Hampton Court via Wimbledon Common and Richmond Park

February 5, 2007

Crisp, bright Saturday mornings must be the best times to ride in London.

This past weekend I headed out to explore the cycle route to Hampton Court and was delighted to find the road traffic fairly light and the park and canal paths almost deserted. The few walkers, runners and cyclists were keeping to themselves, keeping a good pace and enjoying their time out as much as I was.

Figges Marsh

I started  in Streatham and the first bit of open space was Figges Marsh. The sun was still low and the shadows kept the frost from melting.

Wimbledon’s one way system was one of the few busy points on the ride but it passed quickly and I made the short climb up Ridgeway Place to the plateau and on to Wimbledon Common.

I was trialling a Geko 201 GPS and so far I had managed to set all the way-points correctly and hadn’t needed my map. It of course helped that I was following a LCN route but in the past I’ve often found signs missing and needed to stop to check the route.

Wimbledon Common

The first part of Wimbledon Common wasn’t too inspiring but the track past Rushmere Pond took me to Camp Road and the Fox & Grapes pub which looks like it is worth a visit in the afternoon.

Robin Hood Road

Wimbledon Common is huge but despite its size, has only one main cycle route which runs south from Putney Heath and then west along the edge of the Royal Wimbledon Golf Course. It didn’t take long to notice the golfers were all sticking too the dress code: “pillar box red upper garment must be worn on the course at all times”.

Robin Hood Road

The route’s sealed section along Robin Hood Road soon became a muddy track as it went down the hill towards Beverley Lane and around to the A3.

Crossing the A3

Crossing the A3 into Richmond Park at Robin Hood Gate took a frustratingly long time with three lanes of traffic hurtling past in each direction. Fortunately there is an island in the middle plus a footbridge if the traffic is too heavy.

National Cycle Route 4 through Richmond Park

Richmond Park was a dream as ever. National Cycle Route 4 crosses the park and it is normally an easy ride to follow it to Ham Gate from just after Robin Hood Gate.

Deer in Richmond Park

Instead, I took the slightly longer route past Kingston Gate and immediately saw hundreds of deer grazing in the morning sun. I am still not used to seeing wild animals in the centre of London and could not resist stopping for a picture.

Ham Gate Avenue

The route from Richmond Park across Ham Common to Teddington Lock was very easy and well marked.

Rowers on the Thames

From Teddington Lock it was an easy ride along the Thames upriver past the various rowing sheds. The residents in the big houses must love their early mornings as coaches bark instructions at crews through bullhorns. The route crosses the river at Kingston and continues along Barge Walk to Hampton Court. There I found plenty of cafes and pubs where you can refuel for the ride home.

Overall this was a very pleasant route but not very challenging.

Best of all, the GPS worked fine and only lost signal once when I was under dense tree cover in Wimbledon Common.

My next ride will probably be up to the Thames Barrier but Saturday’s weather looks horrible at the moment.


3 Responses to “Hampton Court via Wimbledon Common and Richmond Park”

  1. Treadly & Me Says:

    Now you’re just showing off!

    That’s a very pleasant trundle for a Saturday morning.

  2. Max Says:

    Hi, I live in Tooting and I’m looking into getting myself a bike. Mainly because I’d like to shape up a little. Richmond Park looks like a great place to burn some calories but I’m not sure how easy it is to cycle there from Tooting?? I wondered if you can tell me more details of the route you take to Richmond – I’m guessing my best route would be via Wimbledon common although I’ve heard cycling is very restricted on Wimbledon common?

    Is there somewhere I can get easy cycle routes of South London – can’t find any on the net:-(

    Any help welcome:-)


  3. Adrian Fitch Says:

    Hi Max

    Cycling in Richmond Park is great for getting into shape.

    The easiest route to follow from Tooting is via the A217 (Garratt Lane) to Wandsworth and then along the A205 but this can be a little daunting if the traffic is heavy.

    The route I use is a little more hilly but much quieter.

    Take Wimbledon Road off Garratt Lane. It joins Plough Lane and you follow that into Gap Road past the cemetery and up the hill to the end of Leopold Road. Turn left into Arthur Road a follow it into St Mary’s Road, turn right at the roundabout and go down the hill past the All England Tennis Club on Church Road. Go left at the roundabout up Victoria Drive, left into Augustus Road, right into Inner Park Road and right onto the A219 (Wimbledon Parkside) to Tibbets Corner. That is the only heavy traffic area but there is a bike path running under it. I then follow the road down to the lights and turn left onto Putney Heath but you can get there via the bike path and Telegraph Road. Putney Heath runs down into Medfield Street and you turn right onto Roehampton Lane. Take the first left onto Danebury Avenue and it will pop you out at Richmond Park’s Roehampton Gate.

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