London Loop Section 8 – Kingston to Ewell
Always great to revisit summer walks in these cold winter days. Back in August I picked up the London Loop Section 8 in Kingston and followed it to Ewell. This section of the London Loop follows the Hogsmill River for long sections, crosses over a barrow in slumbering suburban streets, and passes through one of Britain’s most beloved sitcom settings in Surbiton.
Here’s an edited transcript of the video
Great to be back on the London Loop down here at Kingston on Thames? I don’t even know bit of a walk I’m doing here through Kingston along the Charter Quay is actually on the London Loop, but I’m going to walk along anyway.
This is the beginning here at Kingston. Picking up from where I left off in May and I don’t know where I’ll end up, but I want to have a look at the King Stone. This must be the Hogsmill River, which is where we start the walk, before the Hogsmill is about to make its confluence with the Thames. And here’s the London Loop sign, which I found by accident, next to this kind of really old battered phone box.
The King Stone, the famous Anglo Saxon coronation stone, and these are the names of the Anglo Saxon Kings, that are said to have been crowned upon this stone:
Edmund, Adelstan, which I think is Athelstan – Michael Wood, the great historian considers him the greatest of Anglo-Saxon Kings. Edward, Adelred, another Edward, Edwic, Eadred. Actually the name Kingston isn’t derived from this coronation stone, according to Steve Roud and his book London Lore a really wonderful book, Kingston actually was already in use before the first known coronation and it means a Royal estate or palace and the actual word is Cyningestun. What a great thing to kick off this section of the London Loop.
I started the London loop, I think it was January, 2018 this is the furthest out for me being in Leytonstone and I started at Enfield. I come all the way around now to Kingston, took a while to get here. I’m walking the London Loop anti-clockwise. I don’t think there should be a way you do it personally, but all the directions are given in a clockwise direction.
The walk I’m doing today is territory which is completely unknown to me. So we’ve come across that dreadful roundabout there. It has the feeling of Slough or Reading. It’s like a big town. Then we’re going to go pick up the old footpath here.
I had a brief chat with my friend Nick Papadimitriou on the phone, and he said, apparently this is a Richard Jefferies river, mentioned in piece called London Trout (in his book Nature Near London).
We have an interesting I bridge above the Hogsmill opened in 1894. We now go down this little path between the river and the school.
What’s the other association with the Thames at Kingston, of course is Jerome K Jerome’s three men in a boat. That’s another area where the associations of Caesar’s invasion of Britain.
The Stanley Picker Gallery, which I wanted to visit for a while, looks closed. Had some interesting exhibitions in the past. Center for Sseless Splendor, sounds great.
You can mostly do the London Loop without a map. I think. It’d be interesting to see if I can get away with it today. I have got both the TFL maps I printed out and an Ordinance Survey map. I’ll see how far we get just following the London Loop signs.
[I went the wrong way almost instantly] It’s quite funny after saying that about the London Loop signs, I followed the sign in the direction it was pointing and actually took me away from the river and when I looked at the map on my phone, it was quite a long way off course.
I think that’s King Athelstan school. Well after that rather curious contradiction in the London Loop signs, we’re back on track.
We continue down Villiers Road and head towards Berrylands Station. Turn off Villiers down Lower Marsh Lane, which promises great things, doesn’t it?
The Western section of the London Loop really is an edgelands ramble, isn’t it? Here we’re walking between a water treatment works and a cemetery can’t get much more edgelands than that.
Wow. It’s really is a major water treatment works, isn’t it? These great temples rising from the undergrowth.
Berrylands Station, believe we just carry on under the bridge here. This is great. This little stack of pallets here, stuff with straw and twigs and what have you is a breeding habitat for stag beetles. Isn’t that great? This is an interesting parade of shops here.
The Hogsmill at Kingston
So I’ve managed to go a little bit astray there just as I was saying about freewheeling it. But at that point I ended up following a tributary of the Hogsmill, so I’m just going to loop back on myself slightly.
[In a street somewhere in Surbiton] This is a history of really fascinating architecture. It’s kind of like a mixture of arts and crafts and and kind of modernism Bauhaus in suburbia.
It’s not as bad as I thought. It only took me about 10 minutes to get back to the Hogsmill. I don’t regret that little diversion as a delightful little tributary of the Hogsmill.
You down the road here and then there’s an underpass. I just have to find the path now.
Here we go back on the London Loop. I really got that urge to go backpacking again.
Wow. This is lovely, beautiful, big open space opening up, green parakeets, glycerine through the branches. It this really beautiful Willow arch somebody made.
This mosaic on the wall. They’ve really captured the magic of the edgelands in this bit of artwork. It’s a reference to a Millais, the famous image of Ophelia floating drowned in a river. Well that’s actually was painted, near here in the Hogsmill river.
There’s climbing quite steep Hill now. This is the parish church of St John the Baptist Malden
Barrow Hill, ‘barrow’ as we know is a burial mound that makes you wonder whether that was once a burial mound on this Hill here.
At that point in the year, now we’re about two thirds of the way through the year when you start to reflect on the walks you’ve done throughout the year. Some, absolute cracking walks this year. It’s been a great year of walking and they come back to in little snippets again,
A Toby Carvery a real symbol of the edgelands of as much as I bought a water treatment works.
A sign for the County of Surrey, you have to come up on cross this race track here they call a road then just on the other side carry on.
I have to say the Hogsmill has been one of the most of the delightful London tributaries that I’ve ever walked along. Really picturesque the whole way.
Somehow managed to turn this into an 11 mile walk. West Ewell Station is where I think I’ll end today’s walk. It must be what, six o’clock ish? What a cracker, the London Loop always delivers.