Gloriana at Henley

Henley Royal Regatta runs from Wednesday 3 July to Sunday 7 July during which there will be a towpath diversion.

The Royal Barge Gloriana, which was an attraction at the regatta last year, will be back in Henley on Monday 1 July.

In the morning the barge will travel upstream from Henley to the nearby River & Rowing Museum carrying again the cauldron used last year from Hampton Court to London.

The cauldron has been donated to the museum and Sir Matthew Pinsent, as a museum vice-president, will formally accept the gift.

Swans are being attacked by dogs

Queen’s Swan Marker David Barber says that swans on the Thames have suffered from “mindless vandalism”.

He told The Times: “It is most regrettable that swans and cygnets suffer serious injury or even death as a result of mindless vandalism, dog attacks and injuries sustained by ingesting or being caught in abandoned fishing tackle.”

Swan Upping this year is from  Monday 15 July starting at Sunbury and finishing on Friday 19 July at Abingdon.

Molesey Lock Cafe opens

I have just visited Molesey Lock Cafe which has now been open for two weeks.

The new cafe is being run by Ruth Knight who is a river user, a Dittons Skiff and Punting Club member, and had the idea for a cafe on the site for at least ten years.

Walking east from Hampton Court Bridge you soon find the Thames Path passing between the lock (right) and the cafe (left).

There is a garden with shelter for bad weather. The menu includes hot and cold drinks, homemade cakes, sandwiches and ice cream.

This facility on the towpath is perfect for walkers and is open daily 9am to 6pm until the end of September.

The further surprise is that the Environment Agency hopes to open more cafes at locks along the River Thames. Goring could be next which will be handy since the tea shop by the bridge is only open on weekdays and even then closes at 5pm just as you want tea.

Lovell’s Wharf: Greenwich Peninsula row

Those who are confused by the many changes on the Thames path between the O2 and Greenwich will be interested to learn that others seem to be in confusion.

Peter Bill reports in the Evening Standard that the Thames Craft boatyard at Badcock’s Wharf alongside Lovell’s Wharf is in dispute with the luxury flat developers.

The plan is, or was, for the boatyard to move downstream to Bay Wharf.

There is more background on the very informative 853 blog.

London: New Thames bridge proposal

Plans emerged today for a new Thames crossing in central London.

It would be a pedestrian bridge with a garden linking the Victoria Embankment and the South Bank. The bridge could land opposite Arundel Street on the north side and the National Theatre on the south.

Completion is suggested for 2016 when Mayor of London Boris Johnson steps down.

The London SE1 website has the first details and pictures.

Baseball ‘first played’ at Walton-on-Thames

Walton-on-Thames can now claim to have hosted the earliest recorded game of baseball.

Proof that the game is English comes from baseball historian David Block who used a new search system to find the reference in a 1749 newspaper stored in the British Museum.

The Prince of Wales and Lord Middlesex were among the players enjoying “bass-ball”.

The site is Ashley Park Avenue which is turning off the road approaching Walton Bridge.

The discovery was mentioned last week on BBC SouthToday and has now appeared in several papers including the Daily Mail.


John Inglis launches Thames panoramas project

John Inglis and Jill Sanders who live on Garrick’s Ait near Hampton are working on Thames panoramas old and new.

First they are proposing to put online Samuel Leigh’s 1829 panorama of the Thames from London to Richmond. It was published for people to enjoy whilst being rowed on the river so few copies have survived in tact.

As a film maker John is well placed to also make a new photographic version which will start at Tower Bridge and go upstream as far as Hampton Court.

Jill is a journalist from the Kingston area and her former colleague June Sampson has been taking to the couple for the Surrey Comet.




Gold Award for Greenwich TIC

Greenwich’s tourist information centre has won a Gold Award in the Visit England Awards for Excellence 2013.

This is the highest accolade which Visit England can bestow.

Staff at the centre speak over ten different languages.

The Greenwich TIC is the first one which walkers come upon on their walk upstream.

It allows local history publications to have a place on its shelves and also carries vital information on places beyond Greenwich which are reached later on the walk.

This award is good news since some councils, including Southwark, have closed their TICs.

The presentation was made by Penelope, Viscountess Cobham, Chairman of VisitEngland, who enjoys a view of the Thames path from her central London home.

Chimney Meadows: Oxfordshire’s Coronation Meadow

Prince Charles today announced that Chimney Meadows has been designated Oxfordshire’s Coronation Meadow.

There is one in every county although more are due to follow by being seeded from these first ones which mark the 60th anniversary of the Queen’s Coronation.

Thames Path runs through lonely Chimney-on-Thames which lies between Newbridge and Lechlade.

Within living memory the meadows, one of the largest areas of unimproved meadowland in England and rich in wild flowers, were managed by two sisters who did not care for visitors or walkers. The area is now in the care of Berkshire, Buckinghamshire and Oxfordshire Wildlife Trust.