31 May 2008

Elm Lodge

The main point of the day was to look at the gardens but I could not resist taking this picture of the gloriously haphazard house at #4.

(Former) All Saints Church

Petersham Village Hall was open for very welcome tea and cakes during the Open Gardens and next to the hall is the former church which is now a private residence.

Grass and glass

Another view of the larger section of garden #7, this time looking back towards the house.

Nesting moorhens

Another view of the pond in garden #8. A careful look reveals nesting moorhens near the left bank.

Shacks on Upper Ham Road

In the bottom corner of Ham Common, on Upper Ham Road, you will find this collection of temporary looking buildings that are used as shops and as the club house for the Ham and Petersham Cricket Club.

30 May 2008

White cottages

The brilliant white of the cottages provides a nice backdrop to the neat and tidy garden #6.


Garden #7 is split into two parts, separated by a garden room (which they call a the pavilion). The smaller section is a verdant moist jungle.


This folly in garden #8 is at the far end of the garden and offers magnificent views across the large pond towards the house.

Blue tiles

In garden #9 we find another lion water feature. Either everybody has the same taste in garden design or they all make the same selection from the limited stock at Petersham Nurseries.

Church bell

The corner of the of St Richard's Church that points east along Croft Way (like the bow of a ship) ends with a small triangular space which holds the church bell.

29 May 2008

Formal courtyard

The most recently constructed garden and the most modern in design was #7, belonging to one of three houses built in 2004. The large white wall on the right is the house next door.

Fantastic view

It was worth going to Petersham Village Open Gardens 2008 just for this one view across the large pond at garden #8.

Petersham Lodge

Walking around the gardens also gives you the opportunity to look at the houses and this is Petersham Lodge (#8).

Lion plaque

This is another one of the Petersham lions, here on a plaque in garden #1.

Wild flowers

A typical view of Ham Lands at this time of year.

28 May 2008

Garden map

Garden #8 was so large it had its own map copies of which were displayed throughout the garden with helpful "you are here" pointers.

Avenue of trees

This neat avenue of trees forms part of the border of garden #8. It would have looked even better if they had put the hosepipe away!

Dribbling lion

Two of the recurring themes in the Petersham Village Open Gardens were lions and water features. Here we have both together in garden #1.

Ham Street cottages

In the middle of Ham Street is this chocolate-box selection of brilliant white cottages which look all the better for having been recently renovated in the same style.


I have no idea why the river banks get mown so savagely. They look really ugly like this and I much prefer the sections where the plants are left alone.

27 May 2008


Rosebank (garden #9) is a Victorian in-fill with a well kept and very private garden.

Magnolia House

Garden number 1 in Petersham Open Gardens 2008 was at this lovely former coach house at 143a Petersham Road. Once home to horses it is now where local celebrity writers live.

Facing north

The horse chestnut trees on the south-west side of Ham Common are stripped green and grey as the invading lichen hides from the sun on the north side of the trees.


This is a glorious time of year to wander aimlessly around Ham Lands and to enjoy the profusion of trees, bushes, flowers and grasses. This is what makes Ham Lands special.


I really like this battered old hut lurking off Lock Road where the aura of disuse and disrepair is enhanced by the two rusted drums. There is nothing on the site to say what it is, or was, used for.

Update: I am grateful to Simon Muddiman for providing some information about this hut. He says, "It was known as the Horti Hut and was run by a guy called Dennis Willis who was the Chair of the Ham Horticultural Society (I think). It was open Sunday mornings for people to buy all things horticultural!  I have fond memories of going with my Grandfather riding his trolley and coming back with bags of peat, pots, seedlings etc."

26 May 2008

Petersham Village Open Gardens 2008

Petersham Village Open Gardens 2008 was an opportunity to explore some local private gardens, as indicated on this map stuck to the inside of a wet bus stop.


BG53 KVR ignores the "No Entry" signs to get to a parking space on Parkleys Parade.


The new house on the south-west side of Ham Common has now acquired railings that help to soften the impact of the brash shutters on the upper floor.

St Richard's Church

St Richard's Church is, architecturally, one of the most interesting buildings in Ham, which is why I keep taking pictures of it. It is shaped like a six-sided star drawn the way that we were taught at school using two equilateral triangles. Three of the points of the star rise to a point like triangular pyramids, as seen on the left here, which makes the roof geometrically and aesthetically pleasing.


