Dave Sergeant

The Capital Ring is a walking route of 78 miles length around London split into 15 sections. See tfl.gov.uk/modes/walking/capital-ring for more details.

Capital Ring Section 7 - Richmond to Boston Manor - October 30th 2019

Today, to tie up the loose ends on my London walks, I decided to do a bit more of the Capital Ring. I had originally skipped doing most of section 7 because I had previously done that bit as one of Andrew Duncan's Favourite London Walks, admittedly in the opposite direction and partly on the opposite bank of the Thames down to Twickenham rather than Richmond). So to do it properly I did the whole of section 7 from Richmond station to Boston Manor tube. I would also be crossing the rather magnificent Richmond Lock bridge, or that was the plan...

So after a pleasant stroll from the station through Richmond Green (which now feels almost like home ground) I reached the Thames and approached the Richmond rail bridge which I had crossed on the train just minutes earlier. Very few boats on the river, must be getting near winter.

A little further along is the Kew Meridian marked by this line. This is where the famous line was before moving to Greenwich and was based on Kew Observatory, built in 1769 for George III. The observatory is supposed to be visible through a small gap in the post on the right but it seems trees have now grown and blocked the view, at least I couldn't see it.

Now the magnificent Richmond Lock comes into view, a half lock where the lock bit is only used at low tide (I thought the Thames was not tidal at this point, go figure). I noticed though scaffolding on it and workmen in orange coats and when I got there I saw this:

Foiled again, nothing else to do but to walk the few hundred yards back and cross via Twickenham Bridge.

So having crossed the river and retraced my steps on the other side, after some way I reached Isleworth. The public footpath just before here goes right through the veranda of the Town Wharf pub/restaurant and you have to dodge all their tables and guests, but yes, it is a public right of way! This is the church of All Saints. The present church is though a new building built in 1970 to the right of the tower which is all that remains of the 14th century church. A bit of walking along busy roads follows here for a while, but not for long.

Soon into Syon Park which was quite busy with walkers, cyclists, and being half term children. Syon House here is one of Capability Brown's works and was the home of the Dukes of Northumberland. Now closed for the winter months and only open on Sundays and Thursdays in the summer. Having passed it twice one of these days I will hopefully be able to see it properly.

Last time I was here there was a huge garden centre with a cafe that made a convenient half way stop. But it closed last month, part of Wyevale's decision to sell off all its centres, this is one that wasn't sold so is currently closed. It seems the council has various ideas for the site, I hope building flats here is not in their plans. Very little information outside about the closure, I found out online beforehand but it seems some were just a little puzzled to find the locked gates.

So after another short section of main road I reached the Grand Union and Brentford Lock. This is one of the stretches I had walked on an earlier Capital Ring trip. The huge building on the opposite side is the Glaxo Smith Kline complex, the pharmaceutical company. Nice pleasant walk along here and the presence of the A4 and then M4 at various places didn't deter too much.

This is the Athlete, the sculpture outside the GSK building.

Clitherow Lock, totally deserted of barges.

Just after going underneath the M4 I reached the end of section 7 (the actual end is a few hundred yards further on at Osterley Lock) where I turned off to head for Boston Manor underground station. A nice walk through woodland along the Brent River where it splits from the canal. On reaching civilisation again I had lunch at a conveniently located Harvester before reaching the station and catching the tube back to Richmond. The sections this end of London are good in that you can start early - I got to Richmond at 9.45 - and being a leisurely 4 miles I arrived home by 3pm which is almost a record. Very pleasant day out.

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