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Richmond and Twickenham Thames Circuit

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Richmond and Twickenham Thames Circuit
Author: Gallop, Published: 21 Jun 2016 Walk rating : Rating:star1 Richmond and Twickenham Thames Circuit Walking Guidestar1 Richmond and Twickenham Thames Circuit Walking Guidestar1 Richmond and Twickenham Thames Circuit Walking Guidestar1 Richmond and Twickenham Thames Circuit Walking Guidestar1 Richmond and Twickenham Thames Circuit Walking Guide
London,
Walk Type: River or lakeside
Richmond and Twickenham Thames Circuit
Length: 5 miles,  Difficulty: boot Richmond and Twickenham Thames Circuit Walking Guide
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This walk starts and ends at St. Margarets train station, 20 minutes from Clapham Junction. The route is almost entirely on the level, on tarmac surfaces, but you will need to negotiate some steps. It takes in a section of the Thames Path and a brief stretch of the Capital Ring. The walk is mainly along the banks of the Thames, with short excursions to Richmond Green, Orleans Gardens, Montpelier Row and Marble Hill Park. There are lots of refreshment stops available.

St. Margarets station is on the Teddington loop line from Waterloo, with trains every 15 minutes in daytime, the journey taking about 30 minutes. Buses from Richmond bus station (Number 37) to St. Margarets are frequent.

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Walk Sections

St. Margarets Station to Rosslyn Road

Start point: 51.4553 lat, -0.32 long
End point: 51.4543 lat, -0.3169 long

Cross the main road outside the station and turn right, passing on the left the ugly clutter of buildings that is Twickenham Studios, still active after more than 100 years, and responsible for many past iconic films including ‘The Italian Job’, the Beatles’ films and ‘Blade Runner’. Take the third left, Rosslyn Road.

Rosslyn Road to Thames Path
Rosslyn Road to Thames Path

Start point: 51.4543 lat, -0.3169 long
End point: 51.4579 lat, -0.316 long

Turn left again into Arlington Road and then bear left into Arlington Close. At the end of this close take the footpath which goes ahead, alongside a railway line, emerging onto the towpath of the Thames.

Thames Path to Richmond Lock
Thames Path to Richmond Lock

Start point: 51.4579 lat, -0.316 long
End point: 51.4619 lat, -0.3179 long

Turn left and follow the towpath under a railway bridge and then under Twickenham Bridge, continuing beside the river to Richmond Lock. This 19th century structure is a tidal lock, its Victorian mechanism still in use, which can be raised or lowered to control the river level above it. Climb the footbridge over the lock and turn right along the opposite towpath towards Richmond town centre.

Richmond Lock to Richmond Palace
Richmond Lock to Richmond Palace

Start point: 51.4619 lat, -0.3179 long
End point: 51.4602 lat, -0.3123 long

The path borders Old Deer Park and behind you, on the edge of the park is historic Kew Observatory, in a golf course adjacent to Kew Gardens. The obelisk in Old Deer Park, one of three still remaining, was used for aligning the observatory’s telescopes along a meridian. You walk back under the same two bridges that you passed previously before reaching Asgill House (with a famous copper beech tree in its garden, heavily pollarded now, but visible in George Hilditch’s 1830s painting). This restored 18th century house is built on part of the site of Richmond Palace, built by Henry VII from 1501.

Richmond Palace to Richmond Green
Richmond Palace to Richmond Green

Start point: 51.4602 lat, -0.3123 long
End point: 51.4592 lat, -0.3093 long

Continue along the towpath to take the next road on the left up Friars Lane, past a car park, following along the border of the site of Richmond Palace, to emerge onto Richmond Green. Turn left along the edge of the green and after 50 metres, you see to your left the Gate House, one of the few surviving structures of the Palace. The large open space of the Green has a cricket pitch in the middle and is surrounded by grand private houses as well as Richmond Theatre but is noisily over flown by the flight path into Heathrow airport. This is a good place for a refreshment stop at any of several pubs and cafes within sight of the Green. When you've had enough of the pubs or the planes return to the river bank.

Richmond Green to Richmond Bridge
Richmond Green to Richmond Bridge

Start point: 51.4592 lat, -0.3093 long
End point: 51.4576 lat, -0.3062 long

Continue along the river past the popular but disneyesque Richmond Riverside development and passing under one archway of Richmond Bridge (the oldest surviving Thames bridge in London). An adjacent archway houses Tide Tables cafe. Just on the other side of the bridge turn left up steps towards the memorial to Bernardo O'Higgins. He was at school in Richmond and later became a leading nationalist in Chile’s struggle for independence from Spain. Turn left and then left again to take the road across the bridge.

