5 of 5 (3 votes)

Conflict between Ridiculous and Sublime

A leisurely walk (city/town) starting and finishing in City of London, England, about 8.70km (5.41 mi) long with an estimated walking time of about 2:15h. It is suitable for families with children, prams & pushchairs, but unsuitable for wheelchairs.
Elevation Profile
Ascent 14m (45ft)
Descent 16m (52ft)
Max. Elevation 30m (98ft)
Altitude Gain & Loss 30m (97ft)
East Molesey
Distance 8.70km
Duration ~2:15h
Ordnance Survey Map
3Created by John Walker on 31 May 2015
A walk from Thames to Thames through Teddington and Bushy Park. The walk starts in the streets of Teddington, a suburbanised ‘village’, taking in some popular culture trivia (verging on the ridiculous), then meanders through Bushy Park, second largest of the royal parks. Here is a concentration of more recent history, much of it relating to ‘conflict’ (especially WWII and the influence of ingenuity on the art of war). Mixed in are some nuggets from posh peoples’ pasts and one or two minor struggles of the proletariat. On the far side of the park we attain the sublime, in the form of Hampton Court, a very grand former royal palace and home to some serious stiffs, amongst the intellectual and artistic greats of the past.

Walk Functions


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Walk Map

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OS Grid TQ165712
Getting to the Start at Teddington Lock. Frequent buses from Kingston upon Thames train station (285 or 281) or Richmond train station (R68) will take you to Teddington Lock in around 10 to 20 minutes. From the bus stop head East to the Lock itself.
OS Grid TQ167714
Constructed in 1801 the Lock and weir were the most recent effort to confine the river and stop its meandering. The weir meant that finally the tidal flow of the Thames stopped here, although previously the wider shallower stream had allowed the tide to spread a further 30km upstream as far as Staines. In spite of rumours to the contrary (fed by Rudyard Kipling’s poem) Teddington is not a corruption of ‘Tide End Town’ since the name dates from Saxon times. The lock and weir are worth visiting. There is a two-part footbridge across river and lock leading to the south bank of the river where you can join the Thames Path National Trail or follow a variety of paths across Ham Lands. BP1. Over the last century this area has been associated with comic literature, film and TV, the ridiculous part of this walk. Teddington Lock is the start of the journey described in the Edwardian comic novel Three Men in a Boat from where J and his friends hire a skiff to row up the Thames. More recently a film studio, later a TV studio, was home to many comic performers, movies and programmes including Tony Hancock, Eric and Ernie and the Benny Hill Show. Benny Hill had a home nearby and is remembered, along with other comics, by a blue plaque on the site of the former studio. His humour was basic and sexist but in the 1990s he was wildly popular around the world although he had already passed his sell-by date in the UK.
About 0.23 km (~0.14 miles) from
OS Grid TQ166713
Return to the bus stop and head West up the High Street. Teddington is a quiet, unremarkable, now affluent, suburb in South West London, not particularly famous for anything but home to some intriguing nuggets of trivia. Right by the bus stop are two churches on opposite sides of the road. The small one on the right is the original parish church, dating from the early medieval period but on the site of a Saxon chapel. The larger religious building opposite is now the Landmark arts centre. Modelled on Notre Dame in Paris and billed as the Cathedral of West London, building began during a religious revival in late nineteenth century. But funds ran out before the building was half finished. It remained unused and derelict until the 1960’s when a number of music videos were made there, exploiting its gothic appeal, and its future as an arts centre was secured.
About 0.08 km (~0.05 miles) from
OS Grid TQ163711
At first glance Teddington High Street looks dull and boring, typical red-brick terracing along a minor street. But look more closely and the red bricks span many centuries. A row of cottages just beyond the ancient church dates from 1759 and is associated with Peg Woffington a famous actress of that era and friend of David Garrick. Further along the road grander Victorian terraces are mixed with an occasional 15th century survival (currently a hardware shop). At the mini-roundabout two dreary 1960s office buildings interrupt the flow of bricks, unwelcome intrusions, which overwhelm Elmfield House here on the right of the road.
About 0.41 km (~0.25 miles) from
OS Grid TQ159711
Now a dental practice, Elmfield House was once home to the 19th century exiled Russian revolutionary Alexander Herzen (no memorial though). Waldegrave Road, heading off to the right from here has plaques to several less-controversial historic celebs. BP3. R.D Blackmore, now only remembered as the author of Lorna Doone, was a respected Victorian novelist who lived in Teddington and is commemorated here in Teddington Library. 150m further up this road two blue plaques almost opposite each other commemorate the birthplace of Noel Coward (playwright, composer and actor) and the home of Edward Whymper, first conqueror of the Matterhorn. They lived here at the same time, at the turn of the 20th century) but meetings between the pre-school Coward and the octogenarian mountain climber were probably limited. However it’s interesting to speculate….
About 0.37 km (~0.23 miles) from
OS Grid TQ158710
From the mini-roundabout stagger up the steepest ascent of the walk (the approach to a railway bridge). The railway came here in 1865, sparking an explosive growth of the suburb. From the top of the bridge take the left turning down to the Park Hotel (a pub built in the Edwardian style and now a nice eating place). Cross over to Park Lane and walk towards Bushy Park. Halfway along you pass riding stables, unexpected in a street of suburban semis.
About 0.09 km (~0.06 miles) from
OS Grid TQ155706
