Chris Brown has been the official Town Crier for the Royal Borough of Windsor and Maidenhead for close to a decade, and this year he celebrates a quarter century of living in Windsor. Sadly his bell and booming voice have of necessity been mostly silent during the last 12 months.
However Chris has still found plenty of opportunities to get out and about enjoying the benefits of living in our local area, so we asked Chris to give us the lowdown on some of his favourite places in and around Windsor.
“I have been getting out on the bicycle quite a bit this last year so the Thames path is one place I have come to know pretty well. There is a spot not too far upstream from the town, opposite the racecourse. Just after you cross a little bridge there is a bench at a place called Athens where the Eton boys used to swim in the river. What makes it so special is that the rules for swimming can still be read on a concrete plinth just behind the bench. You really should find it and have a read.
A little further on, just before the rowing lake, the beautiful ancient church of St Mary Magdalene, Bovney is another great spot to stop and take in a lovely space and perhaps sit and watch the boats go by. If the Church is open do go in and take a look. If it is shut you could ask for the key at the lock keeper’s cottage.
After that, just keep going upstream and maybe turn right at the far end of the rowing lake and come back via the Jubilee River.
Of course Windsor Great Park is always worth a visit. We recently re-acquainted ourselves with the circular walk that starts at the car park off the A332 by the field where they fly model aeroplanes. You walk up the hill on a sunny afternoon and looking back from the top gives a lovely view across the fields towards the castle.
Turn left and cross the road, head through Ranger’s Gate and walk up and over the hill and down toward Russel’s pond. One day last year we came across literally thousands of baby frogs who had set off up the path in search of pastures new.
Then a little further on you can join the Queen Anne’s ride where you can turn left and walk back towards where you started enjoying another fantastic view as you go . It’s a lovely little circular stroll.”
What about places to stop and maybe have a picnic?
“A favourite picnic spot in the great park is the top of daffodil valley close to the heather garden. It is a lovely view and they recently added some new wooden benches. Obviously it looks amazing when the daffodils are out, but its a great spot at all times of year.
Of course the copper horse is perfect for bigger picnic groups but the valley gardens is where we end up more often than not.
We all love the park, but what about your favourite places in Windsor town itself?
“The view of the copper horse from the other end of the long walk is another favourite spot for me.. When I am wearing the Town Crier livery in Windsor, visitors regularly ask me for advice on what to see. They already know that we have a castle but many people actually manage to leave Windsor without seeing the long walk which is a huge shame. The view when the light is right can still be almost shocking in its beauty, even after seeing it very regularly for 25 years . Having the Two Brewers pub just around the corner is another point in its favour. I do like the flowers that Robert the Landlord grows outside the front of the brewers. They really do add an extra level of beauty to Park Street.
So, your favourite place in town is the pub?
“Ha, well no, because the place in Windsor town centre that I carry in my heart above all is the Guildhall. It is a truly lovely old building. I was a volunteer there before being appointed Town Crier and it was also the place where my wife Nicola and I got married. I have great memories of that day and the word must have got out that getting married at the Guildhall was a good idea because six months later Prince Charles and the Duchess of Cornwall got married there too.