Two more sections of the London Loop covered - Kingston to Hatton Cross(section 9) and Coulsdon South to Banstead(section 6). Both sections took me by surprise. I found myself walking through green spaces with hardly any roadwork. Section 9 covers Hampton Wick, Bushy Park, Fulwell Park and Hounslow Heath where a man got bitten by an adder the other day. I didn't see any snakes but it is quite a spooky place and I wouldn't want to be walking there on my own. James II camped his army there for military exercises and later it as a haunt of highwaymen and footpads. Now is just the planes coming into Heathrow to bother you!
Bushy Park is lovely, once a favoured royal hunting ground for Henry VIII, with its four deep avenues of lime and chesnut trees planted during the reign of James 1, The Waterhouse Woodland Gardens with the Longford River meandering through and the azaleas casting their scent, are charming. Then surprisingly, you come upon Upper Lodge, once the home of keepers of the Park including Duke of Clarence who left orders on his death for the free admission of the public to the park, now a private home, The lakes have been restored where once the Admiralty tested mines. Such fascinating nuggets of information!
My walking partner, Cos, and I then walked up the River Crane to Hounslow Heath, a pretty and rather wild valley, once a place of much industry including the making of gunpowder and shot at Shot Tower, unfortunately closed, and now a haven for birds and animals.
The bus from Hatton Cross takes you to Feltham Station and the train back into London.
12 miles walked and just under 5 hours taken, including various deviations to look at points of interest, eat sanies, enjoy views etc.
Section 6 took me through lovely suburban Coulsdon bursting with blossom and bird song and then I was off into green lanes, ancient tracks, open fields including a lavender field, with glimpses of London's skyline in the distance. I couldn't believe how rural it was and only a 25 minute train journey away from central London. I hardly walked on any tarmac except to cross a few roads.
Have you heard of Oaks Park? Well, I hadn't until I walked through it. It is the reason why we have the famous horse races, the Oaks and the Derby. It was where Lord Derby lived and on the toss of a coin to name a new race, he won and Sir Charles Bunbury lost. How lucky was that! The Epsom Bunbury doesn't quite have the same ring as the Epsom Derby. The house is no longer except a chalk outline on the ground but the grotto is enchanting and some of the outbuildings remain. Anyway it was a nice place to buy an ice-cream and go to the loo. I then walked across Banstead Downs watching the brimstone, the spotted wood and the peacock butterflies dancing in the sun and caught the train back into London from little Banstead station. I walked 7.5 miles and it took 3 hours, with a bit of dithering about, taking photos, enjoying views etc!!
A green lane, one of several I walked down between Coulsdon and Banstead.
The tall buildings of London in the far distance. Believe it or not, I am in zone 6!
Mayfield Lavender fields, about 10/12 acres I estimated!
Oaks Park Grotto!
Banstead Downs on a spring day.