Back pedalling 800 years….


A delightful escape route from Reading took us along the Thames path, mingling with other cyclists and walkers, zipping past houseboats moored to the riverbank……but, sadly, riverside tracks seldom lend themselves to comfortable tandem riding. Too many obstacles and tight turns, which are negotiable on solos, but are difficult on a tandem…..which meant mounting and dismounting at frequent intervals, slowing down the pace to little faster than walking speed.
So, a temporary farewell to NCN4, the Thames Cycleway, we headed off through rich farming country in search of Windsor Great Park. It was a relief to leave the traffic behind, to be enveloped by the wide open panoramas stretching across Windsor and its Castle,

Windsor in the far background

Windsor in the far background

and the almost complete absence of other human beings. If you’ve never walked or cycled across Windsor Park, put it on your short list.
Then off in search of the site where, 800 years ago, a charter was agreed and signed by King John, in the presence of his rebellious barons……..


an action that would engrave the terms of universal human liberties on the constitutions of every democratic country, most notably that of the USA.
I am, of course, referring to Runnymede and the signing of Magna Carta, where a dignified covered monument bears witness to that event…..

The twelve Jurors

The twelve Jurors

….now accompanied by a very recent addition of 12 chairs called The Jurors, set out in the open field, seemingly awaiting a gathering, and each bearing depictions of world-changing events that should give us cause for reflection.
A quick visit to JFK’s memorial, set at the top of 50 stone steps, completes this homage to universal civil liberties.


With heavy rain threatening, we jumped back on the tandem and sped off in search of shelter, refreshment and a bed for the night.


About Frank Burns

Looking for the extraordinary in the commonplace………taking the road less travelled……..striving for the ‘faculty of making happy chance discoveries’ in unremarkable circumstances. Click on the Personal Link below to visit my webpages.

Posted on September 25, 2015, in The Thames by tandem 295km and tagged , , . Bookmark the permalink. 2 Comments.

  1. Windsor Great Park was where my mother got lost as a very young child. My grandfather was a trooper in the Blues & Royals at Windsor, my grandmother rather less well qualified to be a mother! They found my mother in the care of gypsies camping in the park. Always wondered if my grandmother got back the right child!

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