02:39PM, Thursday 22 February 2018
Welcome to the second of my #lovemaidenhead columns where I will be sharing and showcasing the ‘unsung heroes’ and ‘hidden gems’ of Maidenhead, featuring places to go, things to do and even places to eat and drink.
Dotted around Maidenhead, you’ll find local cafes, businesses and family-friendly destinations that don’t always have a big marketing budget to promote themselves.
Because of this, I find that Google doesn’t always have the answers that you need to enjoy and explore your local area. Instead, a genuine local recommendation helps.
Last month I talked about Bridge That Gap cafe at Boyn Grove Community Resource Centre on Courthouse Road, this month I’m doing a spotlight on Guards Club Park.
What is it?
Tucked away down by the River Thames is a lovely area of green space with a fascinating history.
Known as Guards Club Park, this area always feels quintessentially ‘Maidenhead’ to me.
Once you’re there, look to your right, and you’ll see the trains whizzing by across Brunel’s fantastic railway bridge. Walk down to the river and look to the left, and you’ll see Maidenhead bridge. Not to mention that in the centre of the park there is also the Victorian footbridge which leads to the island in the middle of the river.
This bridge was restored to its former glory by the Civic Society 40 years ago in 1978 so this year feels like a rather special year for Guards Club Park.
The park is open to the public throughout the year and last year was the venue for Maidenhead’s very first gin festival: Gin in the Park.
There is a small car park which is accessible from ‘Oldacres’ Road which takes you right inside Guard’s Club Park.
Why do I love it?
On a purely personal level, the park has lots of photo opportunities so you’ll often find me here, camera in hand, documenting the changing seasons.
The daffodils that are planted by the local Residents Association are particularly impressive on a sunny day in spring: look out for them in the next few weeks!
It’s not all about pretty photos though: my children enjoy visiting the park too.
There isn’t a playground, but there are ducks to feed, trains to spot and a rather cool shelter which they love to play ‘house’ in.
The spire on the shelter was rescued from the original Guards Club boathouse which stood on the island in the Thames.
Delving a little further into the history of the park, you might like to know that it was the Maidenhead Civic Society that created the park in 1977 to commemorate the Silver Jubilee. The Civic Society persuaded the developers of what is now ‘Oldacres’ and ‘Horseguards’ to delete a block of flats from their plans and increase the area of riverside land for public use.
I think this makes it even more special knowing that it was created by others with a real ‘love’ for Maidenhead.
This year there will be another Gin in the Park festival in July and other community events.
If you know of a local place or activity that I could feature here, please get in touch.
Jodie is a photographer and blogger living in Maidenhead with her husband and two young children.
She is passionate about showcasing the best of life in Maidenhead and has created a hashtag on Instagram to encourage others to share their #lovemaidenhead moments and tips too.
You can see more of her photography and writing on her local lifestyle blog: www.maidenheadmum.co.uk
To get in touch email her at: Jodie@maidenheadmum.co.uk
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