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Brentford to Marble Hill House

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Brentford to Marble Hill House
Author: John+Gallop, Published: 23 Mar 2015 Walk rating : Rating:star0 iFootpath - walking guides and directions for the UKstar0 iFootpath - walking guides and directions for the UKstar0 iFootpath - walking guides and directions for the UKstar0 iFootpath - walking guides and directions for the UKstar0 iFootpath - walking guides and directions for the UK
London, Brentford
Walk Type: History trail
Brentford to Marble Hill House
Length: 5 miles,  Difficulty: boot iFootpath - walking guides and directions for the UK
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This linear walk goes from the little town of Brentford, where the Brent River meets the Thames, along the Thames Path to Twickenham. It passes Syon House and Marble Hill House with views of Ham House across the river, a reminder of the time when this stretch of the river was home to many grand houses.

This route starts on Brentford High Street. For public transport access from central London travel from Waterloo to Syon Lane Station or go to Hammersmith by tube and then catch the 267 bus. The walk finishes at St Margarets Station from where you can make your onward journey.

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Walk Sections

Start to Railshead Road
Start to Railshead Road

Start point: 51.4819 lat, -0.3139 long
End point: 51.4652 lat, -0.3231 long

From the Brent Lea bus stop, walk about 50m west and turn down a pedestrian path between brick walls, signposted to Syon House. On the left, as the path turns right, you have views into the Syon House garden with its large glass dome of the Great Conservatory.

This dates from around 1830 and was one of the first to be built from iron and glass. Syon House remains in private hands. The heart of the building is a medieval great hall, but in the 1760s Robert Adam was involved in redesigning the interior which is very lavish and in the neo-classical style (i.e. way over the top). The whole estate is contained within a rather dreary four-square battlemented exterior. There are refreshment opportunities within the garden centre next to the house.

Follow the path just to the right of the brick wall. Off to the right is the parkland remaining from the original Syon Estate. Behind the wall, in the grounds of the house, are buried the hidden remains of the abbey, dissolved in 1538.

Leave the park, turning left to follow the bank of the River Thames upstream towards the iconic London Apprentice pub. The street leading into Old Isleworth itself is lined with interesting old buildings. All Saints Church has an ancient tower and a more modern chancel.

The road crosses a small bridge over the Duke of Northumberland's River, a 16th century artificial watercourse dug to improve the flow to watermills in this area. After the bridge, turn left to rejoin the Thames and continue along the riverbank until the Capital Ring signs instruct you to turn inland. At a small roundabout turn left along Richmond Road and then turn left down Railshead Road.

Railshead Road to Glover's Island
Railshead Road to Glover's Island

Start point: 51.4652 lat, -0.3231 long
End point: 51.45 lat, -0.3063 long

Go down Railshead Road and then follow the towpath which will take you past Richmond Lock. The name Railshead has nothing to do with trains but dates from at least the 15th century and refers to the stakes (or rails) at the head of a weir. Richmond Lock is a kind of tidal weir which can be raised and lowered depending on the tide and flow conditions. You can cross over to join the towpath on the other side of the river or continue ahead.

The towpath continues under Twickenham Bridge (A316) and a railway bridge and then passes the closed ends of suburban cul-de-sacs and riverside villas until the path reaches Bridge Street. Cross straight over Bridge Street and follow the slipway down to the right of Richmond Bridge.

Further along, continue past an island within the Thames, Glover's Island. It is named after the cartographer who drew the 1635 map of Twickenham, Brentford and Isleworth. Also note the bat friendly street lighting and the hand-made raft on which someone has been living for at least the past 20 years.

Glover's Island to End
Glover's Island to End

Start point: 51.45 lat, -0.3063 long
End point: 51.4553 lat, -0.32 long

To the right you will soon see Marble Hill House. This little gem of a house is a Palladian style villa built in the 1720s by Henrietta Howard, who helped to make Twickenham famous for intellectual society, being a friend of both Horace Walpole and Alexander Pope. She had also been mistress of the Prince of Wales before he became George II.

If your taste for stately homes is not yet sated you can always take Hammerton's Ferry (walkers, bikes and dogs carried) from here across to Ham House, an iconic 17th century stately home.

Cross over the road through the gate into Orleans House Gardens. Follow the path around to the right of the art gallery then ahead to the North Stables where there is a very nice cafe. Leave the cafe by taking the path next to the school playing field, emerging through a small wrought iron gate onto Orleans Road. Turn left and continue to the end of Orleans Road, past a pleasing variety of terraced houses and cottages.

Turn right and almost immediately left and continue down Crown Road to St Margarets Station where this walk ends. (Alternatively you can catch buses towards Richmond or Twickenham and all points beyond in Richmond Road.)

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Text and images for this walk are Copyright © 2015 by the author Gallop 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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