The Capital Ring: Richmond to Greenford, via Osterley #capitalring #richmond #greenford #osterley

The Capital Ring is a strategic walking route that completely encircles inner and central London. It is approximately 78 miles long and cuts through as many green spaces as is possible.

2015-12-09 12.43.48

half way through and the informative signposts help; this is where I left the Grand Union Canal and headed along the Brent River, alongside a flight of six locks

So here we are again, Dog and me, on another section of the Capital Ring. It may be December, it may be nearly the shortest day and daylight fades around 4 pm but the weather forecast, after the storms of the last few days was good and Dog was deserting me for four days to spend time with the Lawyer and the Beautician so it seemed like the perfect excuse.

This video doesn’t exist

You may recall we left off last time in Richmond by the Thames.

2015-12-09 11.16.46

the river Thames near Richmond

Richmond is wealthy, a classic west London suburb that holds onto its charm and tweeness with all the ferocity that the moneyed classes can muster. Nice for a visit; suffocating to live.

2015-12-09 11.03.27 - Copy

a brief glimpse into the gardens of Richmond Palace

Out from the station the towpath passes the site of the Palace of Richmond where Elizabeth 1 died. Now it’s mostly gardens and some left over buildings. This one being the former brewery.

2015-12-09 11.05.34

the brewery

Beyond the tube bridge, of Victorian construction and the concrete monstrosity from the 30s that’s Twickenham bridge is Old deer Park which, as the name suggests has deer – not that we saw any. The original meridian line when through here before being moved to Greenwich.

2015-12-09 11.13.12

Old deer park, sans deer

Up ahead we have the last non tidal crossing, the last lock being at Teddington behind us but this half lock allows boats to cross the final weir 2 hours either side of high tide. Afterwards the river is tidal for over 25 miles before it is fully out to sea.

2015-12-09 11.16.23

crossing the half lock

We crossed the river above the half lock and turned toward Isleworth another lovely if somewhat preserved-in-aspic sort of place.

2015-12-09 11.22.30

this is now part of Brunel University but was once the Industrial school for girls!

The river runs both sides of an island here – the Ait, pronounced ‘eight’ an old dialect word for island. It’s a nature sanctuary amongst the bustle.

2015-12-09 11.22.47

river boats and house boats with the Ait in the background

2015-12-09 11.30.24

Shame I didn’t have this for pirates flash the other day!

Occasionally, as more plots are developed access to the river frontage grows (all planners require developers to put in a walk way) but still, hereabouts we had to detour in land. Hey ho.

2015-12-09 11.39.14

By the church of Isleworth is the London Apprentice pub, so called because the Livery companies, the Guilds that ran commerce in London and now act as grandiose dining parlours and centres for charitable giving, had a rowing race that ended here.

2015-12-09 11.41.23

The gates to Syon Park

Once again we branched inland but this time it was worth it as we walked through Syon Park, London home to the Dukes of Northumberland.

2015-12-09 11.45.45

Syon Park residents

It’s now visitor friendly but the buildings and landscaped grounds remain splendid examples of two of England’s finest: interior designer Robert Adam and garden consultant Capability Brown. In the distance is one of the remaining Art Deco Industrial buildings, the Gillette tower with its iconic green clock, a feature of any drive to the West country.

2015-12-09 11.43.02

Gillette building

2015-12-09 11.47.41

the main house across a ha ha

A short step after quitting the park, the route leaves the Thames to finds it’s way back into central London and we begin to curve north and gradually east alongside the River Brent and, occasionally where the two combine, the Grand Union canal.

2015-12-09 11.57.47

to the left the Grand Union Canal, to the right the entry of the Brent River into the basin before joining the Thames

This wonderful and still usable waterway from the 18th century allowed commercial goods to move from Birmingham to London and visa versa and the on across the country.

2015-12-09 12.13.28

Dog adding character to one of the locks

Today the traffic is nearly all pleasure craft and the banks are fabulous natural reserves, even amongst the industrial and commercial building hereabouts.

2015-12-09 12.02.25

oddly intricate covering for an industrial building housing a repair yard for barges

One such building was clad in a Β wooden patterned structure and along the wall inside, a mural of river and canal life; this short video gives you the idea.

This video doesn’t exist

2015-12-09 12.02.41

The river/canal passes some iconic offices – Glaxo Smith Kline, the drugs company, being one such. The sculpture out front is called ‘Athlete’, and from the look of him the performance enhancing drugs he’s ingested have done him no favours. To me he’s more Velociraptor than Olympian

2015-12-09 12.07.58

The Athlete

I took a fair few shots today because the light was so good and the reflections spectacular. It is one of the joys of this stretch of the walk.

2015-12-09 12.53.31


2015-12-09 12.44.45

er, yes reflections

2015-12-09 12.12.05

more reflections

2015-12-09 12.19.04

and one more….

2015-12-09 12.42.25

oh, alright one more…

North of Osterley, and now following the Brent River exclusively – the canal is off towards Birmingham – we walked under the Wharncliffe viaduct, build by the great engineer, Isambard Kingdom Brunel.

