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Words and Photography by

Harry Hawkins

The London Loop - Leg 1

River Crane

September 2006

The London Loop Leg 1

Kingston Station to Hatton Cross Station

Saturday, 30th September, 2006


The London Loop is a 140 mile walk around London and is, roughly, just inside the M25 (although you do not see it) passing through as many green places as possible such as parks, woods, commons and riverside protected areas.


The West Essex Ramblers covered this in approximate 10 mile stretches over the winters of 2006/7 and 2007/8.


We followed the path using “The London Loop” by David Sharp, ISBN1854107593, £13 rrp.

Some commentary on the photos,

which is also a reflection on the walk

[Road information is just to help identify where we were].

All Saints Church (photo top left) is an historic church where many kings were crowned. On the board, outside the church, it says “For well over 1,000 years a church has stood on this site. In the year 902 King Edward the Elder was crowned here, as were most Saxon Kings after him. The old Saxon church was succeeded by a Norman church built in 1130. During the 14th century the nave was rebuilt. The chancel and the adjoining chapels were added in the 15th century. The tower, formerly surmounted by a wooded steeple, was rebuilt in 1708 and was extensively restored in 1973“.

The 'NEXT' building (top right) has a facade, added in 1909 and 1929, showing important people associated with Kingston namely King Edward the Elder, King Henry, Edward III, Queen Elizabeth I, King Aethelstan and King John, also Kings crowned nearby are quoted.

Then there is a view of the Thames from Kingston-upon-Thames bridge and finally, walking on around a few corners, there is the church of St John the Baptist in Church Grove close to an entrance of Bushy Park.


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01 25 ONE.jpg 04A 25 Kingston Bridge En2.jpg 03 25 THREE.jpg 06D 25 Bushy Park.JPG 06F 25 Bushy Park.JPG 06G 25 Bushy Park En.jpg 06J 25 Bushy Park En.jpg 08 25 EIGHT.jpg 06Q 25 Bushy Park En.jpg 10 25 TEN.jpg 11 25 ELEVEN.jpg 12 25 TWELVE.jpg 13 25 THIRTEEN.jpg 14E 25 Wrong Route En.JPG 14F 25 Wrong Route En.JPG 16 25 SIXTEEN.jpg 17B 25 R Crane En.JPG 18 25 Map Donkey Wood.JPG 19 25 NINETEEN.jpg 22 25 Air Craft En2.JPG

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Going back to Kingston-upon-Thames bridge, I think this is a nice view from the south  side(Surrey).

Bushy Park, which is a Royal Park and second in size to Richmond Park, is large and varied in its landscape design and is easily reached from Hampton Wick, Teddington and Hampton Court stations. We entered at its SE corner by Church Grove gate.

The photos start with a briefing, by our leader, about what to look for in the park and then we were marching across a grassy area. This was followed by a field of ferns. At noon, we stopped for elevenses protected by the shade of trees in the Oval Plantation.

Just below our elevenses stop was Leg of Mutton pond where anglers relaxed and a single Swan came past me on some apparently urgent business.

A water course, which was tree lined, led away from the pond and onto Heron Pond. We followed the path beside it.

A water pump is sited just right of Chestnut Avenue which runs north-south and divides the park roughly 60% to 40%.

These are roots of an unusual conifer – the Bald Cypress or Swamp Cypress (Taxodium distichum). It has roots projecting above ground which allow the plant to breath. (See Google Images for more pictures, type Swamp Cypress).

The map, just readable at the largest resolution, is followed by general photo’s of fungi; the Longford river, an ornamental canal (12 miles long) which taps the river Colne in Hertfordshire and was created by King Charles I in 1610; and a berried plant.

The park has lots of Fallow deer which roam freely (you are warned that they are WILD animals and should be treated with respect). Here, there are seven sitting down.

[We crossed the A313 to get from the park to the pub: next picture].

After leaving the park by Laurel Road gate, we walked a short way to the Roebuck pub (72 Hampton Road) where we ate our own sandwiches in a delightful small room in the rear garden. This was nice as it had started to rain a little (Pic 1). In the main bar we were surrounded by marine memorabilia and fishing tackle (Pic 2). Then some road walking, over a leafy railway line (Pic 3) and down beside a private golf course. (Pic 4).

There was more greenery, Fulwell Park, but then we had to walk along a few roads. [This included crossing the A305 & A316]. After we crossed the A316 we arrived in a field (top right), aiming for the river Crane and a bridge under the road. We then followed the river (last 2 photos).

Eventually we came to a Shot Tower where lead shot (gun ammunition) was made: molten lead was poured through a copper sieve at the top of the tower and by the time it had fallen into a water basin below the balls were perfectly spherical. Raindrops are similarly spherical, this is due to surface tension of the water. The last two pictures show the weir by the tower and a map (readable at largest resolution) of Crane Park Island Nature Reserve (formally part of Hounslow Gunpowder Mills).

Because of a camera fault I returned another day,using an OS map but without a definitive route of the Loop. Pictures numbered 13 -15, were taken on the WRONG side of the river, so are not on the London Loop ... although it was quite pleasant.

The pictures show a path squeezing past a tree; the river Crane; a common, then the river Crane again.

The river Crane in Autumn (not the London Loop).

A common which was enjoyable to walk on, but I got lost trying to get off of it (not the London Loop).

By not following the London Loop, I missed walking north, then crossing Hounslow Heath Nature Reserve.

Back on the London Loop and more views of the river Crane and a path through the trees parallel to it. We were beside the river for a long time.

[To get this far we crossed the A314 and a railway line].

Another one of many lovely views of the river – this time including a small weir.

Map of Donkey Wood, unfortunately suffering from scribbler's pen.

[Just after this we crossed the A315].

The Duke of Northumberland’s River followed by a weir before it feeds into the river Crane. A bridge over a ditch and a path paved with wooden slats, in a slightly boggy area, followed.

[Last crossing is the A312].

Approaching Hatton Cross, where we were still beside the river. The planes were low in the sky with their undercarriages down. From this location, there was not excessive aircraft noise, but this probably depends on the direction of the wind.

For the larger pictures, I've cropped the image and just left the plane.

[And then we were on the A30 walking to the Tube Station].

Click photos below for larger image