There are wonderful walks to be had around Cookham,
with its heritage village architecture and diverse countryside, the
latter including the River Thames, riverside meadows and wetlands, chalk
downland and large areas of common land.
All of these were enormously valued by Stanley Spencer, who once wrote, "I like to take my thoughts for a walk and marry them to someplace in Cookham".
Cookham was Spencer's "Holy Suburb", his "Village in Heaven", and numerous of his paintings were set in and around Cookham.
What better, therefore, than combining a visit to the Stanley Spencer Gallery with a walk around Cookham, following in the footsteps of this very individual genius to see first hand the places that inspired him, where he painted many of his finest works?
You can choose a GUIDED WALK (which must be booked in advance, see below)
You can purchase our new full-colour Spencer 'Walks' booklet, and find your own way around with the help of the pertinent information and numerous Spencer images that it contains.
You will be taken by one of our expert Custodians around the heart of the village and to the river path, where you will see the settings of many of Spencer's most famous works.
Our Custodian will provide illuminating information and anecdotes for your enjoyment, and will carry a large display file so that you can appreciate the comparison between the scene today and the version that Spencer painted. This delightful and memorable walk takes up to one hour.
Visiting Groups are always offered both a Gallery Talk and a Guided Walk. Most take both, but it is possible to choose just one or the other.
Subject to discussion, walks can be tailored to reflect particular interests of the Group. Depending on numbers, we may sometimes split a group so that some are taken around the Gallery whilst others do the walk, and vice versa. See the Welcome page for prices.
Initial enquiries for Guided Walks should be made on the Gallerys enquiry line, 01628 471885, or by email to firstname.lastname@example.org .
FINDING YOUR OWN WAY WITH THE GALLERY'S 'WALKS' BOOKLET
Our new full colour 'Walks' booklet is ideal for finding your own way around Spencer's Cookham with family and friends.
Available in the Gallery (or through the website shop), the booklet is entitled 'The Cookham Walk - Stanley Spencer's Village in Heaven' and costs £2.95.
This sturdy and lavishly illustrated fan-fold booklet provides maps and directions that will take you around many locations where the great artist found inspiration for his paintings. Three walks of varying length and accessibility are featured.
- The Village Walk: (45 mins, flat, easy paved, two gates one of which has restricted access for larger wheelchairs) takes you past his childhood home and some of the most important Spencer landmarks, including the church yard and the river bank.
- Odney Common: (30 mins, mainly flat, easy, paved, gated access, wheelchairs) follows the path Stanley Spencer took to the river to swim - his time for 'visitations'.
- Winter Hill and Cockmarsh: (90 minutes, soft footpath, some steep but brief gradients, not suitable for pushchairs or wheelchairs) skirts the edge of the Marsh Meadow, Cockmarsh and up to Winter Hill for glorious landscape views.
This booklet (illustrated below) is a wonderful companion for your walk, and a great souvenir to take home with you afterwards.