Date of Walk: 26 August 2013
Approx Distance of Walk: 7 km (5 miles)
Parking/Transport: Car Park (free) at Walton-on-Thames Bridge (Grid Ref TO 094665)
Bus to Laleham from Walton-on-Thames
Starting Point: Laleham (Grid ref TO 051682)Finishing Point: Car Park at Walton-on-Thames
On a sunny August Bank Holiday Monday, we set off on our latest walk on the Thames Path. We parked by Walton-on-Thames Bridge, which is undergoing a massive reconstruction. We saw the work going on last time we were in Walton-on-Thames last September on a previous walk (which, I confess I have yet to write up, along with several other Thames Path Walks!)
For this walk we decided to take a bus to Laleham and to do this we had to walk across the new Bridge at Walton-on-Thames, which is quite stylish.
This is the view of the river from the bridge looking upstream, from where our walk would start.
We reached Laleham in a few short minutes on the bus.
From the bus stop we walked down to the river to join the Thames Path.
The last time we were here, it was a cold, grey January day and the river had been in flood.
Today was very different...
... blue skies and warm sunshine.
As we walk towards Chertsey this colourful barge passes by.
Shortly we reach Chertsey Lock, which is very busy with lots of holiday makers.
The sign says 'Welcome', but it was not as welcoming as some lock signs, with it's scratched board and builders bag beneath.
But they had made an effort with some nice hanging baskets and pots.
A piece of land on the bank supported some flowers too - it looked as if it had been sown as a wild flower area, and this was the remains of it.
Chertsey Bridge is rather an attractive one.
Past the bridge, the river makes a wide swing and we were walking in the sun on the open flood plain.
After a while we reached a shadier stretch, which was very welcome.
The path by the river seems quite rural, but there are lots of nice properties on this stretch too, being so close to the capital.
There are riverside appartments...
and some houses with beautifully tended gardens. On our side of the river, the vegetation is more wild, but equally pretty.
We stopped to eat our lunch on a pleasant open area by the river before continueing our walk to Shepperton Lock, which was even busier than Chertsey Lock. This part of the river is where the River Wey joins the Thames, so there is a lot of river traffic here.
There are signs up saying that this has won the Best Lock Award in 2011 and 2012. It is a well kept and pretty lock, with a nice tea-room area, although the public loos are ridiculously over-engineered (according to Mr PL who was spending 20p in them whilst I took these pictures!)
As we leave the lock, the Thames Path takes two alternate routes - one on the north bank, which meanders quite a bit around Shepperton, and one on the South bank which is more direct, but for which we must cross the river in a small ferry.
It's nice to be on the river for a change instead of beside it. It's a rather expensive ride, at £2 for a 2 minute ride, but it's saves us from walking the north route, which doesn't seem to follow the river much.
A nice sit down.
This is the view from the south bank back across to Shepperton.
As we walk away from the ferry, we approach this unusual house which is on an island known as D'Oyly Carte Island. There is a private bridge over to the island.
From here, the Thames Path follows a straight path known as the Desborough Cut. This is a channel, completed in 1935, which was dug to improve the flow of the Thames, and named after Lord Desborough, the longest serving chairman of the Thames Consevancy.
Instead of following the straight cut, we walked a longer way, around the Desborough Island, which was formed when the cut was made.
Once again we found a welcome bit of shade as we walked around this popular island.
As we neared the end of our walk, we found a quiet spot on some steps to have a drink, a snack, and quietly contemplate the river as it passed by.
Crossing back from the island across the cut, we could see out destination, the spectacular curve of the new Walton Bridge, over the rooftops.
There is still work to be done at the bridge - the new one looks pretty much finished, but they still have to demolish the old bridge, hence the tall cranes in the distance.
One more piece of the Thames Path completed. We are probably about two thirds of the way there now, but have already started to plan which stretch will be our final one!