Visit Kelmscott House invitation

The curator of Kelmscott House in London would like us to visit.
The December issue of South East Walker has a plea from the curator inviting walkers to drop in to William Morris’s house at Hammersmith on a Thursday, Friday or Saturday afternoon 2-5pm. There is no admission charge.
Kelmscott House was William Morris’s London home. Several days upstream is his country home Kelmscott Manor.
Although the Thames Path is officially on both banks in central London it is the south side which is most used as this is where the towpath is.
However, if you want to see Morris’s London house you can cross Hammersmith Bridge and take the north bank. After calling in continue upstream to cross back at Barnes Bridge.
Pages 52 and 189.

Jubilee Greenway markers on Thames Path

Jubilee Greenway Jubilee Greenway markers are appearing in the ground on the first twenty miles of the Thames Path.

Indeed they start a little downstream of the Thames Barrier at Woolwich Ferry.

People were talking about them at Southwark Cathedral last weekend having seen one outside.

The Jubilee Greenway is inspired by the Silver Jubilee Walkway so the markers are decorated with a version of the 1977 Jubilee logo. The route leads to and from the Olympic Park where the original Greenway running along the top of  a sewage pipe is found.

There is much excitement about new markers in Rotherhithe where the new trail (and Thames Path) at King’s Stairs would be obliterated if Thames Water’s plans for a workstation are approved.

Countryfile on the Thames at Pangbourne

Sunday night’s Countryfile on BBC1 had some film of Matt Baker canoeing on the river at Pangbourne.

It included some brief of upstream Child Beale Wildlife Park which walkers miss as the Thames Path makes a rare detour up a hill and through Hartslock Wood.

The programme always breaks up its reports so we had to wait to see the film of Matt at “the only working flour mill on the Thames” at Mapledurham before he boarded the African Queen floating hotel.

See pages 131-133.

William and Kate’s family weddings along the Thames

It’s interesting to learn that Kate Middleton’s parents Carole and Michael were married at Dorney Church. The reception was at Dorney Court which since has doubled for Syon in the film Lady Jane.

Prince William’s great, great grandparents were married in 1881 at tiny Petersham Church near Richmond.

This would be perfect for Kate and William if they could get away with a quiet wedding. But it looks as if they will marry at Westminster Abbey which once stood on Thorney Island surrounded by the tidal Thames.

See pages 60 and 94.

Roman village found at Syon

Kate Middleton is in the headlines as she becomes engaged to Prince William but news that she went to school in Pangbourne is not what it seems. St Andrew’s School is some way south-west of the Thames-side village.

However, besides the royal story in tonight’s Evening Standard is the announcement that a Roman village has been discovered in Syon Park. This shows how the site was a strategic one and near a crossing. Only a few years ago another dig found the base of  a church as a large as a cathedral east of the main house.

The Daily Mail also has more details and a map.

See page 57.

Windsor Castle to open Round Tower

News about Greenwich below comes from the World Travel Market -the travel industry fair in London’s Docklands this week.

Another announcement made at the WTM is that Windsor Castle’s Round Tower will be open to visitors during August and September next year. There are 189 steps to the battlements.

This is the highest point of the castle where the Union Jack or Royal Standard flies. It’s a reference point for walkers on the Thames Path and I look forward to enjoying the view back down on to the winding Thames and beyond to the London skyline.

William the Conqueror chose this strategic point for a fortress and for centuries the river was an important highway for the castle.

See page 90.

Greenwich’s popular Old Royal Naval College

The Old Royal Naval College at Greenwich is about to receive its millionth visitor since the grounds were opened to the public with free admission.

The Royal Navy left in 1997 and now the grounds are open free daily 8am to 6pm. The chapel and Painted Hall are usually open free as well.

Next summer will see a new Greenwich Pier for river passengers.

2012 will see the Cutty Sark back as a landmark behind the pier, the St Alphege celebrations and, of course, the Olympics which are to be held partly in Greenwich.

St Alphege, who was Archbishop of Canterbury, was martyred in 1012 at Greenwich by Viking raiders.

See page 18