Downstream — Trip 6

On the previous trip I walked from Bourne End to Staines. Staines is pretty easy to reach by a direct train from London Waterloo. Normally I would walk on a Saturday, but this time I walked on a Sunday because the weather on Saturday was rubbish, and I don't like walking in the rain.

Day 8 — Staines to Teddington Lock

Downstream — Day 8

Luckily, the weather had all cleared up on Sunday, and I started in Staines on another beautiful morning. It was cold when I left home in the morning, and I had actually brought a coat. Instead of the coat, I should have brought my sunglasses, as the Sun warmed me up quickly. The coat went not soon after I set of walking in earnest, as I was getting sweaty.

It was quite quiet in Staines, with only few people walking their dogs, running, and cycling. There were a lot of posh houses along the Thames on this stretch.

After walking past a new built house called "Downstream" (coincidence?) I arrived at a point where I could either take a detour along the River Wey Navigation, or take the ferry to the other bank of the Thames and continue my journey there. The Nauticalia Ferry from Shepperton to Weybridge goes once every 15 minutes, and has been in operation for about 500 years, with a short break in the eighties. The choice was easy, and after buying my £2.50 ticket I didn't have to wait long for it to set off and ferry me, and a couple with a dog, across.

Just before I arrived in Walton-on-Thames I "ran into" a bunch of people running a marathon. There was even a sign congratulating a runner with their 100th marathon. I think I'll stick to walking…

For lunch I stopped at The Swan in Walton, and sat in its garden to enjoy my fish and chips, and a half. It was still a little early and I spend a little too much time relaxing and sitting in the Sun.

A little further the Thames passes close along a few massive reservoirs, which feed into the water supply of Greater London. Slightly annoyingly, their border is a massive stone wall — and I even had to cross some tank barriers.

There was another tiny ferry at Hampton, which I ignored. Instead I crossed the Thames near Hampton Court Palace, where I walked into the forecourt to smooch and take some photos. I visited the palace with my parents a few years ago, but it is so massive that you really need a full day to visit it all. I certainly didn't have the time for that, and continued along the Thames Path. Between Hampton Court Palace and Kingston, there is a quite wide path/walking area, The Barge Walk, with at the beginning lots of flower banks.

At Kingston upon Thames I crossed the Thames for the last time on today's walk. I continued through Canberry Gardens and a little section along a raised road. Just after coming back onto a footpath my way was blocked by a massive blown-over tree. There was no way to climb over it, so I made my way up the steep bank towards the road, move 20 meters downstream, and then slide back onto the footpath. I think the tree recently blew over, as its brilliant yellow leaves hadn't fallen off yet.

I finished my walk at Teddington Lock, but not after wandering around the lock's island for a while. There are three lock gates at Teddington, instead of the usual one (or two) lock gates. I also always thought that Teddington Lock was the last (or first) lock on the Thames, but I failed to realise that there is one further downstream at Richmond as well. However, the one at Teddington is the last full lock. Beyond Teddington Lock the river Thames is tidal, and the lock at Richmond only operates on low tide—more about that in the next instalment.

After wandering around the lock, I crossed a few bridges, and made my way to Teddington station for my train back into Waterloo. Curiously, as Teddington is situated on the Kingston Loop Line, you can catch the train to Waterloo from either of its two platforms.


Photos from my Adventure on the Thames Path are available on Flickr, and all videos on Vimeo. You can also see all the photos on a map.

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