River Crane walk
Rural forested river walk through west London
|Length||5.7 miles / 9.2 km (one way), double that to return|
|Toughness||2/10, flat, a mix of forest paths and paved all-weather surfaces|
This walk follows the River Crane through west London through a mixture of urban parks and surprisingly rural woods and forests.
The walk can be out-and-back (recommended, there are north and south bank paths in many places), or linear (return by bus, or by bus to train station). Either way, you can do a long or short walk to please.
The route passes through Twickenham Junction Roughs, Craneford Way Park, Mereway Nature Park, Kneller Gardens (park cafe!), Crane Park (I), Willow Way Park, Crane Park (II), Crane Island Nature Reserve, Pevensey Road Nature Reserve / Letrim Park, Hounslow Heath, Brazil Mill Woods, Donley Wood, and Causeway Park.
En-route, by the island nature reserve in Crane Park, is a Brick (Shot) Tower. Before bullets and rifled barrels, lead shot was made by dropping molten lead into a tower containing water to make perfect spheres.
There are optional detours to Hounslow Heath (a mix of open space and scrub land ) and the Hanworth (Air) Park, both sadly neglected, without even a web page or park map on the Hounslow Council website.
If you continue south from Hanworth Park, note that Kempton Park Reservoirs Nature Reserve is private land (Thames Water) which is not open to the public unless you join its friends scheme in advance.
The River Crane Path does continue further north, but you have to walk east along the busy Great West Road for 500m to a roundabout, then 500m back along the other side (on quieter Earhart Way), then you're good, apart from a gnarly bit around the M4, as far as Hays and Harlington station.
Don't try staring from the mouth of the Crane on the Thames - the river passes through back gardens and some private allotments, and you have to zigzag around them along residential roads, and make 1 very dangerous road crossing of a dual carriageway. You could start a little earlier at St Margaret's station, and join the river path from there.
Trains from London Waterloo (and Clapham Junction) go to Twickenham (Zone 5) every 15 mins, and take about 30 mins.
By car, to avoid CPZ, park near TW2 6NA, and walk along the River Crane path to join the walk. On rugby match days, when parking will be difficult, park at the other end, and do the walk in reverse.
If you do a 1-way walk, some bus stops are marked.
There is a park cafe in Kneller Gardens quite close to the start.
After the walk, we would love to get your feedback
Out (not a train station)
Back (not a train station)
National Rail: 03457 48 49 50 • Travelline (bus times): 0871 200 22 33 (12p/min) • TFL (London) : 0343 222 1234
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The directions for this walk are also in a PDF (link above) which you can download on to a Kindle, tablet, or smartphone. OpenStreetMap (not OS) mapping is used in the PDF for licence reasons.