Kew to London Bridge - July 29th 2021
This section is about 13 miles with more than 1 bridge per mile along the route! There is so much to see on this section, particularly on the second half as the river flows through Central London and The City. It’s possible to walk this section on either the north or south bank of the river along dedicated paths. With so many bridges, you can of course also choose to mix and match if you prefer. On this occasion I chose to walk along the south bank of the river.
As with all my walks in the London area, I chose to get the train from home into St Pancras and then out to the start of the walk. I arrived at Kew Bridge at about midday on a fairly humid day that was quite cloudy much of the time.
I found that Hammersmith Bridge had been reopened to pedestrians, cyclists and river traffic less than 2 weeks before my walk, after having been completely closed for the previous 11 months. I don’t believe it is known when, if ever, motorised traffic will once again be able to cross the bridge. I’ve read that 2027 is a possibility as the earliest date. I feel really sorry for residents in the area who have seen dates come and go since the bridge was first closed to traffic in April 2019.
Whilst in the Hammersmith Bridge area, I made a minor detour to go to the London Wetland Centre. After seeing the price of admission I decided it must surely be worthy of a dedicated trip to London to go there, rather than a whistle-stop visit today. I therefore made use of their spotless toilet facilities and carried on along the path towards Putney.
Since my walk in 2020, there had been some amazing progress in the construction of the new Riverside Stand at Fulham’s home ground, Craven Cottage. In 2020, the stand was literally a load of piles in the Thames but now you could see what the finished stand will look like. COVID has of course delayed the construction but it’s hoped it will be finished in summer 2022.
I took the opportunity to leave the path at Battersea Power Station to view the construction progress since I was last there. All the tower cranes had now gone. In September 2021 the Northern Line extension from Kennington opened there. Useless fact – Battersea Power Station is the only station on the London Underground to have the word ‘station’ in its name!
The rest of my walk was drama free and I arrived at London Bridge at about 18:00 – not too bad, taking into account the number of times I stopped to take photos, as well as diversions I took such as to see Battersea Power Station.
In my “pick’n’mix” year, arriving at London Bridge marked the completion of my 2021 challenge to walk the Thames Path in fewer days than I’d done in 2020. I’d completed the path in 16 non-consecutive days rather than 19.