About the Thames

Section 6 – Maidenhead to Walton on Thames

Researched and written by Jeannette Briggs and photos by Stephen Worsfold

Continuing downstream, after leaving Maidenhead, the next bridge to cross the Thames is the Windsor and Eton Bypass Bridge, which carries the A332 high above the river, and has a headroom of 20’6". The bypass is vital in the Windsor/Eton area for enabling through traffic to avoid the narrow congested streets of Windsor. The famous Windsor Railway Bridge is next: it was designed by Brunel on the "bow and string" principle and constructed form cast iron.  It has brink viaducts added to each end of the steel structure and it carries the branch line from the main line to Paddington into Windsor Central station.

Windsor Railway Bridge by I K Brunel photo courtesy SW

Windsor Bridge (headroom 13’2") is unique in that it is now designated for pedestrians only, passing between Windsor town and Eton.

Windsor Bridge - photo courtesy S Worsfold

Further downstream you pass under Black Potts Railway Bridge (headroom 19’6") which takes its strange name from the small island underneath it, which is "Black Potts Ait". This railway bridge carries the other branch line into Windsor and Eton Riverside station from Waterloo. The River Thames next passes under two stately bridges named after Victoria and Albert – these were both built in the 1850ies to replace a single rickety bridge at Datchet. They are said to have been designed by Prince Albert himself, and have headrooms in excess of 17’.

Victoria Bridge

Ham Bridge is the next to cross the Thames with a headroom of 14’3", after which there is a long and beautiful stretch of river past the Runnymede meadows and Magna Carta Island, until Egham, where the Thames is crossed by the immense road bridge carrying the M25 and masses of thunderous traffic high above the beautiful river beneath. This road bridge has a headroom of 23’.

Staines Road Bridge (photo courtesy Simon Worsfold) Staines Railway Bridge (Photo courtesy Simon Worsfold)

Staines Road Bridge (headroom 19’6") was designed by Sir John Rennie and built in AD 1827, and this is followed by Staines Railway Bridge (headroom 21’).

Chertsey Bridge - (photo courtesy Simon Worsfold)

Another long stretch of the river follows until you reach the modern bridge which carries the M3 overhead (headroom 21’4"). This is swiftly followed by the beautiful Chertsey Bridge (headroom 19’1"), which was designed by James Paine and built in 1780 in the classical style. Just beyond Chertsey Bridge you can enter the River Wey from the Thames and undertake a journey up the Wey and Arun Canal and the Basingstoke Canal from this point.  See www.canalguide.co.uk for full details.

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