There’s still time to sign up for the 40th anniversary Boundary Walk next month. But did you know the popular charity fundraiser has its roots in a much older local tradition?
Hundreds of walkers are expected to be stepping out to raise money for their favourite good causes when they take part in the Rotary Boundary Walk. The event, on Sunday, October 3, has become one of the town’s biggest charity fundraisers and this year is celebrating its 40th anniversary with the addition of a new 5km route for families.
But walking the main 13-mile route following the boundary of the old Maidenhead Borough harks back to the very origins of Maidenhead itself and the granting of a ‘Charter of Incorporation’ which brought the Borough of Maidenhead into being in 1582.
It became a tradition for the Mayor to get beaters to drive square-headed nails into posts and walls along the boundary route, each bearing his initials on its head. So was born the tradition of ‘beating the bounds’.
By 1934 the boundary of the borough was marked by stones – many of which can still be seen today – and during the walk the mayor would tap each one with the ceremonial mace to ‘reinforce’ the boundary. The last official ‘beating the bounds’ was in 1973, when Euphemia Underhill was Mayor.
But in 1982 the Boundary Walk as we know it today was resurrected by Rotary and the East Berkshire Ramblers to help mark the 400th anniversary of the granting of the charter and became an annual fundraising event.
Originally held on the last Sunday of September, the date was changed to the first Sunday in October as it clashed with Harvest Festival church services. While other changes over the years have included a shift to online booking and sponsorship, the event remains at its heart an opportunity for people to walk in aid of their chosen charities.
Now run as a joint project by Maidenhead and Maidenhead Bridge Rotary Clubs, the Boundary Walk will be back to normal in October after being held in a ‘bubble’ format last year due to Covid-19 restrictions.
Boundary Walk chair Jim Howles said: “We are delighted the Boundary Walk is back in its usual format this year. So, individuals, groups and families are all invited to take part in this little bit of Maidenhead’s history and at the same time raise money for their chosen causes.”
Both routes start and finish at Boulters Lock car park and follow a fully signposted path with checkpoints manned by Rotary marshals. The family route is a nice circular stroll via Guards Club Park, Oldacres and the A4.
There is a registration fee to take part which covers administration costs including route maps and completion certificates. All sponsorship raised goes to the walker’s chosen charity.
For more details and to register see www.boundarywalk.org.uk
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