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Along the Thames: Hammersmith Bridge to Richmond Bridge

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Along the Thames: Hammersmith Bridge to Richmond Bridge
Author: NickC, Published: 06 Apr 2013 Walk rating : Rating:star1 iFootpath - walking guides and directions for the UKstar1 iFootpath - walking guides and directions for the UKstar1 iFootpath - walking guides and directions for the UKstar1 iFootpath - walking guides and directions for the UKstar1 iFootpath - walking guides and directions for the UK
London, Hammersmith
Walk Type: Long distance path
Along the Thames: Hammersmith Bridge to Richmond Bridge
Length: 7 miles,  Difficulty: boot iFootpath - walking guides and directions for the UK
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This pleasant stroll along London's river takes you from the outer edge of the western part of the city into the beginnings of suburbia, although hugging the edge of the water means you may not notice until you get there. Although nearly seven miles, this is an easy walk, with plenty to see along the way, taking in a section of the Thames Path National Trail. Some of the features along the way include a river lock, Syon House and the site of the original Meridian. Allow a good three hours to complete. It is also a linear walk, although public transport connections are excellent, and follows made up path along its stretch. The walk will appeal to both the born Londoner and the out of towner, as taking the time to amble through the city is often the best way to really appreciate some of what it has to offer.

The easiest way to get to the start point is via the tube, arriving at Hammersmith station on the Piccadilly or District lines. Cross under the Hammersmith Flyover and cross over the bridge via Hammersmith Bridge Road. The walk starts immediately the other side (nearest postcode SW13 9QT). Richmond is also on the tube (District Line only), from where it's seven stops back to Hammersmith.

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Walk Sections

Start to Barnes Bridge
Start to Barnes Bridge

Start point: 51.4877 lat, -0.231 long
End point: 51.4722 lat, -0.2529 long

Head west (right if you have your back to the river), following the clearly defined towpath, leaving Hammersmith Bridge behind you. This bridge was built in the 1820s by William Tierney Clark, who also built Marlow Bridge further along the Thames (which, as it happens, is also exactly the same as the bridge linking Buda and Pest in the Hungarian capital). The river bends south west, past the grounds of St. Paul's School, with Chiswick partially visible across the water, obscured by Chiswick Eyot (one of the names used for an island in the Thames).

There's a disused reservoir to your left as you follow the path down to Lonsdale Road onto the Terrace. Look out for house number 10 - this is where Sir Gustav Holst lived when he was writing The Planets suite (most of it was written in the main bedroom in fact), Cross the road and follow the pavement down to Barnes Bridge

Barnes Bridge to Kew Bridge
Barnes Bridge to Kew Bridge

Start point: 51.4722 lat, -0.2529 long
End point: 51.4862 lat, -0.2871 long

Pass under Barnes Bridge, shortly after which the road diverts away from the river and along the Mortlake waterfront. Pass the finishing post for the annual Oxford v. Cambridge Boat Race to pass under Chiswick Bridge, after which there are some boat houses on the opposite bank.

The river now strikes out in a north westerly direction, passing some drainage works before coming to the Public Records Office. Pass under a railway bridge (carrying the District Line, this may be your view on the way back) and look out for Oliver's Island in the middle of the river. Opposite is Strand on the Green. As the bend in the river flattens out you come to Kew Bridge.

Kew Bridge to Isleworth Ait
Kew Bridge to Isleworth Ait

Start point: 51.4862 lat, -0.2871 long
End point: 51.4688 lat, -0.3186 long

If the end of the previous section lacked a little in greenery, don't worry, you will be repaid in spades along this next section, which follows the edge of both Kew Gardens and the Old Deer Park. Leave Kew Bridge behind you (although it's a little known fact that it was re-named Edward VII Bridge when the King opened the current bridge in 1903, although the name never quite stuck), and take note of the various islands in the river, including Brentford Ait (another name for an island here).

Before long, you are walking by Kew Palace and Kew Gardens. The latter are formally known as the Royal Botanical Gardens and were founded in 1759 by Princess Augusta, who was also responsible for the iconic pagoda. As the river begins to dip south, by Kew Observatory, look out for the old meridian marked by a line in the ground and by a run of obelisks leading up to the Observatory. These mark the line used to mark time before Greenwich Mean Time was introduced. On the opposite bank lies Syon House, home of the Duke of Northumberland, shortly after which you come to Isleworth Ait in the river, with its riverside pavilion.

Isleworth Ait to Richmond Bridge
Isleworth Ait to Richmond Bridge

Start point: 51.4688 lat, -0.3186 long
End point: 51.4581 lat, -0.3063 long

After Isleworth Ait, the river bends south east, still running alongside the Old Deer Park, which is marked here by trees. Half way between the bend and Twickenham Bridge, which you should now be able to see, is Richmond Lock, the first (or last, depending on your direction) lock on the river. This saves Richmond from a draining away of water during low tides.

Cross the old meridian again, and after Twickenham Bridge and another railway bridge, you begin to enter Richmond. Continue along the landing stage and its various boats (and if you're lucky ice cream and drinks vendors), until you reach Richmond Bridge and the end of the walk. To get to the railway station, head left up Hill Street, which becomes George Street and then the Quadrant. The station is on your right.

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Text and images for this walk are Copyright © 2013 by the author NickC and may not be reproduced without permission.

The information in this guide has been provided in good faith and is intended only as a guide, not a statement of fact. You are advised to check the accuracy of the information provided and should not use this guide for navigational directions nor should you rely on the accuracy of the weather forecast. You are advised to take appropriate clothing, footwear, equipment and navigational materials with you according to the current and possible weather and nature of the terrain. Always follow the country code and follow any additional warnings or instructions that may be available. Some walks may be very strenuous and you are advised to seek medical advice if you have any doubts as to your capability to complete the walk.

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