London Bridge to Putney - January 4th
This walk starts from the south side of London Bridge. Between London Bridge and Lambeth Bridge, the path more or less hugs the riverside, passing many iconic buildings and attractions on its way. At Vauxhall, there is a huge amount of construction going on and the path leaves the riverside for a while, before rejoining at Battersea Park. At Wandsworth, the path again deviates from the riverside, before rejoining shortly before Wandsworth Park. Finally, the path reaches Putney Bridge which is where this walk ends.
This section is meant to be about 9 miles.
This was the first section that I completed. With the idea of the challenge fresh in my mind from New Year and the weather forecast for the day being good, I decided that I'd start with an easy walk along the south bank of the river. Getting to the south side of London Bridge for the start was very straightforward. This section of the path as far as Westminster Bridge passes many of London's landmarks, including Shakespeare's Globe Theatre, the Tate Modern, National Theatre and London Eye and as such there were many tourists about. From Westminster Bridge to Vauxhall Bridge it was thankfully much quieter.
At Vauxhall the Thames Path signs directed me away from the river for a while. Vauxhall and Nine Elms give the impression of being one gigantic building site with new buildings going up everywhere, including the new US Embassy. The path took me past the entrance to the Battersea Power Station redevelopment site. Battersea Power Station is at the heart of one of Europe's largest regeneration programmes. After passing Battersea Dogs and Cats Home, the path headed for Battersea Park. I like to think I know London pretty well but I'd never been to Battersea Park before; it was really attractive and even has it's own small children's zoo.
From Battersea Park to Wandsworth the path continued by the side of the river, with seemingly no end to the blocks of modern apartments, restaurants and offices. At one point, the path passes the London Heliport and right on cue, a helicopter came into land. Wandsworth Bridge is in my opinion the most unattractive of all the bridges that span the Thames in London. At Wandsworth Bridge the signs directed me away from the riverside for some more street walking round Wandsworth. Once back by the riverside, the path continued into Wandsworth Park and after passing under Fulham Railway Bridge, continued on to Putney Bridge. This is where I ended this walk.
However, I was so fascinated by the building work being done at Vauxhall and Battersea Power Station in particular, that at the end of July I repeated part of the walk from London Bridge to Battersea! I took the opportunity to take more photos, hence why you see people in t-shirts and shorts as well as coats and gloves!