Tuesday, 7 January 2014

Thames Path - Vauxhall to Hammersmith

Date of Walk:  29 December 2013
Approx Distance of Walk: 10 km (6.5 miles)
 Parking/Transport: Transport for London
Starting Point: Vauxhall Bridge, London
Finishing Point: Hammersmith Bridge, London

On a gloriously sunny but chilly day at the end of 2013 we set off on another leg of our Thames Path walks.
Our starting point was Vauxhall Bridge. The first picture shows the view of the river looking downstream towards Westminster and the Millenium Wheel. Our walk on this day, however, was to take us upstream and westwards. 

Emerging from Vauxhall Tube Station, we walked around the back of the MI6 building to the point where we finished a previous walk (yet to be written up!) last summer. The wind was whipping cold air off the river.


With the MI6 building on the left and St Georges Tower up ahead (scene of a nasty helicopter crash last year) we set off on our walk.

Crossing Vauxhall Bridge we get a good view upstream of the well-known towers of Battersea Power Station. Many attempts have been made at redeveloping this historic site, and in 2012 it was bought by a Malaysian consortium and restoration and development plans are under way.

View from Vauxhall Bridge.

We started walking on the northern side of the river, where the 'Boris bikes' didn't seem to be too popular that day.

Soon we pass the Grosvenor Railway Bridge 

which is shortly followed by the more attractive Chelsea Bridge.

We cross back over Chelsea Bridge and continue the rest of our walk on the south side of the river.
Here we enter Battersea Park, where for a few minutes we admire the London Peace Pagoda...

... before stopping for a coffee and a selfie in the sunshine.

After coffee we continue through the park towards the pretty Albert Bridge...

... looking at it's best against the clear blue sky.

The walk now continues along the bank where we are mainly passing newly developed residential apartment blocks.
Battersea Bridge is the next one we encounter - the low sun reflecting off the water's relatively calm surface illuminates the underside of the arches in a most unusual way.

On the opposite bank after this bridge we can see the new development of Chelsea Harbour, formerly the site of derelict railway sidings and a disused canal basin. It is now a thriving community.

We approach this rather ugly railway bridge (which is not even nice enough to have a name) and have to divert inland for a while to go under it and to pass by Battersea Heliport before returning to the river.

Not all the local residents live in the high-rise apartments flanking the river here - some of them live on more traditional house-boats - like this bunny happily sunning himself outside his hutch.

Returning to the riverside path we continue to pass the masses of soul-less modern apartments which line the river. Maybe there is more life in summer time, when there will be pavement cafes and shops, or perhaps it is all too new to have developed an atmosphere. Wandsworth Bridge looms ahead.

It was rather a shock to see these red-hot pokers in full flower at the end of December. I think they must have been recently planted to attract buyers on this new development.

There are some very fancy house-boats moored here too.
In the distance we can see Putney Bridge.

The walk now passes through Wandsworth Park, where we stop for another cup of coffee to revive ourselves. The sun is getting low in the sky now, but has kept on shining all day!

Putney Bridge comes into view and we walk on past it, with a short diversion through the busy streets of Putney.

When we return to the river on the other side of Putney Bridge, we walk past the many boat houses that are located here. This is, of course, the starting point for the famous Oxford and Cambridge Boat Race.

As the shadows lengthen we are now on the home straight of our walk, past the Barnes playing fields and Wetlands Centre, and as we approach Hammersmith Bridge, the familiar sight of the Harrods Furniture Depository (if you regularly watch the Boat Race, you will recognise this as a landmark on the course.) It has now been converted into flats.

At last the distinctive green towers of Hammersmith Bridge appear.

We cross the bridge to reach Hammersmith Tube Station, from where we will make our way home.

We couldn't have asked for a sunnier day!
However, in view of all the heavy rain we've been getting recently, I fear it may be some time before we get to continue our walks along the Thames.

1 comment:

  1. It's a while since I've done a casual walk along the side of the Thames - so much to see! Most often, when I'm in London I'm just in a hurry to get where I'm going so I'm more interested in dodging people coming the other way!


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