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Virginia Water, Berkshire

Virginia Water is a huge artificial lake surrounded by park, woodland and gardens. Although the lake is "man-made" you'd be hard pressed to spot that it isn't natural.

The lake lies within the grounds of Windsor Great Park (also known as Her Majesty's back garden). Some parts of the park are off-limits to the public but there is still loads left to see and do.

The bird life is a big attraction and there is plenty of it. Now I'm no bird watcher, but even without looking too hard it was easy to spot various water birds including ducks, swans, moorhens, herons, and loads of others I couldn't put a name to.

Although it was a busy day when we visited, there were still plenty of quiet spots to wander through or sit by and be away from the crowds.

The circuit round the lake is around a 3½ mile gentle stroll with the odd diversion off the main path. En route you pass woodland with huge trees including pines, beech and oak.

There's also a heather garden, Rhododendron collection (apparently one of the largest in the world) and plenty of other stuff including a waterfall (which was kind of unimpressive after a long spell of hot dry weather but I'm sure it looks lovely when there's more water about).

A relatively short stroll from the main car park entrance there's a huge totem pole which stands at around thirty metres high. The pole has eight figures carved into it, including a sea otter and a double-headed snake. It was given as a gift to the Queen by the Kwakiutl people of British Columbia. Its location in the park looks kind of quirky -- almost the last thing you'd expect to come across but it seems Her Maj couldn't think of anywhere else to put it.

Virginia Water even has its Roman Ruins -- Well actually in the early 19th Century they were nicked from their original location in the Roman city of Leptis Magna close to the present city of Tripoli in Libya. The ruins stayed at the British Museum for a few years before being transported and erected at the current site.

We finished off our walk with a traditional Sunday roast dinner at the Wheatsheaf pub / hotel. A nice enough meal to top off a very pleasant day in the sunshine enjoying the sights and sounds of the park.

Virginia Water
Virginia Water




Swans, Virginia Water, Berkshire
Swan family


Roman Ruins, Virginia Water
Roman Ruins

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