31 May 2009

Walking across Ham Common

I walk across various parts of Ham Common several times a week (often these days to see the cygnets, ducklings and other baby birds) and it remains one of the nicest places locally for a quick stroll.

This is the start of the avenue of trees that leads across Ham Common and then all the way to Ham House. New trees have been planted in recent years to fill in some of the gaps in the avenue but sadly two have these have recently been vandalised; I hope that they will be replaced soon.

Along the avenue there are a few benches where you can pause to watch the cricket, children playing, people walking dogs and other people, like myself, just enjoying the common for what it is.

30 May 2009


The seven cygnets were out of the pond today having a good feed on the grass under the watchful gaze of their proud parents, one behind the pack and one a little further away in front.

27 May 2009

Front door at Rutland Lodge

The main entrance to Rutland Lodge is now at the rear of the building which leaves the front door free to become a decoration that offers a hint of opulence inside.

25 May 2009


It's a busy time on Ham Pond with several birds working hard to bring up this year's brood.

The cygnets have now emerged and are being closely guarded by their parents. Here some of the cygnets are on the nest next to their mother who, soon after this, took them under her wing.

Some coots have built their nest on the opposite side of the pond but there is no sign of their young yet.

24 May 2009

Ham Common Woods

I've posted a few photographs of Ham Common Woods recently and I'll probably leave it alone for a while now but it is such a great place, particularly at this time of year, that it deserves one last mention.

One of the nicest things about Ham Common Woods is that is has so many trees and so is not dominated by bushes, shrubs or undergrowth. This little cluster of trees has created a clearing for themselves by depriving the ground of light.

Here the undergrowth has managed to get a toe-hold to make a green carpet between the trees but it is not a very thick carpet and is hardly a deterrent to the serious explorer.

22 May 2009

Serious BMX jumps

Just over a year ago when I took a photograph of the home-made BMX circuit by Teddington Lock it was little more than a few small bumps but now it has developed into something really serious. There are more and bigger bumps and a curved bank at the far end.

21 May 2009

Paying close attention

Only last week the cob (male) swan was paying little attention to the pen (female) as she sat on the nest and he was happy to swim all over the pond but now he is staying very close which means that we should be seeing some cygnets soon.

18 May 2009

Sudbrook Cottages

Sudbrook Cottages in Ham Gate Avenue look gorgeous all year round thanks to the earth brown bricks, the classic windows and the pleasing proportions, but they look even better when all the plants nearby are in leaf and flower.

15 May 2009

The Copse

The Copse sits snugly on the eastern edge of Ham Lands lying between Meadlands Drive and Petersham Avenue.

It is best viewed from Melancholy Walk across the horse riding area. Here the view is nicely framed by the flowers and trees that border the path.

Inside The Copse a number of paths weave between the trees to give the explorer a choice of routes through and out of the woods.

14 May 2009

Flowers in Great South Avenue

I am not a fan of the recent work on Great South Avenue as for most of the year it leaves the avenue wide, empty and boring. Spring is different!

Soon the flowers and grasses will be cut back to the line of the trees but at the moment they are allowed to bloom to provide a colourful reminder of how beautiful the avenue can be if left to nature. This is the South-East corner looking along the avenue towards Ham House.

These flowers are at the other end of the avenue, that is the North-West corner looking along the avenue towards Ham Common.

13 May 2009

Hand and Flower reopening soon

For almost two years the Hand and Flower pub (on the corner of Ham Common) was the Legless Frog bistro but now it is to become the Hand and Flower again. Former regulars, like myself, are hoping that it will be a proper pub again where we can drop in at any time and meet up with other locals.

11 May 2009

Gardens at St Michael's Convent

St Michael's Convent on Ham Common is a large, but fairly boring, building behind which is a large and attractive garden. The garden is private but is open on a few rare days as part of the National Gardens Scheme.

The garden is in various sections, including a vegetable garden and a formal lawn with borders, but the most attractive part is the orchard where this path provides and attractive view back towards the house.

Along one of the edges of the garden the path is less formal but no less attractive.

The orchard sits in the middle of the rear part of the garden doubles as a wild garden with long grass and some wild flowers that, despite being quite small, attract attention through their sharp brilliant colours.

10 May 2009

Hardwicke House on Ham Common

Hardwicke House stands out from its neighbours on Ham Common because of its brilliant white finish that looks especially dramatic when viewed from the Common through a frame of trees. The blooming wisteria helps the look too.

9 May 2009

Entering Ham Gate Avenue

Ham Gate Avenue is a long straight road that is usually busy with traffic so it is not very appealing; I would much rather be in Ham Common Woods which is bisected by the road. However, the corner of Ham Gate Avenue and Petersham Road is a small natural gem.

8 May 2009

Wilderness at Ham House

The gardens at Ham House are in several sections and my favourite is the Wilderness, which is furthest from the house.

The main feature of the Wilderness is the multitude of pathways created by hedges. Viewed from above, the shape is like the Union Jack with an oval cut through it. This makes a multitude to straight and curved paths that are ideal for games like hide and seek.

In between the paths are odd shaped gardens that are mostly left to grass and wild flowers with a curved path mown through it to connect the entrances.

7 May 2009

The best of Ham

Ham Lands is a great place to explore at any time but it is at its best in Spring when the trees burst into leaf and all the ground plants shoot up to fill the spaces between the them. This fine example happens to be the small wood between Petersham and Ham Sea Scouts and the river but there are many places as wild and wonderful as this.

6 May 2009

Graffiti at Vine Cottages

Vine Cottages at 191 Petersham Road has had an interesting history resulting in some land-locked houses. Sadly the latest episode in the history is the defacing of the newly built numbers 3 and 4.

Communal spaces

I have said several times that what I like most about Ham is the communal spaces that are scattered throughout the area. Ham Common and Ham Lands are the two biggest examples of these but the smaller spaces in the residential areas are also delightful. This is particularly true in the Wates Estate that is cleverly laid our and wonderfully landscaped.

To be honest, I am not exactly sure where this is as I was wandering aimlessly when I came across it. What started as a small path to a set of garages became a wider path between houses and then wider still with trees and planters.

The best example of these spaces is the set of gardens hidden behind houses in Fellbrook, Broughton Avenue, Kingsfisher Drive and Riverside Drive.

4 May 2009

Feeding horse

There are several places in Ham that you can expect to find horses. This one is looking at me suspiciously as he has his lunch by the concrete barrier that protects Riverside Drive from any wayward firing at the Ham and Petersham Rifle and Pistol Club.

3 May 2009

Petersham elephants

These topiary elephants are a famous local landmark despite being hidden behind the high wall and solid gate of Whorne’s Place, 254 Petersham Road.

The best way to see them is from the front of the top deck of a 65 bus heading towards Kingston. I tried taking a photograph from there several times but the bus glass was always too dirty for a decent picture so, in desperation, I resorted to simply holding my camera up above the gate.

Extending gardens

The nicest feature of the Wates Estate is the mature landscaped open spaces that writhe between between the houses and garages so it is rather a shame that a section of Fellbrook has made a land-grab and part of an open space on Riverside Drive is being added to their gardens.

1 May 2009


I like the bright colours and the shapes of tulips so it was a pleasant surprise to find this clump of flowers on Riverside Drive.