14 August, 2006

Walk 9 of the London Loop – Kingston to somewhere horrible in Middlesex

This part of the loop was unsigned which made it difficult and I don’t think I managed to complete it. The day was drizzly which also made walking even more challenging. Kingston is a nice place and I made sure I walked a short part of the previous loop again to photograph the clattern bridge and the Coronation Stone. The coronation stone was where nine of the Saxon kings of England were crowned and the Clattern bridge is a survivor from the 12th Century which crosses the Hogsmill near its confluence with the Thames.

I crossed Kingston Bridge and entered Bushy Park past a small Victorian looking church. I noticed many swallows in the park all flying low because of the rain but Bushy Park is really managed for deer. The loop runs through a delightful woodland garden with ubiquitous rhododendrons and a pretty cottage although I heard shouted swear words through the open windows. This was disconcerting.

The deer congregated in the next bit of Bushy Park, which was slightly scary as they appeared to be in charge of young but although they were watching me and started when the camera clicked they did not attack although I thought they might. And these were full size deer not the mini-deer of Knole.

Leaving the park I walked into the semi-detatched suburbia of Teddington, and crossing a piece of rough land belonging to a golf course I then went into a thirties housing estate. The street names were Rivermead Avenue (in the seventies the Avenue part would have been dropped) and Bye Ways which sounds like a farewell. The houses were interesting with fully tiled porches and one or two in a very uncompromising modernist style.
 Posted by Picasa

This street leads to a main road and the River Crane which on this route one follows upstream. I walked through a scrubby park and along the river, eating wild blackberries all the way. Somebody was even out gathering them which I have not seen for a long time. Wild blackberries can be a bit sour but mixed with apple as a pie filling are delicious.

The river was used to power gunpowder mills and the old watch or water tower still remains from this time. It is called a shot tower but is not really high enough for this purpose. Otherwise the park is dull.

At Hounslow Heath (danger - adders!) I got lost. Looking at a street map it would help if the author know left from right! I eventually walked over a golf course that looked parched with the wet weather. It also looked like golfers had been banned due to the drought as there was nobody playing. Walking up the River Crane again I came to the bridge mentioned in the guide book and crossed it to continue walking by the river through Brazil Mills Wood.

Brazil mills wood eventually leads into Donkey Wood where I got lost again!! Dodging the boys drinking cheap lager, I walked up to cross the Great South West Road and down to the other part of Donkey Wood. I crossed the Duke of Northumberland’s River, that I met at Isleworth on the Capital Ring, perhaps I should not have crossed this as in a few hundred yards crossing a road bridge I came upon the end of the track in a boggy mire at the River Crane. The path was truly impassable without a boat.

Sunbury on Thames

I caught a bus to Sunbury on Thames from where I ended the walk. Apparently there had been a regatta on the river that day which I had missed. However there was a curious church with an eighteenth century tower and a nineteenth century Italianate basilica and apse. It was a most peculiar combination, and although I am reluctant to use this word, very slightly unpleasant. However there was a very pleasant walled garden there, and the riverside but not much else. I went back to Sunbury Cross, had a drink of water from the coöp and went back home. A mixed day.

No comments: