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

Thames Path – Richmond to Hampton Court

A walk along the Richmond to Hampton Court section of the Thames Path, on 24 March 2018.

Thames Path - Richmond to Hampton Court

I started off by calling in at the Museum of Richmond, a small free local museum which has good model of the long-gone Richmond Palace as well as the usual local museum things.

Then it was time to head down to the riverbank.

Thames Path - Richmond to Hampton Court

The Thames Path follows the side of the river all the way today.

Thames Path - Richmond to Hampton Court

You would have to try hard to get lost on this section of the Thames Path.

Thames Path - Richmond to Hampton Court

The Twickenham ferry shuttles back and forth.

Thames Path - Richmond to Hampton Court

The constant stream of aircraft taking off from Heathrow ensures that you know that you are in the suburbs of London rather than the countryside.

Thames Path - Richmond to Hampton Court

The 17th century Duke and Duchess of Lauderdale’s Ham House comes into view.

Thames Path - Richmond to Hampton Court

Eel Pie Island.

Thames Path - Richmond to Hampton Court

Teddington, and time for a short diversion over the suspension bridge to the pub.

Thames Path - Richmond to Hampton Court

The pub sign used to show the Dunkirk evacuation, which was perhaps a more interesting choice than the current picture of some boats.

Thames Path - Richmond to Hampton Court

Meanwhile next door, there is no fishing at The Anglers.

Thames Path - Richmond to Hampton Court

A stuffed Wallace on a fence.

Thames Path - Richmond to Hampton Court

To be honest, this section of the Thames Path was a bit disappointing. Tree, river, house, river, tree.

Thames Path - Richmond to Hampton Court

There were people out rowing and canoeing…

Thames Path - Richmond to Hampton Court

… although the biggest rowing event of the day was further downstream.

Thames Path - Richmond to Hampton Court

Unlike Richmond, Kingston isn’t really a river-focused kind of place.

Thames Path - Richmond to Hampton Court

The Thames Path crosses the river at Kingston to follow the north bank (only) for the first time. Until now it had been on the south or both banks. As a result, this is probably the only point on today’s route where it would be possible to take a wrong turning.

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A church.

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I had imagined that the section from Kingston to Hampton Court would have views of Hampton Court Palace, but you just see the wall and then fence…

IMG_4898

…until right at the very end.

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The end is in sight.

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With a detour to have a quick look at the palace.

Thames Path - Richmond to Hampton Court

Only 147 miles to go to reach the source!

Thames Path - Richmond to Hampton Court

Thames Path – Putney to Richmond

A walk along the section of the Thames Path National Trail, heading upstream from Putney to Richmond, on 11 March 2018.

Thames Path - Putney to Richmond

It turned out that the annual Head of The River Race rowing competition was underway, so there were lots of boats on the river, and hundreds of spectators on the path between Putney and Mortlake.

Thames Path - Putney to Richmond

My only experince of rowing is watching the Boat Race, so it was quite strange to see so many people who were out on the banks of the River Thames for the actual sport rather than just for the beer…

Thames Path - Putney to Richmond

Apparently the race was a dead heat.

Thames Path - Putney to Richmond

This section of the Thames Path path follows the river bank all the way, with no diversions around blocks of flats, building sites or gravel handling facilities.

Thames Path - Putney to Richmond

There is the option to follow either either bank of the river, but the general consensus in the guide books seemed to be that the south side is the better choice, so that is the one I went for. It is also not insignficantly shorter, thanks both to the curvature of the river and following the bank more closely.

Thames Path - Putney to Richmond

There is little risk of geting lost on this section of the Thames Path, even without signposting.

Thames Path - Putney to Richmond

Not far before Kew Bridge is a pair of sound mirrors. They are not quite as impressive as the listening ears at Dungeness in Kent.

Sound mirrors - Kew

Passing the Royal Botanical Gardens at Kew.

Thames Path - Putney to Richmond

A view to Syon House on the opposite bank of the river.

Thames Path - Putney to Richmond

Much of the route is lined with trees, although aircraft heading for Heathrow airport are rarely out of earshot.

Thames Path - Putney to Richmond
A pink building on a grey day.

Thames Path - Putney to Richmond

Richmond comes into view.

Thames Path - Putney to Richmond

That’s a more stylish way to travel. Lilian is a motor yacht built 1916 by Pettersson in Stockholm.

Thames Path - Putney to Richmond

Richmond is reached. I had planned to keep going on along the river to Kingston, but this seemed far enough for one day.

Thames Path - Putney to Richmond