THE LITTLE PARK
The Little Park extends around the north and east sides of the Castle, and encompasses about 500 acres of land. Once the cool morning mist has broken, many courtiers gather here to socialize and enjoy the mild temperatures. Mostly it consists of several beautiful lawns which are given over to a variety of sports and diversions. Hedges and small woods delineate different areas including a green for lawn bowls, a course for pale-maille, and an archery range that is open to men and women alike. Occasionally, tournaments and matches are held with stands erected for the spectators. There are also a great many manicured riding trails threaded among the playing fields, which offer a milder alternative to the unkempt tracks in the rest of the Great Park. For those interested in less vigorous pursuits, there is also a small pond, encircled by a gentle walking path. Every morning and evening, the shrubs and bowers surrounding the pond are alive with the rustlings and cheerful strains of songbirds as they feverishly consume the feast of seeds & berries that will sustain them through the long winter.
The Thames River winds past Windsor to the north and west of the Castle. As in London, it provides an expedient route for reaching the royal residence, and is often quite busy with the comings and goings of the nobility as well as the merchant traffic for Windsor Town. On a gentle rise, above the tidal waters and beyond the hustle and bustle of the docks, runs an avenue, two carriages wide, which offers spectacular views of both the waterway and the Castle. In years past, this unobstructed panorama was essential for the security of the keep, but in more peaceful times it has become a popular place for riding, driving, and being seen. Scattered at occasional intervals along the shoulder of the roadway are a few benches which overlook the River and invite passers-by to stop and enjoy the picturesque scene, including the towers of Eton College on the far bank.