LONDON LOOP STAGE 7
Kingston Bridge to Hatton Cross
I walked this section on the 21st May 2005 and how different it was from the previous stage. Even though it started raining while I was on the train to Kingston and continued to rain throughout the duration of the walk, sometimes quite heavily, this was one of the most enjoyable stretches of the path so far. There were a few urban areas but generally it was off road walking, sometimes alongside the River Crane, for most of the stage.
Kingston itself seems a very pleasant place and it is only a short stretch over Kingston Bridge across the Thames before Bushy Park is reached. I was very impressed with the park and despite the rain spent quite a bit of time looking round and taking photographs, in fact all the photos on this page except the last one were taken in Bushey Park. Quite near the entrance of the park I came across a herd of deer which I stopped to look at and take a few photos. They were right beside the loop path and I thought they would run off as I got nearer. Obviously they are used to human company however and they stayed put as I got closer and closer. One even came up for a closer look at me before wandering off after having checked me out!
The photo of the ducks gives some indication of just how heavy the rain was at this point. Crossing the park the path goes through an area of gardens which I passed through at just the right time of year as all the azaleas and rhododendrons were in full flower. Although it was very wet it was quite a warm day and I had an umbrella with me which kept off most of the rain. The smell of the damp ground and flowers was very refreshing and the rain meant I had the place to myself. As well as the umbrella I also had my full set of waterproofs with me but I always feel a bit self conscious walking through places like Teddington, which was the next place the path reaches after the park, dressed up for a rainy day in the hills so whilst I had my jacket on the trousers stayed in my rucksack.
This section of the London Loop has not been way marked which made navigation a bit slower as it meant I had to keep stopping to check I was going in the right direction. The path is however shown on the latest Ordnance Survey Explorer map and I also had with me a copy of the London Loop Book by David Sharp whose comprehensive directions makes it almost impossible to get lost.
As I has spent a fair bit of time in Bushey Park I then concentrated on getting some walking done and ended up taking just one more photo, of some broom bushes on Hounslow Heath, another fine open area of countryside. Leaving Hounslow Heath the loop path rejoins the River Crane which it follows until the A30 is reached where it is a short walk up the road to reach the Hatton Cross underground station. Before reaching the A30 the path goes under the A312. The stretch of the walk between the two roads was very, very overgrown, so much so that I thought the path may have been diverted and no longer followed that route. I ended up getting absolutely soaked from the greenery across the path and arrived at the tube station looking a bit bedraggled.
The GPS made this stage, including the links to the stations, 9.65 miles long.
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