FREE Berkshire Pub Walk: Cookham & The Ferry Pub
The following walk is taken from our ever-popular guidebook, Berkshire Pub Walks, packed with 20 brilliant routes in Royal Berkshire, all of them starting and finishing at a great local pub.
COOKHAM & THE FERRY PUB (4 MILES)
Not many walks include a spot where one could paddle - or even swim - in the river on a hot day. This one does. The first half is spent following a lovely stretch of the Thames, during which you’ll pass an alternative riverside pub (with a mini playground in the beer garden), while the return leg takes you along pleasant country paths. You pass a further three pubs while heading back into Cookham, but the riverside setting of The Ferry makes it well worth waiting for!
- How to get there: From the M4 leave at Junction 8/9 and take the A308(M) towards Maidenhead, then turn left at the roundabout and follow the dual carriageway until it meets the A4. Turn right towards Slough and keep going until you see a sign on the left for Cookham. Follow this road all the way into Cookham and keep going until you see The Ferry on your right. Sat Nav: SL6 9SN.
- Parking: The pub has a car park but it does get busy. If you’re doing a pre-lunch walk you should be fine. Alternatively, there is some roadside parking in the village or a car park on Sutton Road which is ¼ mile from the pub.
The Ferry is quite a large pub, with two floors of seating and a patio next to the River Thames. It’s worth booking as it gets pretty full and it’s easy to see why. Not only is the setting wonderful, but the food is too, and on the busy Sunday lunchtime when I visited, the service was still prompt as well. The menus are extensive and imaginative, with a separate kids’ and vegan menu. During the week the lunch menu also extends to pizzas, sandwiches and salads along with some enticing house specials.
1. From the pub car park walk up a short set of steps to the road, carefully cross straight over, and go down some steps opposite. Turn right onto an alley between buildings. At the end of the alley turn left onto the riverside path. After a short distance there is a jetty where you can catch a steamer to Marlow or Windsor, but only on a Monday. Carry on through a couple of gates past Cookham Sailing Club.
2. Stay on the Thames Path with fields on your left and go through a metal kissing gate passing a spot with a mini beach where people can paddle. Go through a couple of gates to pass under the railway bridge. (The Thames Path crosses over the bridge at this point, and then passes a friendly looking pub called The Bounty.) Go through a large wooden kissing gate and then through a metal one and continue on the path as it finally diverges from the Thames.
3. At the apex of the fence you will see a footpath sign pointing left straight across a field, follow this to a small wooden gate next to a large metal one. Go through and along to a junction of footpaths where you turn left on the lower path that follows the bottom of the hill.
4. When the path ascends slightly go through a gate and then when it forks keep left to go through another gate and then under the railway arch. Go over the cattle grid (or through the small gate next to it), then turn right on a path that runs
alongside a golf course. You can see the riverside path from earlier on here and if you want to take a short cut just head across and retrace your steps to the start. Otherwise, stay on this path until a track running alongside you on the right bears right and your path bears slightly left.
5. Continue with the path bearing left through a small gate and over a little bridge, then across the end of a car park and straight on along the left edge of a field until you pass The Crown pub on your left and join the main road. Stay on the left pavement going through the centre of Cookham, past more pubs, and when you pass the Stanley Spencer Gallery on your right follow the road around to the left, cross over carefully and follow the pavement back to The Ferry.
- Alex Batho