Walk 10: Putney to Vauxhall Bridge
A 10km stretch of stage 2 of the guidebook
Having joined up the two main parts of our wanderings, it was time to return to central London and top up our diminutive first effort. Our original plan was to pick up where we left off — Vauxhaul Bridge — then head west as far as we could (or until Putney, the official end of stage 2). However, Southern trains can never be quite relied upon, so when they announced that today’s service would be giving up at Clapham Junction, we quickly reversed the plan. Bailing out at Putney, we’d essentially committed to making it all the way to Vauxhaul on foot — which should be well within our abilities, even if the train couldn’t manage it…
The day started out pleasantly, with sunny skies and leafy suburbs. However, as the walk progressed both weather and scenery went into decline… this is a strange stretch of the Thames, with ultra-modern (and no doubt eye-wateringly expensive, given that at one point we found a heliport) apartment buildings dotted amongst as-yet undeveloped industrial zones. This created an artificial feel, which was magnified by the feeling that there was almost no-one around! There was no sense of community; hardly any riverside cafes, cute shops, or children’s play areas to create a reason for foot traffic. Instead, there was just one elaborately empty glass construction after another. Perhaps these are only used during the week, or perhaps everyone was taking their easter holiday elsewhere, but either way, it felt like a zombie movie set at times.
Admittedly, there were a few more charming areas along the way — Albert Bridge and Battersea park in particular. But the stretch to the west, winding through Richmond, offers better greenery; whilst the skyline to the east promises more impressive architecture in the city centre. Trapped inbetween, this portion can’t really compete with either — but hopefully will help us appreciate other sections more. It also took us tantalisingly close to 100km of progress; plus now that we were in London, there were plenty of bridges to cross — and thus selfies to take!
Total km walked: 137.56
Official km walked: 98.8
Thames path km left: 189