Two dogs better than one?

We are currently fostering TWO Labradors, Cookie and Tess. I was apprehensive at first, but it turns out that they are probably less work than one Ralph.

Cookie is a very overweight 6 year old dog who loves water:Cookie

and Tess is a 4 year old bitch who doesn’t:Tess

We took them for a walk in the woods, and they were fine off the lead.Cookie and TessCookie in stream

They have always been together, and hopefully a suitable home can be found for both of them…

London Loop Walk 11 – Hayes & Harlington to Uxbridge

Slightly cooler today, so yet again I squeeze onto the 0939 (the first off-peak fast train) to Waterloo East. Tube to Paddington, and then a noisy diesel train to Hayes & Harlington station.

From there, it’s a short walk to the Grand Union canal towpath:Grand Union Canal

I followed this for a while, then headed off to Stockley Park, which despite being a new business park apparently cloned on the Milton Keynes model, actually has a lot of nice paths through woodland:Stockley Park

There is a viewpoint in the park – it’s not that high, but much higher than everything around, so you can see quite a way:Stockley Park View

The bridge makes a nice crossing over the busy A408 that bisects the park:Stockley Park Bridge

Then back to nice paths and woodland:Stockley Park

Eventually this park will join back to the canal, but for now there is a bit of street walking through a noisy industrial estate at Yiewsley:Yiewsley Industrial Estate

Back on the canal, the Western Main line is nearby:Grand Union Canal


Grand Union Canal

I then headed off down the Slough Arm by the marina at Little Britain:

Grand Union Canal - Little Britain


A bit further down, a lovely quiet path follows the River Colne through woodland, despite the M25 being under a mile away!Colne Valley Regional ParkColne Valley Regional Park Wier

Further on, the path still follows the river, but with an industrial estate on the other side, which wasn’t quite as nice:Colne Valley Regional Park

Then a bit more street walking back again to the Grand Union canal at Uxbridge:

Grand Union Canal

Then it’s just a short walk through the High Street to Uxbridge Underground Station.

Incidentally, since the advent of the craze for Pokemon Go, I now get strange looks if I look at the map on my smartphone whilst walking. Oh well…

9.6 miles walking, 4 Geocaches and 3 Coalposts today.

London Loop Walk 12 and 13 – Uxbridge to Moor Park

For more information on the London Loop, see // and //

London Loop Walk 9 & 10 – Kingston to Hayes & Harlington

Another fine day, so it’s back on the trains for the next section of my London Loop walk. First a train to Waterloo East, then the all stations train from Waterloo to Hampton Wick:Hampton Wick Station

From the station, it was a short walk through the town to the London Loop route through Bushy Park. I don’t think I’d ever been there before; it’s a very large and varied collection of both ‘wild’ and ‘cultivated’ park, with many streams, rivers and lakes criss-crossing it. And deer, though I didn’t see any.Bushy ParkBushy ParkBushy Park

3 Miles and a chat with a couple of dog walkers later, the northern boundary of the park was reached, and suburban streets beckoned. The route follows the boundary of Fulwell Golf Course, but this was totally shielded by a row of trees!Teddington

After another bit along a busy road, the route finally reaches Crane Park, which follows the River Crane. It was nice to get back to countryside!Crane Park

The Shot Tower is a listed building and the remaining skeleton of an ancient gunpowder mill which was built in 1766:Shot Tower

Unfortunately, after a while, the river is inaccessible, so more road and a nice track across Hounslow Heath:Hounslow Heath

This eventually leads back to the River Crane in Donkey Wood:Donkey Wood

with a nice boardwalk made from recycled plastic:Donkey Wood

Eventually, the busy A30 was reached. The end of Section 9 is down this road at Hatton Cross tube station, but I couldn’t face the thought of the long journey back on the tube, so pressed on.A30 Great South West Road

The route is now very close to Heathrow Airport:Airport Hangers

After a while, it was back to countryside in River Crane Park, but with a very flooded path:River Crane Park - Flooded Path

Getting around this bit was interesting…
The peace and quiet was shattered every few minutes as a plane came into land at Heathrow:River Crane Park

Then another short bit of suburbia at Cranford, still with the ever present planes:Cranford

then through Cranford Countryside Park to some nicely preserved stable blocks:Stable Blocks

The route then crosses the M4, thankfully with an underpass:M4 Underpass

After a bit more road walking, I reached the Grand Union Canal, very near to Bull’s Bridge, were a branch went to Paddington:Grand Union Canal

Section 10 ends here, so it was a short walk to Hayes & Harlington station, where I caught a little diesel train (not this one!) back to London and home.Hayes and Harlington Station

A total of 16 miles and one geocache today. It surprised me how much countryside and open space there was, despite it being such a busy area of London.

