Date of Walk: 4 May 2013
Approx Distance of Walk: 11 km (6.5 miles)
Parking/Transport: Roadside parking in St Margarets, by Richmond Lock (Grid Ref TO 170750)
Starting Point: Richmond Lock
Finishing Point: Hammersmith Bridge
Catching up on our Thames Path walks, we enjoyed this walk last weekend from Richmond to Hammersmith. Starting at Richmond Lock, which is where we finished our previous walk back in March, we set off under slightly cloudy skies and with the river at high tide, so the sluice gates on the bridge at Richmond were raised, allowing river traffic to pass through.
After a short distance, the sun appeared, showing off this pretty view of riverside houses at
Old Isleworth, just past the island of Isleworth Ait.
We stopped to admire the view and drink our coffee, and there was plenty of action on the river.
This little 'temple' is one of the lodges of Syon Park.
As we walk downstream, the tower blocks of Brentford in the distance remind us that we are deep into London, even though it is very green and open where we are walking.
On the opposite bank, Syon House appears in view.
On our side of the river, we have walked past the Old Deer Park of Richmond, and are approaching the grounds of Kew Gardens. This little drawbridge, which spans a ditch separating the gardens from the path we are on, doesn't look as if it's been used for quite a while.
There were lots of rowers out on this Saturday in Spring.
We catch sight of the Palm House in Kew through the trees.
It started to rain as we passed Kew Gardens and approached Kew Bridge. Never mind. We were prepared for a bit of rain.
We walk on under the bridge. Originally we planned to walk as far as the bridge and return to Richmond on the opposite bank, but we changed our plan and decided to carry on downstream. As we are now in London, it is easy to do one way walks and catch a bus back to our starting point.
So we carry on past the railway bridge at Kew...
... just beyond which are the buildings of the National Archive.
Chiswick Bridge comes into view, and although we are getting a bit peckish, we can't see anywhere nearby which looks promising for a lunch stop, so we carry on...
... under the bridge. This point is the finishing point of the Oxford/Cambridge boat race - you can see the marker post to the right.
We stopped shortly after Chiswick Bridge for some lunch at The Ship Inn in Mortlake. The pub is right by the river, and they were advertising a bbq menu. We ordered sausage sandwiches, but were a little disappointed when they arrived as we suspected they were not freshly bar-b-qued! I was watching the chef at the bbq and I didn't see him put any sausages on. However, the portions were generous, it was good to have a drink, some food and a sit down.
Revived by our lunch, we walked on towards Barnes Bridge...
... and by this time the tide was going out. Somehow the river never looks as attractive at low tide. The path beyond Barnes Bridge leads to a pretty terrace of houses, beyond which is a disused reservoir.
We stop once again for a coffee and some quiet contemplation of our surroundings (or maybe I'm just trying to stay awake after my heavy lunch...)
Finally the turrets of Hammersmith Bridge appear. It's a very attractive bridge - the best we've seen all day.
At this point we leave the Thames Path and go to find the bus stop to return to Richmond. One bus passed us as we walked down the road, but were confident that we'd catch the next one, having about twenty minutes to find the bus stop. We walked and walked, and no bus stop appeared. Finally an elderly gentleman was walking towards us and we asked him where the bus stop was. He explained that you just have to flag the bus down in this street - known as a 'hail and ride' zone. It was a good thing we asked him, as shortly a bus came along which we hailed successfully and rode back to Richmond.
By the time we got back to the bridge at Richmond, the sun was shining, the tide was low, and the sluice gates had been lowered. Any traffic wanting to pass downstream would have to use the little tidal lock.
Mr Puppet Lady enjoys the last of the coffee in the afternoon sun.
A nice walk in a variety of weathers!