Richmond To Hayes: More Grand Union Canal

As I wrote the other day, I’m plotting out some possible walks for me and some erstwhile colleagues. Part one was the Paddington Branch of the Grand Union Canal. Part two was the section from where the canal originally met the Thames at Brentford back to the junction with the Paddington Branch at Bulls Bridge and then onto Hayes for the train back. It’s about ten miles and breaks into three parts.

It was a lovely day and I set off to Richmond from my local station at Gipsy Hill.

Richmond, if you’ve not been is neat, clean and affluent. A bit precious, self aware and not inclined to allow, say a refugee centre into its midst.

This first section along the Thames skirts Old Deer Park and crosses to the north bank via the footbridge over the Richmond half lock. This is technically where the Thames stops being tidal and becomes riparian. Nerd points if you knew that. The lock bridge combo is a lovely piece of Victoriana, unlike the Twickenham road bridge whose only saving grace is to pass underneath and leave it behind. That said, I do rather like the huge dampers that allow for some movement from all the pounding traffic above.

On the north bank, the path is solely the Capital Ring which I’ve written about on these pages before. This stretch to Richmond is quiet and rather soporific on a sunny day. Ahead is the Isleworth Church and the Ait, an old name for island and pronounced ‘eight’. This is where we leave the Thames with a wave to cross through Syon House and Park to join the Grand Union Canal at Brentford where the London branch enters the Thames.

Syon House is the London home of the Dukes of Northumberland and is a rather grand pile. Nice cafe too though the toilets had this strange water-soap-dryer combo that left me wiping my still sticky hands on my rump in frustration. modern technology, huh!

Brentford isn’t posh, a bit up and coming but there’s been a lot of river and canal side developments that continue. The canal therefore is a bit mixed in terms of visual attractiveness at the start and the urban rush is enhanced by the looming M4 motorway on its stilts above us and under which we must hustle. However even with that artery pouring its dusty coagulating gunk for us all to breathe, the natural nature reserve about the canal makes up for it. This is the best stretch and runs for 5 miles to the Capital Ring branch towards Greenford.

After that things changed. There were still locks to enjoy, including the Hanwell flight of six locks in a few hundred yards, plus the three bridges section where the road crossed the canal and below the railway and more wildlife but the path became narrow and rutted, there were engineering works that sent me on the dullest of detours and a collapsed wall that triggered a pause for thought before I scrambled across it. However, I was soon at the junction with the Paddington branch that I reached the other day from the other direction and having recorded the moment pointing back to Brentford i went and found a coffee and the train back into the centre. One notable feature was this curio of a sign. I wonder who won?

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.
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25 Responses to Richmond To Hayes: More Grand Union Canal

  1. Darlene says:

    Looks like a lovely walk. Too bad about the sinking boat though. Yikes!

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Another well photographed extensive piece of research. Well done for scrambling over the collapsed wall. I’ve just wasted too much time trying to answer your final question – I should have known you’d already done that

    Liked by 1 person

  3. willowdot21 says:

    Oh! Geoff I love this so much all the old places of my youth.
    I remember every or most Sundays when I was a child, in the summer we would walk from our house in Lionel Road down to Kew then along the Thames to Richmond or along the canal…. All the places you mentioned have memories for me …. Fabulous photos.💜

    Liked by 2 people

  4. noelleg44 says:

    What a lovely walk I got to take with you this morning. I love water, all kinds, so anything along the Thames or a waterway would be a plus for me!

    Liked by 1 person

  5. The old hand dryers were much better:

    Liked by 1 person

  6. ThingsHelenLoves says:

    A good walk and a good day for it, looks like? A good description of Richmond also!

    Liked by 1 person

  7. tootlepedal says:

    That looks like a most enjoyable walk, except for the final section. I like canal walking a lot so I am envious.

    Liked by 1 person

    • TanGental says:

      Having water alongside a walk is a real treat. Mind you I see the variety of walks you have on your doorstep and envy takes over. I miss the lack of real hills and views


      • V.M.Sang says:

        You could take a trip to the South Downs. It’s not too far. Train to Eastbourne or Brighton then along the South Downs Way. There are lots of paths other than that in the National Park. Lots of ups and downs and views.
        I always wondered why they’re called Downs as there seem to be a lot of Ups.

        Liked by 1 person

      • TanGental says:

        Me too. I did walk it back in 1988 with my dad and 2 friends, from Beachy Head to Winchestrr. It was just after the great storm ofv1987 and Chanctonbury Ring had been smashed. Very sad. I should do it again now I’m the age dad was when we did it last


      • tootlepedal says:

        I would definitely like to have more still water to walk along and round.

        Liked by 1 person

  8. V.M.Sang says:

    Lovely pics, Geoff. I don’t know the walk, but have been around that part of the world. I have a friend who used to live in Isleworth and have visited Syon House.

    Liked by 1 person

  9. Loved the pile driving competition and plaque. Sad to see a derelict boat. Enjoyed the walk.

    Liked by 1 person

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