The Long Walk

Updated February 2023

See also

The Great Park
Home Page

The Long Walk
Panoramic View

The Royal Windsor
Home Page

"Imagination cannot picture an approach of greater magnificence, produced by circumstances which ages alone could bring about, and of which ages alone can produce a rival."

The Copper Horse on Snow Hill, and the view north along The Long Walk towards Windsor Castle and the George IV gateway. This picture was taken in the 1930s and shows the young Horse Chestnut and London Plane trees shortly after the replanting of the Long Walk. The removal of the old trees along the full length of the Long Walk was not completed until 1946.

The Long Walk was commenced by Charles II from 1680-1685 by planting a double avenue of elm trees. The central carriage road was added by Queen Anne in 1710. The original planting comprised 1,652 trees placed 30 feet apart in each direction. The width between the two inner rows was 150 feet, and overall 210 feet. It is a little less long than the three miles of popular rumour being around 2.65 miles (2 2/3rds miles or 4.26 km) from George IV Gateway at Windsor Castle to The Copper Horse.
   In 1859 a Commission, of which the Duke of Bedford was President, inspected the Long Walk, and recommended ("...after mature consideration...") that the old trees, when dead, dangerous, or decayed, should be gradually replaced by young elms between the Castle and the Double Gates, adjacent to Park Street, but from that point to the Statue of George III on Snow Hill, the soil proved unsuitable for elms and so there should be a gradual substitution of oak for elm in that part of the avenue. This plan was therefore adopted on a small scale in 1861, when a small enclosure was planted with oaks on the east side in the line of the Avenue. In 1879, three other enclosures were formed on the same principle, one either side of Snow Hill, and another opposite the plantation created in 1861.
  Elms were felled and replaced with Horse Chestnut and London Plane working north from the Copper Horse end, significant work being undertaken in 1921 and in the early 1930s at which time the decision was made to widen the distance between the lines of trees on each side of the avenue.

The Long Walk in the

The Long Walk in the early 1900s.
Many of the trees by this time were in need of replacement.

Edwardians take a stroll

Edwardians take a stroll in the Long Walk, early 1900s

1908 Cars in Long Walk

Edwardian motor cars in the Long Walk for a Garden Party at Windsor Castle, Summer 1908

Pond in Long Walk

The pond in the Long Walk photographed at the turn of the last century, around 1900. The pond no longer exists, though we have no record of when it was filled in.

Views of Windsor Bought

We are always keen to be offered either scans (JPG) of Windsor as it was, or old post cards, engravings or books and booklets to illustrate forthcoming Windsor Website stories. Please contact The Editor

Following an outbreak of elm disease at the beginning of WWII, the avenue at the northern end was felled in 1943, work starting on 30th August of that year, with the entire replanting completed by February 1946. The avenue as we know it today at the northern end dates from that time, planted with London Plane and Horse Chestnuts. The original plan was to decide after a period of thirty years or so which species to retain, but during the subsequent thinning in the 1970s, the mix was retained.

The Long
                      Walk 01

The view north towards the Castle in 2000

Long Walk in snow

A similar view after a rare fall of snow 28th December 2000

Arriving by road from the south-east, from Old Windsor, you will cross The Long Walk and enjoy views up and down the avenue, towards the Copper Horse southwards, and the Castle to the north.

NB There are no official parking places nearby, and cars and cycles are not permitted to ride along the Long Walk. If arriving by coach the driver will slow down for a few moments to allow photographs but will be unable to stop. Car parking may be possible in the side roads to the west, but the best plan is to park in one of the town centre car parks and walk east from The Guildhall past the Parish Church into Park Street, entering the Long Walk through the Park Street gateway, middle left of the picture above and below.

Long walk in 1945 - trees

A similar view of The Long Walk in 1946 showing a single avenue of newly planted trees

The Long Walk, nearer the castle - 1930s

The Long Walk near Windsor Castle before the old trees were
cut down in 1943 and replaced with young saplings

                          Walk Trees CU

The magnificent avenue in detail, with Horse Chestnuts along the inner rank and a second, outer avenue of younger London Plane

Horse Riding

Windsor Great Park and the surrounding areas provide superb opportunities for horse riding. Permits are required to ride in the Great Park upon application to:

The Crown Estates Office, Windsor Great Park,
Windsor, SL4 2HT

Jubilee Procession April

Pictures of Rolls Royces and Bentleys in the Long Walk,
April 2002

Queen's Golden Jubilee Rally in Long Walk

See also our story about the Saluting Cannon The Royal Salute in the Long Walk

The History of Windsor Great Park and Windsor Forest.
William Menzies.
Longman Green. 1864

Wiliam Menzies was Deputy Surveyor of Windsor Great Park from 1849-1878 and Thamesweb are planning to create a facsimile edition of this rare publication. If you would like to have more information or enjoy a significant discount by registering as a pre-publication subscriber, please contact The Editor.

Available NOW!

William Menzies

'Windsor Park and Forest'  1904
as an eBook, 6.95

Menzies eBook

FURTHER RECOMMENDED READING: 'Royal Landscape,' The Gardens and Parks of Windsor, Jane Roberts, Yale University Press, 1997.

This book contains a mass of information about the Parks, and is gloriously illustrated. The RWWS may be able to source a copy for you. Royal Landscape

See also

The Great Park
Home Page

The Long Walk
Panoramic View

The Royal Windsor
Home Page

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