London Loop Walk 11 – Hayes and Harlington to Uxbridge

For more information on the London Loop, see // and //

London Loop Walk 8 – Ewell to Kingston

A good (and dry!) weather forecast today (as it turned out, a bit too warm), so a good day to do the next section of my London Loop Walk.
The trains in the London Loop 8 area go from Waterloo, which isn’t always that accessible at weekends due to engineering work, so it was worth braving crowded trains to do this section during the week. Outbound was easy, a train to Waterloo East, then another from Waterloo Main Line back to Ewell West.

From the station, it was a short walk to the London Loop at Bourne Hall Park, with yet another London Loop information board:Ewell - London Loop Board

This section follows the Hogsmill River from its source at Ewell down to the Thames. There used to be many mills along this river, this is one of the few remaining:Ewell - Upper Mill

Bourne Hall Park

The path goes under a railway line; this is an interesting dual use of the tunnel, with the river under the path:Path under Railway

Then out into green fields and paths, though it’s much more urban than some of the countryside in the earlier sections:Green Fields

Then the Tolworth Road needed to be crossed using a diversion to the nearest pedestrian crossing lights:Tolworth Road

After that, I started to wonder if I was following the correct route; this is the most overgrown path I’ve found so far:Overgrown Path

But eventually things opened out at Old Malden Park:Old Malden Park

The next challenge was crossing the Kingston Bypass (A3). This involved a zig-zag to a subway:Kingston Bypass

The next section was nice countryside at Elmbridge Meadows. A good spot for lunch, except that it seemed like every hungry dog in the area chose that moment to admire my sandwich…

Elmbridge Meadows

Then back to suburbia at Berrylands, and the local sewage works:

Sewage Works

Then all too soon, I was approaching Kingston:


And then the River Thames itself:River Thames

River Thames

This was the end of this section, so I walked over Kingston Bridge and caught the train back from Hampton Wick.

Total distance today was 9.5 miles, but it felt more because it was so warm!

London Loop Walk 9 and 10 – Kingston to Hayes and Harlington

For more information on the London Loop, see // and //

London Loop Walk 5, 6 & 7 – Whyteleafe to Ewell

Today’s walk started with a train from Orpington to Beckenham Junction, a tram to East Croydon, and another train to Upper Warlingham. But the timings all lined up, taking a little over an hour for the whole journey.

Upper Warlingham StationUpper Warlingham station is about 200 yards from Whyteleafe station (where I finished the last section), but on a different line. There was a bit of a walk through suburban streets to get back to where I finished last time, made worse by a bus passing, which had I known it went that way, I would have caught!

London Loop Section 5

This photo shows the other side of the valley (which I walked down at the end of the last section) with an obvious quarry that I’d totally missed when walking close to it…Riddlesdown Quarry

Back on the loop itself, it was a steep climb up some steps to Kenley Common, yet another City of London open space:Kenley Common

The path goes past Kenley Airfield and Observatory:Kenley Observatory

The on to Coulsdon Common, with a neat drinking fountain with dog bowls below (shame the pub in the background wasn’t open):Coulsdon Common and The Fox

The path then leads to Happy Valley, famed for Yellow Rattle, which were out in profusion:Happy Valley

Yellow Rattle are quite rare, though there are some at High Elms:Yellow Rattle


Then across a road to Farthing Downs (another City of London open space), with good views all the way to London:Farthing Downs


The path then drops down back to the town; the traffic noise was quite a contrast to the peace of the last hour or so. The London Loop uses the footbridge at Coulsdon South station to cross the tracks, where section 5 officially finishes.Coulsdon South Station

London Loop Section 6

Unfortunately, the first mile of this is through the streets of Coulsdon, but it least some of them had a grass border:Clock House

Then back to country, along some quite narrow paths. A London-Brighton 100Km run was in progress today, so there were quite a few runners squeezing past!Narrow Path

Then across Carshalton Road Pastures:Carshalton Road Pastures

and Mayfield Lavender Fields, full of people!Mayfield Lavender Fields

and into Oaks Park, a nice spot to stop for lunch:Oaks Park

Another London Loop display board:London Loop Board

Then it was a long straight bridleway alongside Highdown Prison to Banstead Downs:Banstead Downs

Progress was paused shortly after this photo was taken while a summer shower passed – luckily I was in the woods at the time, so I didn’t get too wet.

Section 6 ends at Banstead Station, but as the train service from there is only hourly on Saturdays, I decided to press on.

London Loop Section 7

Again, the start of this section is a mile of walking through the private estates and posh houses of Ewell:Epson and Ewell Sign

But finally, it’s back to the countryside at Nonsuch Park:Nonsuch Park

Then a short walk through the town (past all the posh schools) to Ewell West station:Ewell West Station

The journey home involved a train to Clapham Junction, another to Victoria and a third to Orpington…
A total of 15 miles walked today, and just one geocache found. A good day!

London Loop Walk 8 – Ewell to Kingston

For more information on the London Loop, see // and //