London Bridges Walk (1) 30 May 2019
The Thursday Walking Group started, what we hope to be, the first stage of their walks over the bridges of London. The plan is to follow the Thames Path along either the north of south sections. It is a well marked path, although construction in some places moves the route further inland.
Following weeks of planning we departed from West Malling just after 10 am for Victoria and the London Underground to Hammersmith. The serious business of walking started at 11.50am with a saunter south on Hammersmith Bridge Road. This bridge, our first crossing, is currently closed to vehicles as it is the local authority start maintenance work on the bridge. construction of the current bridge took place in the 1880's, designed by Sir Joseph Bazalgette. It was opened by the Prince of Wales on 11 June 1887.
Before crossing we had the obligatory 'selfie' and then continued south, doubling back just after crossing to get on the Thames Path.
This section is tree lined and follows the Thames eastward passing the Harrods Repository on the south side and Fulham Football Club on the north side. There are many rowing clubs on the south side and, being half term, many youngsters were taking the opportunity to use the river in eights and fours.
The next bridge is Putney. The bridge has medieval parish churches beside its abutments: St. Mary's Church, Putney is built on the south and All Saints Church, Fulham on the north bank. The bridge was opened on 29 May 1886 by the Prince and Princess of Wales. Putney is also the start of the annual University Boat Race.
Crossing to the north side we followed the diversion around Hurlingham Park, the direct path being blocked by the temporary stadium being erected for a polo tournament. The diverted path followed Carnwath Road to Wandsworth Bridge Road where we saw the Thames again.
More selfies at the start of the bridge before crossing to the south side.
Wandsworth Bridge is more modern, being opened on 25 September 1940. This is not one of the prettiest bridges across the Thames. It does carry 50,000 vehicles each day.
We picked up the Thames Path on the south bank where the path is bordered by modern, glass fronted, high rise apartment blocks. We could see the on-going construction on the northern shore. A short diversion took us round Battersea Heliport, picking up the path. A short while later we reached St Mary's Church, Battersea. This is the oldest church in Battersea. The parish is shared by three Anglican Churches and is in the Dioceses of Southwark. People have worshipped here since 800AD. It is a Grade I listed building.
Finally, Battersea Bridge. Another Bazalgette bridge, opened on 21 July 1890 by Lord Rosebery, the future Prime Minister.
Crossing to the north side, our walk was complete. The official distance was shown as 6.66 miles and ended at 2.15pm.
To finish, a short walk north on Beaufort Street to Kings Road for a well deserved lunch. Number 11 bus back to Victorian and a train home, returning to West Malling at 5.15pm
A great day out for the eight of us, and a very different walk to our usual Thursday.
Our next walk will be on Saturday 29 June, hoping to start at Battersea Bridge and continue east. We are aiming for Millennium Bridge to visit St Paul's Cathedral.