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Flâneurs June Challenge II.(a): A walk to the Snail Reserve

On Tuesday, I did the Flâneurs June Challenge II.(a), which was to choose a rail terminus and follow the railway line from it. I was led from Richmond station to a snail reserve!

I chose Richmond as my rail terminus, as the District and Overground lines terminate there, and convinced threebytesfull to accompany me. (He kindly took GPS tracks of where we walked.) I am a regular tube walker (See: tubewalkers)) and was worried that walking from Richmond would overlap with that, but then I realised that the Richmond to Kew Gardens walk was walk number 129. We have only just done walk 90, so it will probably take another 3 or 4 years to get to there, and even then we'll probably take a different route, so I stopped worrying about it.

Out of the station, and then up Kew Road and there was a stone marking that we were VIII miles from Hyde Park Corner:

VIII Miles

Then down Church Road, before we looked at a map and realised we could have taken a short cut by following a footpath, and that would have kept us closer to the railway. Oh well.

On the pavement was a card with "Racing Roger":

Racing Roger

Larkfield Road was the next road we went up, but we were unable to get close to the railway and realised most of the roads that went closest to it were dead ends. Instead, we walked down Lower Mortlake Road and then Crofton Terrace.

Trains were sighted! We saw District line and Overground trains go by, and crossed a bridge with unintelligible silver graffiti on it, before realising that this was where the District Line and Overground lines diverged from the normal train line.

View from the bridge:
Beside the railway

Back across the bridge, and then we followed Dee Road, and then up Victoria Villas. On this stretch of the journey, we met a friendly black and orange cat who seemed insistent on joining us on the walk, and kept jumping up to be stroked by us.

Eventually we left the cat behind and went back onto Lower Mortlake Road for a bit until we went down Trinity Road, then St George's, but alas, St George's was a dead end, and we turned back around. We did see a cottage named "Wink Twice Cottage" there though:

Wink Twice

We crossed the roundabout and then were able to follow the railway line properly again, as we walked up North Road.

We took a diversion into North Sheen Recreation Ground which had little mushrooms growing in it, and a strange poster that indicated orangutans are found in North Sheen.

Durian Fruits

North Road ended and we found we were at Kew Gardens station, but decided to continue, onto West Park Road and then Burlington Avenue. Onto Mortlake Road after that, and then down a footpath, which went past the National Archives.

It was then that we reached the Snail Reserve. A sign told us that two-lipped door snails were introduced to the UK by the Romans, and are quite rare, but can be found in this Snail Reserve and surrounding areas. It is also know as the "Thames Door Snail". We did not see any, but we did see many other snails. I got stung by nettles while reading the sign.

Two-Lipped Door Snail

After that, we reached the river, and the train line continued across the railway bridge, where as people could not. That seemed a fitting end to the walk.

Kew Railway Bridge

To get back to Richmond, we followed the river and walked along the Thames Path, past Oliver's Eyot, past the Brentford Ait, past Kew Gardens, and a key and keyhole explaining where the name "Kew" came from:

Key

Keyhole

We then found a piece of paper with what seemed like directions, perhaps for a boat? (Anyone have any ideas about this list? I have plotted some of the points on a map.)

1: Usual

Then we walked past Isleworth Ait, past the Old Deer Park and two meridian line viewing spots, underneath the railway line and then we were back in Richmond.

Map:

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It's always annoyed me that you can't walk across the railway bridge that sits between Kew and Chiswick, as there are some generally pleasant pubs on the other side of the river, but none on the south side in that stretch.

Perhaps adding to the irritation, the other railway bridges along that general section of the river either include a footpath (Barnes/Putney) or else have a separate bridge with pedestrian access closeby (Richmond/Hampton).

For many years, I have assumed that I was the only person in the world irritated by this. Your post has given me new hope.

Nice end of walk photo :)

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