Thames Path – Windsor to Maidenhead

A walk along the River Thames from Windsor to Maidenhand, on 12 May 2018.

Windsor was getting ready for the royal wedding of Prince Harry and Ms Meghan Markle at St George’s Chapel a week later.

Thames Path - Windsor to Maidenhead

Thames Path - Windsor to Maidenhead

Thames Path - Windsor to Maidenhead

The weather started to get a bit ropey. Maybe travelling by boat would have been a better option today.

Thames Path - Windsor to Maidenhead

Eton College’s (former?) Athens bathing area. Guidebooks flag this up as a point of interest, but it’s not that exciting; maybe it is more interesting for old Etonians.

Thames Path - Windsor to Maidenhead

Thames Path - Windsor to Maidenhead

Thames Path - Windsor to Maidenhead

A nice little church by the river.

Thames Path - Windsor to Maidenhead

Thames Path - Windsor to Maidenhead Thames Path - Windsor to Maidenhead

Continuing along the leafy footpath.
Thames Path - Windsor to Maidenhead

Thames Path - Windsor to Maidenhead

Thames Path - Windsor to Maidenhead

An organised event seemed to be heading in the opposite direction.

Thames Path - Windsor to Maidenhead

That doesn’t look good.

Thames Path - Windsor to Maidenhead

Thames Path – Weybridge to Windsor

A walk along the Thames Path from Weybridge to Windsor, on 7 April 2018.

This section of the path gets off to an exciting start, with the Shepperton ferry. My previous walk had ended short of the target when the river was too fast-flowing for the ferry to operate, but this time I phoned in advance to check that it was running.

Thames Path - Weybridge to Windsor

A ferry service has operated here for around 500 years, albeit with a gap from the 1960s. It runs every 15 minutes, costs £2.50 single, and it only takes a few seconds.1

Thames Path - Weybridge to Windsor

The Thames Path returns to dry land, and then follows one or other bank of the river for almost all of its route to Windsor.

Thames Path - Weybridge to Windsor

It was a gloriously sunny May bank holiday Monday, and a lot of people were out on the river…

Thames Path - Weybridge to Windsor

…or buying ice cream ashore.

Thames Path - Weybridge to Windsor

There were lots of boats on the river, some with silly names.

Thames Path - Weybridge to Windsor

Boats crusing along the river.

Thames Path - Weybridge to Windsor

Thames Path - Weybridge to Windsor

Dumsey Meadow is a Site of Special Scientific Interest and apparently the only undeveloped water meadow on the Thames downstream from Caversham.

Thames Path - Weybridge to Windsor

Next comes Chertsey Bridge.

1783-85. Architect James Paine. The least altered of his Thames bridges. Five principal segmental arches centre widest, with flanking single flood arches in slight breaks. Drip over arches. Coursed and dressed rubble with band at base of ashlar parapet, cornice above. Cast-iron panels in parapet over spandrels and breakwaters (pointed in plan with round tops at springing of arches). Numerous tie rods. 1930s lamps.2

Thames Path - Weybridge to Windsor

A brief stop at the Kingfisher pub, then onwards to the somewhat less pretty M3 motorway bridge.

Thames Path - Weybridge to Windsor

Boatyards always seem a lot more picturesque than other types of industrial sites.

Thames Path - Weybridge to Windsor

A – well, what is it? – with the City of London arms.

Thames Path - Weybridge to Windsor

A typical view along this stretch of the Thames.

Thames Path - Weybridge to Windsor

Old boats often seem prettier than newer ones.

Thames Path - Weybridge to Windsor

Thames Path - Weybridge to Windsor

The lock keeper’s house at Penton Hook Lock.

Thames Path - Weybridge to Windsor

Boats using sail power.

Thames Path - Weybridge to Windsor

Plane, train and boats at Staines. Or Staines-upon-Thames as it now is. No-one mention Ali G.

Thames Path - Weybridge to Windsor

Thames Path - Weybridge to Windsor

A type 4d coal duty post next to the railway.
Thames Path - Weybridge to Windsor

The Swanmaster statue, by Diana Thomson. Unveiled by the Mayor of Spelthorne on 4 November 2014.3

Thames Path - Weybridge to Windsor

A replica of the London Stone which once marked the limits of the City of London’s rights on the river. The original is now in the Spelthorne Museum.

Thames Path - Weybridge to Windsor

The Thames Path crosses the river, and at the other end of the bridge there is another coal tax post, this time a type 2* with a correction plate

Thames Path - Weybridge to Windsor

Thames Path - Weybridge to Windsor

Thames Path - Weybridge to Windsor

Passing under the M25 orbital motorway at Runnymede Bridge; the path finally leaves everything which might in some very informal sense be seen as “London”.

Thames Path - Weybridge to Windsor

Thames Path - Weybridge to Windsor

Thames Path - Weybridge to Windsor

“…the memorable Charta, known as Magna Charter on account of the Latin Magna (great) and Charter (a Charter); this was the first of the famous Chartas and Gartas of the Realm and was invented by the Barons on a desert island and in the Thames called Ganymede”, as the book 1066 & All That put it.4

Thames Path - Weybridge to Windsor

“Magna Charter was therefore the chief cause of Democracy in England, and thus a Good Thing for everyone (except the Common People)”.

