Shiplake path WILL open

In September last year I reported that the link path from Shiplake’s Mill Road to the towpath will be reopened following an inquiry.

Since then there has been an appeal by a landowner heard at the High Court.

The judges dismissed the application and today I have been told by Dave Ramm of the local Rambers’ Association that the path is now “secure as a public right of way”.

Oxford County Council can now make the path available for use and add waymarking. Eventually this will become part of the official Thames Path leaving the existing route from Mill Road to Shiplake Lock to become a short cut.

Further information on progress this summer will appear here soon.

See page 121.

Battersea’s Marco Polo may go

The Marco Polo building downstream of Chelsea Bridge is hardly noticed by walkers as the Thames Path has to go round the back of its neighbour Battersea Power Station.

Marco Polo House has stood on by the river for almost 25 years. For a time The Observer occupied part of the building.

According to a report in the Evening Standard there is  a proposal to demolish and replace it with stepped apartments.

See page 41.

Greenwich path closures

There is much concern about the riverside path between the Dome and Greenwich being closed with no diversion signs.

I walked the route on Saturday afternoon. It was a fantastic warm afternoon and all went well until after Bay Wharf. (This is an old boatyard which should reopen if plans are realised.)

Here at a T-junction you turn back to the river on an enclosed path. The way had been boarded up with no notices. However, yesterday the barrier had been partly dismantled and people were passing through.

I followed the path past the riverside trees and silos without a problem. Near Enderby’s Wharf there was another partly removed wooden barrier.

At Granite Wharf, where  a mill was excavated and Swanage’s Globe made, there is a diversion inland by way of Banning Street. The return is along Pelton Street on the far south side of Lovell’s Wharf redevelopment.

The great surprise is to find that the riverside path in front of the new Lovell’s flats has been planted over. The old route is regained at Ballast Wharf.

Peninsula Ward candidates in the Greenwich council elections are on to the case. Sitting Labour councillor Mary Mills is an expert on the riverside and has written the best local history so she is best placed to demand signposting and watch planning applications.

Green candidate Darryl Chamberlain has expressed concern about the blocked path at Lovell’s Wharf which is not due to open until 2012!

Feedback on opening and closing of the upstream path by contactors will be welcome.

FOOD: The Pelton Arms behind Lovell’s Wharf now finds itself on the Thames Path. It’s a good stop for food with a £3.50 meal deal. It also has a tiny shop The Pelton News selling quality papers.

It was no surprise to discover that the new visitor centre cafe in the Royal Naval College grounds had stopped serving tea at teatime -5pm. But the wonderful Rhodes bakery opposite the College gates was open and still happily serving tea and cake at 6pm.

Pages 16-18.