Saturday, 26 June 2010


I haven't been out on the bike much this week, but it's a very hot day today. So I decided to chose a fairly flat route, make an early start, and try to get back home before it all got too hot and uncomfortable.

I headed for Colnbrook, which today is part of Slough. The place keeps moving though - in the past it has been part of Buckinghamshire, Middlesex, Surrey and Berkshire.

The first Cox’s Orange Pippin was grown here in 1825 (by a retired brewer called Richard Cox), so it has some claim to fame. In other respects (how shall I put this politely) it is not the most obvious destination for a gentle weekend outing. The routes there and back aren't bad though.

The village lies just west of Heathrow (under the flight path), and it is snuggled up against both the M4 and the M25. The A4 passes through the outskirts on the way to the centre of Slough. So it is something of a transport hub. Even National Cycle Route 61 passes through the centre of the village, and almost all of the milestones on the Bath Road around here give a distance to Colnbrook.

The reason for Colnbrook appearing on milestones is because it used to be a popular stopping point for travellers going between London and Bath. There used to be a lot of coaching inns here. The one in the picture, the Ostrich, was founded in 1106 and is said to be England's third oldest inn.

There is a story that in the 17th century the landlord of the Ostrich installed a trap door under the bed in the best bedroom. He would release two bolts during the night and tip the sleeping occupant into a boiling cauldron in the kitchen below. More than 60 rich guests are supposed to have been murdered like this, and slung into the local river.

As far as I know there was nothing that exciting going on in Colnbrook today, but it was a decent outing, a pleasant ride out through Windsor, and a pleasant ride back along the Thames. In the process I managed to mark up a few more of the remaining Bath Road milestones. As far as I can tell, there's only one missing from the 19 that must have originally been installed between Colnbrook and Twyford. That gap leaves a bit of a hole in the nice curve that is starting build up in the map below.


Martin said...

I thought the milestones had mostly been removed to confuse enemy parachutists disguised as nuns.

gom1 said...

It seems not. Maybe by the time they got to Slough the nuns knew where they were.