London Loop: 7. Kingston To Hatton Cross

By M@ Last edited 169 months ago

Last Updated 13 April 2010

London Loop: 7. Kingston To Hatton Cross

After dusting down the hiking boots following a seemingly never-ending winter, we used the weekend to continue our trek around the London Loop - the 150 mile circuit of the capital, mostly at Zone 6 radius.

This section starts at Kingston Bridge, heading out into Bushy Park, perhaps the least known of the Royal Parks. If you've never visited before, seek to correct that situation as soon as possible. Bushy offers the stark contrasts of untended shrubland and sylvan gardens straight out the Book of Genesis (the opening bit, before He gets all wrathful). Like neighbouring Richmond Park, the grounds offer the uniquely London experience of walking among wild parakeets and two species of deer.Leaving the park, a long stretch of suburbia reminds us that we're doing the Loop, whose most reliable feature on any section is a mixture of verdant pleasures and humdrum housing. After a mile or so, we hook up with the River Crane, our sometime companion on the previous leg. The river sports its industrial heritage in several places, most saliently in the form of a lead-shot tower and remains of gunpowder factories.Following another lengthy concrete diversion, we swing into Hounslow Heath, one-time haunt of highwaymen and other outlaws. The scrubland still feels slightly menacing, but the constant roar of banking jets from Heathrow prevents the Heath from slipping into eerie silence. A final stretch of the Crane leads us out to Hatton Cross, and a much needed pint at the superb Green Man pub. It comes as no surprise to learn that the inn claims associations with Dick Turpin, a man who could fight (and beat) both Charles Dickens and Samuel Johnson in the pub patronage stakes. Catching the bus back to Kingston (Piccadilly Line closed), we must have been close to encountering Diamond Geezer, who's also exploring the area this week.View London LOOP in a larger mapx