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Archive for April, 2011

A great walk through the best green space any city has to offer.

Capital Ring, Section 6 (sort of), Wimbledon to Richmond

Red Deer, Richmond Park

Red Deer, Richmond Park

I have written before about the ongoing attempt some friends and I have been making to walk the Capital Ring in its entirety and in order. But enthusiasm seems to have waned, and, to be honest, having looked at the map, some sections  – where the Ring largely follows uninspiring suburban streets – don’t seem to be worth the effort, so the idea of completion may now have gone out of the window. But one stage that simply cannot be ignored is that which begins in Wimbledon, crossing Wimbledon Common and Richmond Park to end by the Thames in Richmond. Parts of the route are as near to wilderness as you can get in a major city, matching the most attractive rural landscape for beauty. And for me, there is the added bonus of nostalgia as the route passes through places I played as a child, and somewhere I once worked in what might be the best job I ever had.

Start: Wimbledon Station TQ248707

Finish: Richmond Station TQ180751

Length: 8½ miles/5 hours

How to get there: Strictly speaking, this section of the Ring begins at Wimbledon Park tube station, on the District Line, but because it was a more convenient place to meet, we began at Wimbledon. Numerous buses, South West Trains services from Waterloo, the Tube, and Tramlink from Croydon make it a very easy place to reach. Returning from Richmond is just as easy: train (to Clapham Junction & Waterloo, or to north London and Stratford), bus or tube once more.

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A (mostly) riverside walk through beautiful landscape, passing historic towns and villages

Marlow to Henley-on-Thames

Hambleden Lock

Hambleden Lock

Typical. Glorious sunshine and bright blue skies all week while I’m at work, then when I finally get some time off, I awake to a grey, overcast, dismal day. Ah well, never mind. A relatively easy walk this, mostly on level ground along the towpath on one bank of the Thames or the other, following a section of the 184-mile long Thames Path National Trail. The Trail begins at the source of the Thames in the Cotswolds near Cirencester and passes through some of England’s most attractive countryside, unspoilt villages and historic towns, through the heart of London to the Thames Barrier near Greenwich. I only walked a 10 mile stretch on this walk, but it was certainly representative, including stunning riverside scenery and some fascinating historic buildings. Much of the Thames Trail is accessible by public transport; I’m sure I will be back for more.

Start: Marlow Station SU855865

Finish: Henley-on-Thames Station SU763822

Length: 10 miles/4 hours

How to get there: Both start and finish are termini of branch lines off the Great Western main line between London Paddington and Reading. A small number of First Great Western services run direct from London, but by and large a change of train is required: at Maidenhead for the Marlow branch, and at Twyford for the Henley branch. Even so, the journey to/from Paddington is only about a hour or so.

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