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Published September 5th 2020
Enjoy a walk between Windsor Castle and the Copper Horse
The Long Walk and Deer Park is an area of Windsor Great Park consisting of a tree-lined avenue from the George IV Gateway of Windsor Castle to a hilltop statue of George III known as the Copper Horse. In total, the round trip walk is about 6 miles and will take around 2 hours to complete depending on walking speed. There are plenty of picnic spots along the avenue, places to stop and sit, and other paths to explore in the deer park if you want a longer walk.
The Great Park is steeped in a thousand years of history and royal heritage. The Park was used as a royal hunting and riding ground dating to as far back as William the Conqueror. The Great Park's website states that the forest is home to one of the 'largest populations of ancient oak trees in northern Europe' and 'there are trees still standing today that saw William of Normandy ride past on Royal hunts.'
The original planting of the Long Walk was done by Charles II in 1680 and extended a few years later to its current length. The towering statue of George III was completed in 1831 as a monument to his contributions to Windsor Great Park. The hilltop vista provides excellent panoramic views of the park and Windsor Castle across to busy Heathrow in the distance. The nature of the park is enjoyable, but the urban setting is not easy to forget with planes leaving nearby Heathrow every few minutes.
Red deer are never far from visitors. The current herd of about 500 was established by the Park Ranger H.R.H. The Duke of Edinburgh in 1979. The Great Park's website states that the deer are accustomed to visitors and 'often will pose nicely for photographs.' On my visit, we encountered a large gathering of deer along the avenue. They were moved on by horse riders but did not seem frightened or bothered in the slightest by human presence.
The avenue is flat for the majority of the walk. There is a slight incline toward the Copper Horse Statue. It is not too difficult and can be accomplished in a few hours or less.