24th March 2016
Kingston-upon-Thames to Weybridge – 17.06km (10.6 miles)
Cookie and i start the day by crossing over Kingston Bridge to the North side of the Thames, this way we can follow the river as closely as possible. The weather today is looking a bit inclement so we have prepared ourselves for rain later in the day.
Once on the other side of the river we entered into Hampton Court Park, the park had a gravel path right next to the Thames and would lead us round to Hampton Court Palace. On this path we once again saw a pair of green parrots with red beaks flying between trees, bemused by this i googled why we keep seeing parrots in London, apparently they are called Kingston Parakeets and estimates are that there is about 6,000 in the wild in South London. It is not known how they were introduced into the wild but the theories are that they escaped when making the film African Queen, they escaped during storm damage in the 1987 hurricane or Jimi Hendrix released them in Carnaby street in the 1960’s. whatever the reason they were lovely birds. Shortly after i also saw a Jay singing in the trees too.
Within the first hour of walking i had reached Royal Hampton court palace, however no royalty have resided here since the 18th century. The building is a grade 1 listed palace that has seen much British history since it’s completion in 1521 and is now open to the public who can visit the palace and the grounds, the garden contains a maze and apparently the worlds largest vine.
We walked through the front garden of the palace and then crossed back over to the south side of the river, here we walked past East Molesey where we stopped in Hurst Park and had lunch over looking the Thames and Hampton on the far side. A lot of dog walkers were in the park and having lunch seemed to attract them over much to Cookies annoyance and mine come to think of it. I exchanged texts with Susan who was at work and mentioned how lucky i had been so far as the rain hadn’t arrived and the ten minutes later it chucked it down, doh!.
Luckily from East Molesey the route was tree lined which protected us a little from the rain and it was also becoming more rural, with less people walking the path than before. We passed by Sunbury lock and headed on round to Walton on the Thames passing by a lot of utility company sites that fortunately were behind a wall. At Walton on Thames there was a ‘Walk for Health’ group meeting up and as i approached they thought i was going to join them, i kindly smiled and walked past, they followed me for a while but then veered off in another direction.
After leaving Walton on Thames it was then only a couple more miles until we were to reach Weybridge and the route was again tree lined but with more farmland to the side. At Weybridge we were then faced with a dilemma as i had not got a map and the Thames Path was to continue via a ferry, so i had to google on my phone to see if i needed to take this boat, however i soon discovered that i didn’t as you could clearly define where the Wey connects to the Thames and a short walk across Hamhaugh Island would lead us to the Thames Lock which was where we were to leave the Thames and join the Wey navigation south. This is the 1st lock on the Wey Navigation and another milestone in the journey as we would now be leaving the Thames behind and heading south. At the lock there was a little barn with some museum boards up, telling you more about the history of the waterway.
From the Thames Lock it was a short walk along the canal which was a very tranquil and peaceful section, giving us a taste of what was to come further on. There was some very exclusive residences here with large gardens and all with boats. After about a kilometre we reached the Wey Bridge the final stop for the day.