Monday, January 30, 2023
Teddington to Mortlake
Despite gray skies and intermittently drizzly weather, I got motivated yesterday morning and took another walk along the Thames Path. You may recall that I've finished the north shore path, so I'm now beginning the south. I would have thought the logical way to do that would be to simply hop across the river more or less from where I finished, in East London, and walk back to the west. But no -- the trail guides produced by Transport for London have me starting all the way to the west again, and walking eastward.
So it was back to Teddington, where I saw the giant lock and weir last September when I was walking along the north bank.
The big anglerfish above, made of recyclable plastics, stands on the grounds of an arts center in Teddington.
The path along the south shore is much woodsier than the north shore. This obelisk stands seemingly in the middle of nowhere. It marks the westward boundary of the jurisdiction of the Port of London Authority, which oversees navigation on the Thames.
The path is woodsy because it passes through a conservation area known as the Ham Lands. They were named for Ham House, a 17th Century mansion "containing a unique collection of cabinets and artwork," according to the web site. I was just lucky enough to see it covered with scaffolding, its statuary wrapped in a white tarp. I did not go inside.
On I walked to Richmond, where I got a coffee and sat overlooking these boats. They look like they need some maintenance. They're very...fertilized. Maybe the boat owners simply abandon them over the winter and then scrub them up for use in the spring and summer?
I saw plenty of birds but fortunately, no obviously sick ones.
The path wound beneath the bluffs and bridges at Richmond and on toward Chiswick. I saw these detectorists across the river, exploring the tidal mud flats near Isleworth.
(Blogger does not like the word "detectorist," but from what I can tell it is indeed a real word.)
This is what the path looked like east of Richmond -- a raised, narrow causeway with mud flats and swamps on either side, including what the TFL guide poetically called "tide-washed willows."
I walked around the perimeter of Kew Gardens, and had a good view of Kew Palace -- the smallest of the royal palaces and the former home of Kings George II and George III -- and glimpses of the greenhouses and other structures. I passed beneath the Kew Railway Bridge, built in 1869.
Finally I arrived in Mortlake, across the river from Chiswick, having walked 6.8 miles altogether. I caught the train from there back to Waterloo station.