Visit the birthplace of the Magna Carta on this riverside walk near Egham in Surrey. Runnymede Park includes nice footpaths running through woodland, wildflower meadows and along the River Thames. There's also the Langham Ponds wetland area where you can look out for interesting plants and insects. You may also see fallow or muntjac deer grazing in the meadows.
You can start your walk from the large car park just off Windsor Road opposite Magna Carta Island. You then cross the road and pick up footpaths to the Magna Carta Monument. Here you can learn about the history of the charter which was agreed by King John at Runnymede on the 15th June 1215. It promised the protection of church rights, protection for the barons from illegal imprisonment, access to swift justice, and limitations on feudal payments to the Crown. Many consider it to be the the foundation of the free world and of individual freedom.
Around here you can also find the John F. Kennedy Memorial Stone. The memorial consists of a block of Portland stone set in a symbolic acre of American soil. You reach it by climbing a steep path of granite steps, intended to symbolise a pilgrimage. From here there are great views back towards the River Thames.
After leaving the monument you head to Cooper's Hill where there are some nice woodland trails. Look out for the ancient oak trees, wood anemones and carpets of pretty bluebells in the spring months.
After leaving the woods you can follow other paths across the wide fields before returning to the car park.
Before you finish your walk you could visit the Runnymede Pleasure Grounds where you can buy refreshments. The pretty gardens have nice wide lawns running down to the Thames and a good cafe with picnic tables.
You can extend your walk by enjoying a stroll along the Thames Path. Heading north along the trail will take you towards Windsor where you can explore the expansive Windsor Great Park.
Also nearby is the lovely Staines Moor Site of Special Scientific Interest. Here you can enjoy waterside paths around Wraysbury Reservoir with nice views of the River Colne. There's also a series of streams, rivers, ponds and lakes with lots of wildlife to look out for. The moor is located very close to Runnymede so well worth a visit if you have time. You can also pick up the Colne Valley Way long distance path from here.
PostcodeTW20 0AE - Please note: Postcode may be approximate for some rural locations
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Runnymede Ordnance Survey Map - view and print off detailed OS map
Runnymede Open Street Map - view and print off detailed map
Runnymede OS Map - Mobile GPS OS Map with Location tracking
Runnymede Open Street Map - Mobile GPS Map with Location tracking
There's a nice National Trust tea room at the site where you can pick up some refreshments after your walk. You can sit outside here and enjoy some fine views if the weather is good.
The park and river trails make for a lovely walk with your dog. You are requested that when around the memorials to please keep them on a lead. The Magna Carte tea rooms are dog friendly and will provide water bowls.
Further Information and Other Local Ideas
Head to the other side of the river and you can visit the pretty village of Wraysbury. Here there's a nice walk to the National Trust's Ankerwycke where there's an ancient yew and a ruined priory to see. There are also views across Magna Carte island to Runnymede and a fine old village pub to visit.
The Egham Walk visits the site from the train station in the nearby town. You'll also pass the impressive old university buildings on this walk.
For more walking ideas in the area see the Surrey Walks page.