There are many paths in Ham Lands most of which are little more than minor dents in the grass that seem to wander aimlessly. An exception is the path that follows the river as it flows north-west and the north from Teddington Lock towards Thames Young Mariner's lake where it turns sharply east towards Riverside Drive. Despite being the major path in Ham Lands (apart from the tow path) it is still very rare to come across anybody else on it.


Nettles are not everybody's favourite plant but they can make an impressive display, such as here in Petersham Lodge Woods.

25 May 2008

Old fence

The remnants of an old fence give a sense of lost history to this wild part of Ham Lands by Teddington Lock.

Along the tow path

Walking along the tow path your eye is naturally dawn towards the river but it is worth fighting this urge and instead to look towards Ham Lands to savour the natural beauty there.

24 May 2008


The clutch of flats in the triangle formed by Riverside Drive, Hardwicke Road and Cave Road stand sharply upright in contrast with the grass that meanders between them. This blow is softened by the few flats that have domesticated some of the barren lands with plants, pots, statues and, in this case, a charming shed.

By Ham House

Between Ham House and the river is an open space that is (more or less) left to grow wild. It looks at its best at this time of the year when all the wild flowers shoot up.

23 May 2008

Petersham Lodge Woods

There are two main paths in Petersham Lodge Woods, both of them leading to the gate to the lodge gardens, but there are also a few smaller paths that are worth exploring to experience that well-away-from-it-all feeling.

Riverside Drive

This is the junction of Riverside Drive with Ham Street viewed across the small green there.

22 May 2008

Recreation Ground

Between the more formal King George's Field and the river is this recreation ground, It is a nice place to have family picnics and to start explorations of the wilder parts of Ham Lands that begins with the trees in the distance.


There is a rugged beauty to this wall at The Manor House in Ham Street that is enhanced by the rusty pipe bursting through it.

21 May 2008

Great River Avenue

Great River Avenue runs from east to west across the front of Ham House and parallels the Thames as it flows from Ham to Petersham. The avenue was designed as the backbone to the Ham Estate and dominated the valley floodplain.

20 May 2008

King George's Field

The entrance to King George's Field, off Ham Street , is announced by this grand sign.

19 May 2008

Beaufort House and Cottage

There is a cluster of gorgeous Georgian houses on Ham Street by the junction with Sandy Lane. This includes the grand Beaufort House and it's smaller, but not lesser, companion Beaufort Cottage.

18 May 2008

This land is private

There is no longer any need to announce that there is no public right of way here as the path in question does not exist any more but I am glad that this piece of history has been kept, it can be found by the entrance to the Legless Frog (Hand and Flower) on Upper Ham Road.

16 May 2008

Royal Park Gate

I took this picture to show just how green parts of Royal Park Gate are. It was taken where Northweald Lane turns sharply west and is looking south-west along the cycle/footpath (marked by lamp posts) towards the river.

14 May 2008

Home made fence

This part of the fence along the north side of Dukes Avenue has been made from uneven lengths of wood which creates interesting shapes that have now weathered into striking shades of grey. Lovely!

13 May 2008

Petersham Nurseries

Petersham Nurseries is hidden between River Lane and Petersham Road, is hard to get to by car and parking is a nightmare, so I cycle or walk which is a lot easier and a lot more fun.

A few years ago this was a traditional nursery but recently it has started selling fewer of the basics and more of the expensive and quirky items, such as very large pots, metal rocking chairs and Indian parasols. Some of the plants have also made way for the cafe which is now the main reason that many people visit there.

12 May 2008


I'm not sure that you are allowed to go where I went to take this picture but intrepid explorers take these sorts of risks! There is a walkway that gives access to the flats above the shops on the north-east side of Ham Parade (the more modern bit) and from here you can see Parkleys, the garages behind the shops and a head.

11 May 2008


Recent pruning has exposed this simple but attractive plaque marking the building of Parkleys. If you look at the full size picture carefully you can see that it reads, "Parkleys. 1954/1956. A Span development." It also has the architect's name but that is impossible to read.

Fallen blossom

The many Cherry trees provide a sudden brilliant burst of colour each Spring but now the blossom is falling like confetti transferring the colour from the sky to the ground.