5 September 2017

A walk along the Thames Path – Putney, Fulham Palace and Wandsworth

Nine months ago – yes – it's taken me that long to sort out a huge backlog of photos(!) – I gathered a few friends together and we went on a circular walk along the Thames starting and ending at Putney Bridge Station.
On this chilly December Sunday we walked south across Putney Bridge, turned left after St Mary's Church to follow a short section of the Thames Path in front of some nasty modern riverfront buildings, stopped to question some strange sculptures, then continued down Deodor Road and into Wandsworth Park.


The path then took us in, past and around some more new build which had some colourful carpet-esque tiles and mirrors which I think are supposed to evoke a comfy indoor environment. Then a diversion led us down some some ugly back streets full of rubbish which seemed at odds with the luxury/bespoke/exclusive (or whatever silly words the agents were employing) apartments a stone's throw away, to get to a section of almost natural habitat where Bell Lane Creek and the River Wandle meet the Thames.
Information boards were in place to tell us about the environment and how nature is being encouraged to reclaim the environment. Well, I wish nature would reclaim more than just the river banks there. The sign said that they expected "the work to be finished by by Spring 2017" so if you live around there please do send me an update. Thanks.
Nearby we noticed some other signs warning of a potential toilet/electricity accident. Ouch!
In Smugglers Way – don't get excited about the name of this road because there is no longer anything historical there let alone anything that hints at smuggling – but there was/is a big chunk of a very old olive tree from Aleppo in Syria said to date from 1600 in the forecourt of the wood reclamation flooring company, opposite Wandsworth's waste recycling centre. Again, if anyone has any more info on this, do let me know.
All this art and history was hard work so we stopped for lunch in The Ship. Sad to report that my memory of that place from when I used to go there, ooh, about 25 years ago, is far better than what I see there now. Like many places, the charm has gone. the Ship's popularity over the decades has, to my mind, changed it beyond all recognition and it's no longer that special hidden cosy historical place – I'd hate to think what it's like there on a Friday or Saturday evening as it was horribly noisy when we were there and it wasn't very busy at all at that time. Pubs these days rip out the dividing walls and the carpets and instead have bare floors and wooden chairs with no upholstery, not even any drapes at the windows and all this does is create noisy environments because there is nothing to absorb the sound.
From here we walked north across Wandsworth Bridge and left into Carnwath Road, somehow losing one of our group (who hadn't quite understood the circular route and got lost – oops) and then we headed northwards up Broomfield Lane, because The Hurlingham Club won't allow a path at the river's edge, past an old dilapidated building that evokes Evelyn Waugh novels, and then back to the start point via the park and Ranleigh Gardens.
Are you keeping up?!
And then we just about had time for a swift visit to Fulham Palace house including a peek into the chapel as it was closing (marvellous!). Phew. Oh, last pic above is an artwork there that I thought was by my friend Paul Bommer who did the wall murals at Fortnam and Mason, but no, just checked and it's not one of his.
FP needs a re-visit. There is so much to see, especially the gardens etc. It needs a lazy day. The idea was to go back in the summer time but it's September already and I doubt this will happen again any time soon.
We finished the day off with a few beers in The Eight Bells near Putney Bridge Station.

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