2015-12-09 12.50.36

Wharncliffe Viaduct

Shortly beyond the church of St Mary’s Hanwell appeared – this was designed by George Gilbert Scott in 1841 – Scott was also responsible for St Pancras Station and Great Eastern Hotel. These are magnificent pieces of engineering and architecture. Two such geniuses in close proximity – swoon!

2015-12-09 13.00.28

St Mary’s Hanwell

We still had two miles to cover to reach our destination in Greenford but the enjoyment paled a little.

2015-12-09 13.28.13

in the distance the arch of Wembley Stadium, with the floodlights of the running track in the foreground

It was golf courses and flat recreation grounds dotted amongst 1930s sprawl housing and the busy angry A40, oddly called an Arterial Road but these days in need of a stent and a change of diet away from oily gaseoline. Perivale Park was nice enough, the running track good to see – there are too few in London – but after the joys of earlier and with the light beginning to fade, catching the tube home was welcome.

2015-12-09 12.20.04

oh get a move on; look I’m pretending to be a tiger…

8.5 miles today and still mild by the end. Maybe we can do another section over the winter months, eh Dog?

2015-12-09 13.56.00

Whew! Greenford – a name that either represents verdant river crossings or gangrenous motorcars: you decide



About TanGental

My name is Geoff Le Pard. Once I was a lawyer; now I am a writer. I've published several books: a four book series following Harry Spittle as he grows from hapless student to hapless partner in a London law firm; four others in different genres; a book of poetry; four anthologies of short fiction; and a memoir of my mother. I have several more in the pipeline. I have been blogging regularly since 2014, on topic as diverse as: poetry based on famous poems; memories from my life; my garden; my dog; a whole variety of short fiction; my attempts at baking and food; travel and the consequent disasters; theatre, film and book reviews; and the occasional thought piece. Mostly it is whatever takes my fancy. I avoid politics, mostly, and religion, always. I don't mean to upset anyone but if I do, well, sorry and I suggest you go elsewhere. These are my thoughts and no one else is to blame. If you want to nab anything I post, please acknowledge where it came from.
This entry was posted in capital ring, miscellany, Thames Path, walking and tagged , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

31 Responses to The Capital Ring: Richmond to Greenford, via Osterley #capitalring #richmond #greenford #osterley

  1. Great record, Geoff. A stretch I don’t know

    Liked by 1 person

  2. I enjoyed this Geoff. There is so much about London that I don’t know. Some of the photos you took were stunning, and I love the way Dog nonchalantly poses is some of them too! πŸ™‚

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Great journey, Geoff. Thanks for showing us round πŸ™‚

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Jools says:

    One of the stretches closer to my home turf, and it was lovely to recognise many of the views in your photographs. If you finished at Greenford, I’m guessing your next leg must begin around Horsenden Hill, which is a tad more interesting than the 1930’s sprawl and rec grounds. Dog will appreciate it, I think. I particularly liked the homage to Van Gough in the skyline on that subterranean mural.

    Thanks so much for walking-the-walk, and sharing it, Geoffle – it’s a delight to walk it with you and I am even slightly intrigued as a result, to walk a few miles of it myself.

    Liked by 1 person

  5. Really enjoyed this post Geoff, nice info and good photos. Was worried there were going to be no Dog photos but then he made an appearance. Well, more than one πŸ™‚


  6. Norah says:

    It’s lovely to join you on this little tour. It reminds me of one last year. As I recall you are a pretty good tour guide. I love the series of reflections. Great job, Geoff!

    Liked by 1 person

  7. Anabel Marsh says:

    Glad you included all the reflections, especially the one with the bridge. I know little of London other than the touristy buts so it’s good to see another aspect of it.


  8. Sacha Black says:

    That first video made me feel sick bouncing up and down! but then I do get terrible car sickness!


  9. My first tour with you Geoff and what a wonderfully benign nearly mid-winter day! The photos are wonderful, it is so nice to see shots of the green belt of London – I walked some of it many years ago and while there are changes, some stays the same πŸ™‚ Nice to see you and the Dog out and about!

    Liked by 1 person

  10. You’re my tour guide when I visit London again. So gorgeous. Wild about the meridian line — I never knew it was moved.

    Liked by 1 person

  11. restlessjo says:

    I really enjoyed this walk, Geoff. I worked in Richmond for a short time so I know the area a little, and riverside is always good with me. London has so much character and variety to offer. It has to be one of the world’s best cities, don’t you think? πŸ™‚ Thanks for sharing.


  12. jan says:

    Some lovely shots – your dog is so adorable!


  13. Charli Mills says:

    Love going on these walks! It’s my own UK looky-loo! And good to see the Jolly Roger still flies, arrr!

    Liked by 1 person

  14. I livd and worked (part-time) in Richmond back in the late 1980s. I remember how very nice and expensive it was then, so I hate to think what a studio flat would cost there now.

    Liked by 1 person

  15. Helen Jones says:

    Looks as though you had a lovely day for it, and your photos are excellent, especially the reflections – some of them looked like paintings!

    Liked by 1 person

  16. Pingback: Jo’s Monday walk : Vaqueiros | restlessjo

  17. BeckyB says:

    Fab walk (apart from that dreary bit!!), and great photos. I see you are another Restless Jo fan – she’s fabulous isn’t she πŸ™‚

    Liked by 1 person

Comments are closed.