29 November 2011

Crashing down

The line of trees along Dukes Avenue that once disguised the British Aerospace factory have been looking old and tired for some time, and some of them have already been removed, so it was not a great surprised when another one of them fell.

Luckily they all lean slightly away from the houses so the residents were safe. The railings along the front were less so and they now bulge out across the pavement.

26 November 2011

Large bridge to a small path

Douglas Footpath takes a circuitous route from the towpath to Petersham Avenue as it navigates past the scouts and the German School. For most of this journey it is a narrow path over uneven ground but the entrance from the towpath belies this modesty with a wide sturdy bridge that helps you cross the sometimes wet ditch.

23 November 2011

A walk on the quiet side

The tow path that follows the eastern boundary of Ham is a mixed experience. Parts of it are always busy, such as the section by Teddington Lock, while others are only busy on bright days or when a sponsored walk or cycle passes through.

I prefer to walk where and when it is quiet because then you are in environments like this and you can forget how crowded the rest of London is.

21 November 2011

Escape in to Ham Lands

I find the stretch of the tow path between Teddington Lock and Ham House a little boring due to the lack of views and even a little difficult because of the narrow rocky path.

So when a gap opens up to reveal a soft green path leading in to the heart of Ham Lands there is a strong temptation to heed the siren call of the scenery and to melt quietly in to the wilderness.

19 November 2011

Low water with lone boat

The regular rise and fall of the river and the frequent flooding of the tow path can lead you to think that the Thames is naturally tidal as it sweeps back and forth to Teddington Lock but for most of the year it is kept artificially high by Richmond Lock.

Then, every November it is allowed free reign and it delights is falling much lower, revealing more of the shore, stranding boats moored along the banks and allowing passage only to canoes.

17 November 2011

Works by the pond

A big hole has appeared alongside Ham Pond together with an assortment of metal and wood objects that suggest that some major work is under way. I presume that this is to do with the pond, which may be why it was unusually low at the time.

11 November 2011

Coloured markings

It is quite common to see runes painted on roads and pavements as heralds of either impending works or the arrival of a daemon from a mystical realm but these signs are normally scrawled in primitive chalk so the use of colour suggests that something very special is going to happen. If it does then I'll let you know.

8 November 2011

Royal Park Gates

I am not sure who, apart from estate agents, still uses the description Royal Park Gate for the houses built on the former BAe site but that was the name given to it when it was built about fifteen years ago.

In keeping with that name, there are fake gates at either end of the pedestrian and cycle route that runs through the development, starting at the junction of Dukes Avenue and Northweald Lane and leading on to the tow path beside the river.

Impressive though these brick pillars and iron gates are it is immediately clear that they do not close and were never intended to.

5 November 2011

Folding doors

As I've remarked before, Lock Road is a mixed bag that is overall has a pleasing and welcoming charm. It's the sort of road that you want to walk down. On the south side at the east end (between Back Lane and Craig Road) there are a few terraces of neat cottages that have shuffled close to the road so that we can appreciate them more.

The climbing rose, low clipped hedge and neat white gate are all lovely but the front door is special. The line down the centre and the hinge between the letter box and door handle reveal that that, very unusually, this front door folds as it opens.

I had the pleasure of walking through it once when the former owners were regulars at the Hand and Flower and some of us were invited back there for late drinks.

3 November 2011

Colourful flowers at Ham House

Most of the gardens at Ham House rely on shapes and subtle colours to make their point but the Orangery Kitchen Garden disregards that rule and goes for messes of bright colours instead.

The mixed planting in the parallel beds that run away from The Orangery cafe is there to service the house with food and flowers but it does not hurt that it is pretty too.

2 November 2011

Wandering in the Wilderness

The Wilderness is my favourite part of Ham House and Gardens and this picture gives a hint of why that is.

Firstly it's green. Very green. And green means natural. The grasses, hedges and trees all battling to demonstrate their superiority in greenness. Secondly, it's enchanted with memories of every happy childhood. Here you expect to see Rupert playing with the Bash Street Kids.

The scheming paths and the intransigent hedges always offer the promise of something new and exciting around the next corner. A pixie perhaps?

1 November 2011

New lavenders

Last time I was in the Cherry Garden at Ham House the old tired lavenders had been dug up and work was under-way to replace them with some young blood.The children are now nicely settled in and looking forward to playing in the wide open spaces between them.