making improvements to roads, footways,... ...
The Windsor Great Park comprises 5,000 acres of the Surrey and Berkshire countryside stretching from Windsor Castle in the north to Ascot in the south. This is all that is left of the once mighty Windsor Forest, which stretched for another 20 miles southwest.
With the lake at Virginia Water, a great deer park, Roman ruins a chinese pagoda, ancient Oak trees, Polo Fields, Royal Lodges, A secret village and even a North American Totem pole, the remaining park provides much for 2 million visitors to enjoy each year for free.
Trees are a naturally important part of Windsor Great Park. The park belongs to the Royal Family and many of the gifts of trees that they have received over the centuries have ended up here in Windsor. These days botanists come from all over the world especially to see the National Dwarf Conifer Collection at Windsor Great Park.
The Oak trees date bak to Tudor times and some have a girth of over ten metres. Back then Windsor Great Park stretched much further to the south and west and was a royal hunting park. Myths and Legends of a much older past survive, monst famously in the story of Herne the Hunter.
Savill Garden is found on the south eastern bondary of the park and contains a beautifully maintained garden of rhododendrons, azaleas, trees, and conifers with a small lake and a hothouse. Savill garden was created in the first half of the 20th Century. This is the only part of Windsor Great Park that visitors must pay admission to enter.
Here is a photo of Windsor Deer Park with the Copper Horse statue in the distance,
taken by Chris Brown on 29th January 2007 – a cloudy morning.
On the eastern edge of the park is an earthwork feature refered to as the ‘Park Pale‘ on the Ordanance Survey map. A pale is usually a wooden stake fence, often associated with deer hunting and this is true in the case of Windsor Great Park.
The deer park sits between Windsor and the Great Park village. In the rutting season the calls of the stags echo across the local countryside. Other surprising calls you might hear include the squaking of parakeets. A resident population of several hundred green parakeets has been living in the park since the late 1990s. At dusk, the beech trees near Saville gardens are a good place to look for them.
Within the deer park at the top of snow hill sits the statue of King George III (yup, the mad one) who sits dressed up as a Roman Emperor on top of his horse and points off towards Slough. An inscription in Latin describes him as ‘Pater Optimo’ which I believe translates as ‘Big Daddy’.
The roman ruins are right at the other end of the park, closer to Virginia Water were transported from the site of Leptis Magna (near modern-day Tripoli) to the park back in 1818. They were rebuilt with more thought to asthetics than vericimilitude and so are a real curiousity to modern eyes.
The Totem Pole in Windsor Park
This was a gift from native peoples from the northern part of Vancouver Island in British Columbia, Canada. It was carved from Western Red Cedar and erected in 1958. As you can see from the closeup the totem pole is weathering nicely.
The Great Park Village is definitely worth a visit. It was built in the centre of the Great Park in the 1930s, to provide homes for people who work on the Royal estate. It is a beautiful place, best appreciated on foot or bicycle.