Teddington path closure

The towpath upstream of Richmond is due to be closed this week during daytime between the Thames Young Mariners’ Bridge and Teddington Lock.

The closure for path upgrade work is between 8am and 4pm.

The suggested diversion, which is pleasant, runs inland from Ham House riverside car park and along Ham Street. Go right into Riverside Drive. After just over a mile go right down a road with a barrier. A sign points to Teddington Lock. There are houses on the left and open ground to the right.

Chambers Wharf blocks view

Walking along Bermondsey Wall East the view of Tower Bridge is suddenly blocked by a huge shed.

This is a temporary building on the extended Chambers Wharf where there is continuous working to excavate a shaft for the Thames Tideway project or super sewer.

The site was once a giant cold store.

The houses at Fountain Green Square had a lovely view.

Another change here is the Old Justice pub which is closed and partly covered to flats. Two pubs close every day.

Best to stop at The Angel just before Cherry Garden Pier.

New Nine Elms Bridge proposal

The planned bridge on a map showing the future Thames Path in front of Battersea Power Station

The proposed Nine Elms Bridge has been moved upstream and given a curve.

The original landings were at St George’s Gardens in Pimlico on the left bank and Elm Quay near the US Embassy at Nine Elms.

The latest suggestion is that the crossing should start at Claverton Street in Pimlico and curve across the water to land at Kirtling Street.

This street is the temorary line of the Thames Path until the Battersea Power Station riverside has been landscaped.

The recommendation is to be considered by Wandsworth Council’s Finance and Corporate Resources Overview & Scrutiny Committee next week and if approved the plan will progress to the next stage of the design process.

The earlier proposed line of the crossing drew opposition from both sides of the river.

Yews along the Thames

Ankerwycke Yew

Tony Hall has found several important yews along the Thames in his new book The Immortal Yew.

We tend to forget that the maze at Hampton Court is now yew since the original hornbeam was repaired with yew fifty years ago.

Upstream the yew is much older. The Ankerwycke yew, soon to be accessible by ferry from Runnymede, probably hosted the sealing of Magna Carta in 1215. It was already well over a thousand years old.

The yew in Iffley churchyard is said to have inspired Lewis Carroll to write Alice in Wonderland.

The book features the 40 foot high yew hedge at Cirencester not far from the Thames Head source.

The Immortal Yew by Tony Hall is published by Kew (£25).

Once Upon a River

Dianne Setterfield’s latest novel  Once Upon A River is set largely on the Thames upstream of Oxford.

It holds the attention of anyone who has walked the river by the roll call of familiar names at the beginning.

The story is set in the 19th century and opens at Radcot which is unchanged since well before May Morris from Kelmscott looked to placing a figure of the Virgin Mary in the Radcot Bridge niche.

The Battle of of Radcot Bridge fought just before Christmas 1387 is recalled in the book where the short skirmish is given a death toll greater than I have ever heard.

If the scene in The Swan is taking place at the dawn of photography then the young woman present is unlikely to have been schooled at Godstow Abbey.

But as the review by Nilanjana Roy in the FT suggests, “this riverine novel has the mood and feel of a ghost story”.

Once Upon A River by Dianne Setterfield is published by Doubleday (£12.99).

Blessing the Thames on Sunday

The Shard and Southwark Cathedral

Sunday 13 January is Baptism of Christ Sunday which sees the annual Blessing of the River on London Bridge at 12.20pm.

Processions from Southwark Cathedral on the right bank and St Magnus the Martyr on the left bank will meet on the bridge. After prayers and a hymn, a wooden cross will be hurled into the water.

This will be the moment when the tide is turning so the cross should be carried upstream.

Please report any sightings here. Send us a message.

Two cosiest pubs on the Thames

The River Thames has pubs which are tested daily by walkers ready for really good refreshment.

In today’s Mail on Sunday Tom Parker Bowles  and  Olly Smith publish their list of the 100 cosiest pubs in Britain.

Tom highlights The Trout Inn at Wolvercote, upstream of Oxford which he describes as “a beautiful 17th-century pub sitting on the Thames”.

He adds: “One of those pubs that is as cosy in winter as it is bucolic in summer.”

At Cricklade The Red Lion gets a mention for being “a 16th-century pub with a flower-strewn façade that brews its own beer”.

Indeed it is the home of Liquid Highway brewed exclusively for the Thames Path.

There is also bed and breakfast.

Millais at Kingston

My First Sermon (1863) & My Second Sermon in The Times

Two lovely paintings by John Everett Millais appeared side by side in The Times on Monday.

They are included in the Seen and Heard exhibition at the Guildhall Art Gallery.

Both paintings depict the artist’s daughter sitting in Kingston-upon-Thames parish church.

All Saints, associated with Saxon kings, is the focal point of the market square and a short walk from Kingston Bridge.

His brother William Henry painted the Thames.

Seen and Heard: Victorian Children in the Frame is at the Guildhall Art Gallery in the city of London until Sunday 28 April; admission £8 (Conc  £6).


Diversion at Greenwich’s Trinity Hospital

Greenwich Power Station seen from the peninsula

The river path in front of Trinity Hospital, on the east side of Greenwich, is due to close shortly.

The river wall is being  rebuilt which means that the path may not reopen until next August.

An interesting background to the diversion and what to see can be found on Peter Kent’s RiverWatch Returns site.

Diversion Directions

If walking from the Greenwich Peninsula (where the path has recently reopened) you reach Ballast Quay.

Pass the Cutty Sark pub to walk across Anchor Iron Wharf where there is a large anchor.

Before the power station go left into Hoskins Street. There is  power station wall to the right and the road is partly surfaced with attractive stone setts.

At  junction turn right along Old Woolwich Road to pass the back of the London Transport power station and the modern entrance to Trinity Hospital.

At another main junction go right into Eastney Street which runs direct to gates on to river.

Go left along narrow Crane Street to Greenwich.

‘Repellent’ Kismet


“Through the Thames below my London flat last week slid a repellent sight,” writes Matthew Parris in The Times this morning.

“She resembled a giant, sleek, grey, metal-plastic kitchen device, about two houses long. Her decks were slits and her windows little black squares of darkened glass, for all the world like gun-emplacements.”

Kismet in the Pool of London last month before passing Matthew Parris’s flat

From the Sea to the Source