Dave Sergeant

Another day, another walk. Yesterday along the Thames from Hampton Court to Richmond, around 8 miles and is actually where the TFL north bank of the Thames walk begins even though quite a lot of it is on the south bank. South Western Railways suggest you get to Hampton Court by a devious multi-train route via Virginia Water, Weybridge and Surbiton. I decided to take the far simpler route via Clapham Junction though I had to fork out the rather more expensive Travel Card ticket.

Hampton Court station was surprising busy when I arrived with plenty of people heading for the Palace even though it was pre-booked timed entry only. It certainly looked resplendent in all its glory. Although the day started with a very autumnal chill once I got going it was a beautiful day and quite warm in the sun.

This stretch of the Thames up from Hampton Court is the Thames at its best and I was quite taken back in how beautiful it looked. The first mile or so was quite busy with walkers and cyclists but was less busy once away from the town. Passing Thames Ditton Island and Ravens Ait, Thames Sailing Club comes into view. Some youngsters were enjoying themselves in small boats and it was a lovely way to spend a morning.

Soon Kingston Bridge comes in view which I crossed to the south bank. For a few hundred yards I shared the route of the London Loop which I had done a year ago and for some minutes there was a bustle of activity with shoppers and crowds enjoying themselves at the riverside restaurants. I soon left this, walking through Canbury Gardens by the waterside and Trowlock Island comes into view.

Next is Teddington Lock. This is the first full lock on the Thames, that at Richmond being a half lock, and is also the largest and deepest on the whole river. Although there were plenty of boats moored up outside none were going through the lock at the time.

After Teddington the river side path passes Ham Lands nature reserve, largely woodland at the river side. Then onto the very familiar path past Ham House, Petersham Meadows, Hammertons Ferry, Bucchleuch Gardens and into Richmond. I lunched at the Slug and Lettuce before making my way to Richmond station and the train home after another very enjoyable day.

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