Cross over Queens Rd. into Rayleigh Ave. At another small roundabout the left fork leads to the back gate of Bushy House. Take the right turn. This is the site of the National Physical Laboratory. You will find an information panel pointing out that Robert Watson Watt, the inventor of radar, worked here in the interwar period. And Barnes Wallace tested his first ideas for dam-busting bouncing bombs in a ship tank just alongside. Another WWII hero, Alan Turing, worked here after his code-breaking successes at Bletchley Park. The house where he lived is on the other side of the park, with a blue plaque. Turn left through the Clapperstile Gate in the park wall and follow the path to the right. Pass the cricket pitches with a small copse on the right.
About 0.49 km (~0.3 miles) from
OS Grid TQ151705
When you reach the end of the copse where the park wall reaches a corner the path forks. Head straight on across the grass towards the corner of a straight sided copse on the right.
About 0.43 km (~0.27 miles) from
OS Grid TQ147706
You will shortly see signs to the Water Gardens and Cascade, close to Upper Lodge. When you have walked around the upper and lower ponds and visited the Brew House leave by the same gate but pass in front of Upper Lodge, turning left onto the metalled path. The mysterious white Rotunda building is visible through a gate in the wall. It is now a fancy house although formerly a torpedo test building. Just before you leave look back towards the long straight waterway, just a small part of the 17th C artificial river construction which takes water from the River Colne some 20 km away to feed the cascade then sending the outflow to join the Thames.
About 0.38 km (~0.24 miles) from
OS Grid TQ146705
Retrace your steps to a path going right, follow it as it tracks a hedge or fence separating the park from the river in a pasture. At a gate on the right enter and immediately go left through another gate. Follow this path which is running parallel to the Longford River (feed to the Diana Fountain in Bushy Park and the gardens at Hampton Court), which this walk passes later.
About 0.15 km (~0.09 miles) from
OS Grid TQ148695
Just before the round Waterhouse Pond take a path to the left which leads through a woodland garden with ornamental streams and fine trees and shrubs (masses of azaleas in spring time). After much meandering the path emerges into the park through a gate. Just go straight ahead through another gate into another woodland garden and continue ahead to the right of a small lake to find a footbridge on the left, leading to the Pheasantry café (good place for refreshments) before turning right by the bridge to exit through the woodland garden gate.
About 0.97 km (~0.6 miles) from
OS Grid TQ156699
Follow the path around the end of the woodland garden, going straight ahead across a road, heading parallel to the edge of a sports field. On the right is Chestnut Avenue. When you near the gate out of the park cross this road and take a path parallel to the park wall.
About 0.88 km (~0.55 miles) from
OS Grid TQ161703
After about 200 metres you will see a small memorial off to the right. This is the site of General Eisenhower’s SHAEF HQ in the lead up to D-Day in 1944. From a temporary camp here the final stages of the invasion of France was planned, the first step in the decisive road to the end of WWII.
About 0.68 km (~0.42 miles) from
OS Grid TQ162703
Prehistory has been pretty effectively wiped from the landscape around here. A 4000 year old Bronze Age barrow survived just here on the edge of the park until around 100 years ago. It was excavated in Victorian times and yielded interesting grave goods which now are in the British Museum. The barrow itself was removed for road widening….
About 0.09 km (~0.06 miles) from
OS Grid TQ164700
Turn right off the path to head towards a small copse of trees (Warren plantation). Continue past the left hand side and then turn right towards the end of Heron Pond. You cross a path just before reaching a bridge over a stream. This is known as Cobblers Path commemorating an episode in the 18th century when a local shoemaker won a modest campaign to reopen a path through the park from Hampton Wick to Hampton. This ancient way had been closed for 20 years since the park was enclosed in 1734 by Lord Halifax.
About 0.37 km (~0.23 miles) from
OS Grid TQ166696
Cross the small bridge and turn right along the edge of Leg of Mutton Pond then continue alongside the larger Heron Pond, heading towards a round pond with a gilded statue in the middle. It’s known as the Diana fountain (and Diana would be appropriate for a deer park) but the figure is actually of a water nymph.
About 0.39 km (~0.24 miles) from
OS Grid TQ158692
Walk around to the far edge of the pond to admire the long tree-lined avenue stretching towards the white painted Garrick Lodge at the Hampton end of the park, close to Hampton Church.
About 0.89 km (~0.55 miles) from
OS Grid TQ156691
Turn left to take a path towards the Lion Gate, and the exit from the park then cross over the road to enter the grounds of Hampton Court Palace. There is the famous maze (J K Jerome again) and a cafe in the Tiltyard. Walk ahead to the main gate of the palace and admire the Tudor chimneys etc.
About 0.21 km (~0.13 miles) from
OS Grid TQ155685
Turn right to walk alongside the terraced grace and favour residences to exit onto Hampton Court Bridge. Cross the road, go right then left to find several beautiful and historic houses on the left, one previously lived in by Michael Faraday and another by Christopher Wren, both sporting English Heritage blue plaques. But no mention of another famous resident, Princess Sophia Duleep Singh, a prominent suffragette and keen cyclist.
About 0.65 km (~0.4 miles) from
OS Grid TQ153684
To return from Hampton Court, cross the bridge over the Thames to the train station. From here trains to Clapham Junction and Waterloo link to most destinations. The R68 bus from the station car park will take you to Richmond for the District Line tube and all points in between.
About 0.24 km (~0.15 miles) from

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