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Richmond to Ham House

An easy riverside circuit ideal for all ages.


Minimum time 1h30

Distance 5.5 miles (8.9km)

Difficulty Easy

Suggested map  OS Explorer 161 London South

Start/finish  Watermans Arms, Water Lane, Richmond; grid ref: TQ 176747

Trails/tracks  largely compacted gravel and surfaced tracks

Landscape  riverside

Public toilets  in Buccleugh Gardens

Tourist information  Richmond, tel 020 8940 9125

Bike hire  Roehampton Gate, Richmond Park, tel 07050 209249

Recommended pub  Watermans Arms, Richmond

Notes Some rough unsurfaced riverside sections


© Automobile Association 2015. © Crown Copyright Licence number 100021153

Getting to the start

The Watermans Arms is in Water Lane, a cobbled street that runs between the main post office and the river. It is approached via Red Lion Street in the town centre's one-way system. Richmond Riverside car park is just to the west of Water Lane.

1 From Water Lane head down the hill to the riverside. Wheel your bike along to Richmond Bridge. Beyond the bridge the tow path runs alongside a narrow strip of parkland parallel with Petersham Road. Soon Buccleugh Gardens is reached and the path moves briefly inland.

2 The path returns towards the river to skirt the edge of Petersham Meadows. Continue straight ahead at the River Lane slipway. This section of the path can be slightly rough.

3 At Hammerton's Ferry head inland across the boardwalk. Take the bridleway which runs alongside Ham House. At the end of the first section bear diagonally right to pick up Melancholy Walk. Look at the view back to the house behind you, then cross Sandy Lane and continue straight on till the path emerges at Ham Common.

4 Turn right at Ham Common and keep straight ahead along Lock Road. At the end turn right into Broughton Avenue, left into Simpson Road and left into Hardwicke Road. Follow the cycle signs for the alleyway to reach Riverside Drive and the approach to Teddington Lock.

5 At the footbridge turn right and join the riverside path. Pass the locks which mark the limit of the tidal Thames. Soon you come to Thames Young Mariners Base; cross the bridge here and enter the Ham Lands Nature Reserve. Ham House is once again revealed, just past Eel Pie Island.

6 From Ham House return to Richmond via your outward route.

Built in 1610, Ham House (see Route 9) is best remembered as home to the flamboyant Duchess of Lauderdale, whose political scheming was at the heart of Civil War politics and Restoration intrigue. Some claim that the Duchess still haunts the house today. The garden is gradually being restored to its 17th-century splendour. The Orangery houses a tea room, which offers menus inspired by the gardens, such as lavender syllabub, using lavender grown in the famous Ham cherry gardens, and locally made sausages cooked in apple and onion gravy, flavoured with sage from the Ham gardens.

Quarries once occupied the site of what is now Ham Lands Nature Reserve. These were filled in after World War Two with rubble from London buildings destroyed in the blitz. The variety of soils from all over the capital has created a unique pattern of different vegetation types attracting many unusual species.

Why do this bike ride?

A fairly gentle yet fulfilling circular ride based in the busy shopping and cultural centre of Richmond, taking in the village of Ham. Discover what happened to the rubble from World War Two blitz on London.


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