Richmond Bridge to Twickenham Towpath
Richmond Bridge to Twickenham Towpath

Start point: 51.4576 lat, -0.3062 long
End point: 51.449 lat, -0.3086 long

Don't miss the stone steps on the far side of the river leading you down to a slipway. Continue your riverside journey on the towpath heading up river, with the river now running on your left. At high tide you may have to go beyond the steps to join the path. Watch out for parked cars inundated on the slipway. Although there are warnings clearly displayed the river level rises very fast and catches out many car drivers, much to the entertainment of the locals. Ahead are excellent views across Petersham Meadow (home to an urban herd of cows) and to the left Richmond Hill and Park rise up on a river terrace. The large brick building on-top of the hill is the former Star and Garter home for wounded veterans, now waiting to be turned into very expensive flats. The view from Richmond Hill along the Thames is protected against suburban development and encroachment by an act of parliament passed in 1902.

Twickenham Towpath to Orleans Gallery
Twickenham Towpath to Orleans Gallery

Start point: 51.449 lat, -0.3086 long
End point: 51.447 lat, -0.3158 long

Just past the still uninhabited Glover's Island is one small piece of residential development, a 'house raft', a collection of homemade floating islands on which a local man has lived for several decades. His empire includes floating duck ponds and small gardens. On the opposite bank notice the seventeenth century Ham House, now belonging to the National Trust. On the Twickenham bank your path passes a small white gem of a house, a ’Palladian villa’. This is Marble Hill House, set in its own park, originally built in the 1720s and lived in by Henrietta Howard, Countess of Suffolk, the mistress of King George II. Our route will loop back around the house later. Remain on the towpath as you pass Hammerton's Ferry, still running daily in summer and at weekends in winter, which takes foot passengers, dogs and bikes across to Ham House and the Thames towpath on the other side. Shortly the path leaves the river bank to meet a road.

Orleans Gallery to Marble Hill Park
Orleans Gallery to Marble Hill Park

Start point: 51.447 lat, -0.3158 long
End point: 51.4483 lat, -0.3174 long

Cross directly ahead and go through a gate into the grounds of Orleans Gallery. The brick-built building ahead of you belongs to the local council and is all that remains of a much larger house, another Palladian villa, demolished in 1926, prior to digging gravel from this site. The plan was stopped but only the Octagon Room and a small wing of the house were saved. The surviving building is used for art exhibitions. Behind it are the former stables, a space used for art and craft activities, also housing toilets and an excellent cafe, Karmarama. Next to the cafe entrance turn right on a path through woods which reaches a wrought iron gate in a wall. Emerge carefully onto a road, turning left to walk up Orleans Rd. This is a narrow street of charming small houses of all periods, only spoiled by parked cars on the pavement and a row of nasty lock-up garages. After about 200 metres turn right into Chapel Road which leads through to a very grand street, Montpelier Row, a Georgian terrace. Maybe the people in the small houses were originally there to service the needs of those in the grand terrace? Turn right down the terrace to notice a modern house, sympathetically inserted into the terrace and then at the end, a huge private house (South End) overlooking Marble Hill Park. This has a blue plaque recording that Walter de la Mare (poet laureate) lived here in the 1930s. Retrace your steps back to Orleans Road, turn left along this then in 100 metres turn left again into Marble Hill Park. Walk straight ahead past Marble Hill House (the tiny Palladian villa) then go left at the junction of paths to leave the park to reach a junction with Richmond Road.

Marble Hill Park to End
Marble Hill Park to End

Start point: 51.4483 lat, -0.3174 long
End point: 51.4538 lat, -0.3164 long

Turn left along Richmond Road. From here cross over right into Sandycombe Road, an old suburban street running the gamut of Victorian house styles, from small terraced workers’ cottages to large villas for the middle classes. Just before a T-junction there is a largish white house on the right, almost overgrown by yew trees and looking slightly neglected. This was the home, dating from 1813, designed and lived in by JMW Turner. It is open to the public irregularly and restoration is underway. At the T-junction with St. Margarets Road, turn left and walk another 300 metres to return to the train station.

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Text and images for this walk are Copyright © 2016 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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