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Published: October 7th 2019
The multi-arched bridge out of Chertsey
18 September 2019, Wednesday
Day 17 Thames Path, Chertsey to Kingston on Thames, day 32 of travel.
After buffet breakfast at The Crown Hotel, we set out. The book indicated a 12 mile day but Garmin showed 12.9 miles.
As we approached the Chertsey Bridge Wendy had just emerged from The Bridge Hotel and saw us, so we were blessed with her company for the day.
After crossing the bridge we walked along Dumsey Meadow. The plants, animals, birds and fish are detailed on signs. The landscape is now that of Thames watermeadows.
Also saw 'oreo cows,' black front and back and white middle.
Just past Shepperton Lock we took the small Shepperton to Weybridge ferry across to the opposite tow path much like the old barge tow people would do. But, we were in a small power boat ferry. It saved two miles walking. Our book had said we could summon the ferry by ringing a bell. When we arrived a sign said to buy a ticket in the marina. A young kid is in the very nice gift shop. We buy our tickets and wonder what is next but then he comes from around
The "Oreo" cows!
the counter and becomes our ferry captain!
Dozens of fisherman are along the river before Walton Bridge. After a cappuccino we arrived at Sunbury lock which has two locks side by side.
There is a choice between taking the 'Desborough Cut,' dug in order to improve the flow of the river, or to follow the river, looping away. Of course we follow the river. Save two miles by taking the ferry and then willfully neglect a route that would save you from one of the innumerable loop contortions of this ever changing river.
Next are the walls and banks of Molesey Reservoirs. To heighten the surreal atmosphere one walks between great concrete blocks, remains of London's anti-tank defences. The reservoirs were established in the 1870's to serve SW London. Lasting over 100 years they were taken out of service in the 1990s. Next aggregate was taken from the area and eventually they will be transformed into wetlands. We have seen this sequence occuring in several areas along the river and it yields varied and beautiful waterways.
At last we see the chimneys of Hampton Court. This was the summer home of famed, or infamous, Henry VIII.
Many meadows have signs describing the plants, animals and history
In 1514 the powerful Cardinal Thomas Woolsey transformed his private estate into a vast bishop's palace. Wolsey was an important advisor to the king. The palace has 750 acres of beautifully tended grounds.
We walk along the side of the palace, peeking through gates. It is a beautiful walk along the river under ashes, alders and tall black poplars. There are a number of aits (islets) along this stretch. 'Ait' is a contraction of 'eyot' that is a Middle English term meaning 'little island.
The view becomes more urban with cars and commercial buildings on both banks.
We look for a large Victorian building with a crenellated tower. The area is appropriately named Seething Wells, originally home to the Chelsea and Lambeth Waterworks Companies, that built filter beds here in the 1850s to purify river water before piping it to London. Thames Water has recently sold the site to a private developer.
At last we reach Kingston Bridge.
We have reached a milestone. We have finished the National Trails Guide Thames Path in the Country. Thirty six and 3/4 miles to the Thames Barrier and the route will take us right through the center of
These moorings along the river are named for this meadow.
Tot: 1.2s; Tpl: 0.048s; cc: 9; qc: 53; dbt: 0.0328s; 1; m:saturn w:www (22.214.171.124); sld: 1;
; mem: 1.4mb