Thames Path - Weybridge to Windsor

Thames Path - Weybridge to Windsor

Thames Path - Weybridge to Windsor

Some queens.

Thames Path - Weybridge to Windsor

Thames Path - Weybridge to Windsor

Thames Path - Weybridge to Windsor

That’s good to know.
Thames Path - Weybridge to Windsor

Mind the gap.

Thames Path - Weybridge to Windsor

Albert Bridge, I wonder what the next bridge will be called?

Thames Path - Weybridge to Windsor

The Thames Path diverts away from the river briefly at Datchet.

Thames Path - Weybridge to Windsor

And Windsor is reached. Had the Normans known where Heathrow airport was going to be, they might have rethought the location of the castle.

Thames Path - Weybridge to Windsor

Thames Path – Hampton Court to Weybridge

A walk along the Thames Path from Hampton Court to Weybridge, on 31 March 2018.

The Thames Path leaves Greater London at Hampton Court bridge, and river crossings are now further apart than before. This was the first genuinely new section of the path for me, as I hadn’t walked any of today’s route before. Here be dragons?

Thames Path - Hampton Court to Weybridge

Today was a bit damp, with light rain following on from heavy rain yesterday. The river was pretty high, and suprisingly fast-flowing. Which would become a bit of a problem later…

Thames Path - Hampton Court to Weybridge

I’ve been surprised at just how many rowers I’ve seen from the tow path.

Thames Path - Hampton Court to Weybridge

There are some distinctive houseboats on this stretch of the Thames, perhaps more floating houses than boats made into houses.

Thames Path - Hampton Court to Weybridge

Thames Path - Hampton Court to Weybridge

A rowing sculpture near another boat house.

Thames Path - Hampton Court to Weybridge

The Hampton Ferry doesn’t run at this time of year, not that it would be much use for following the Thames Path if it did.

Thames Path - Hampton Court to Weybridge

Port Hampton on Platt’s Eyot has some interesting buildings, where military motor boats were once built, and with the tower and cranes looks a bit like something from a model railway layout (without the trains).

Thames Path - Hampton Court to Weybridge

Thames Path - Hampton Court to Weybridge

It might not be spring weather, but the daffodils are starting to appear.

Thames Path - Hampton Court to Weybridge

Thames Path - Hampton Court to Weybridge

Some wartime anti-tank cubes and a hairpin rail.

Thames Path - Hampton Court to Weybridge

Thames Path - Hampton Court to Weybridge

Thames Path - Hampton Court to Weybridge

And a type 1 coal tax post: number 97 on this list of them all.

Thames Path - Hampton Court to Weybridge

Thames Path - Hampton Court to Weybridge

Sunbury Lock.
Thames Path - Hampton Court to Weybridge

Thames Path - Hampton Court to Weybridge

Thames Path - Hampton Court to Weybridge

And time for a quick one at The Wier.

Thames Path - Hampton Court to Weybridge

A wave from the crew of a baby narrow boat.

Thames Path - Hampton Court to Weybridge

Riverside buildings.

Thames Path - Hampton Court to Weybridge

Feeding the birds.
Thames Path - Hampton Court to Weybridge

Boats for sale. This could have come in handy later…

Thames Path - Hampton Court to Weybridge

There is no risk of getting lost today – simply follow the river bank.

Thames Path - Hampton Court to Weybridge

Walton Bridge hasa complicated history, being the sixth bridge here since the first was built in 1750.

Thames Path - Hampton Court to Weybridge

D’Oyly Carte Island.

Thames Path - Hampton Court to Weybridge

Quite an ambitious set of directions; turn left for Stranraer and Galway, or right for Nice.

Thames Path - Hampton Court to Weybridge

Oh bother.

FERRY NOT RUNNING TODAY DUE TO RIVER BEING IN FLOOD!!

Admittedly the river clearly was very flast flowing, although there were some boats out. Time to sit down on the nearby bench, eat my sandwiches and study the map to decide what to do next.

Thames Path - Hampton Court to Weybridge

The only option is to return the same way I came as far back as Walton Bridge, cross the river there, and then take the Thames Path alternative route along roads to rejoin the main path. But that is quite a long walk to end up only a short distance in a straight line from here. And it looks like it might rain again. And only a mile or so away there is a station with fast trains back to London. What to do?

Aha, just around the corner is the answer to that question. The section of the path Staines will have to wait for another – drier – day.

Thames Path - Hampton Court to Weybridge

And next time, I will check whether the ferry is running before setting off.

Thames Path - Hampton Court to Weybridge

Croydon crucifixion

The “Walk of Witness” event in Croydon on Good Friday, 30 March 2018.

Croydon crucifixion

There was an outdoor service including a mock crucifixion, then a parade up the main shopping street with “dead” Jesus being wheeled on a trolley behind a lady banging a drum and accompanied by crosses, clerics and a crowd of religious types – and lots of people trying to get past. All good fun.

Croydon crucifixion