Wimbledon to Putney walk
Cannizario Park, Wimbledon Common, Beverley Brook path, Richmond Park, Barnes Common and the Thames path
Main Walk: 15 km (9.3 miles). Three hours 15 minutes walking time. For the whole excursion including trains, sights and meals, allow at least 6½ hours.
Explorer 161. Wimbledon is in south-west London, 10 km SW of Westminster.
2 out of 10.
This walk was inspired by the Beverley Brook Walk (BBW), which runs for 11½ km from New Malden station to the River Thames. However, in order to follow the course of the river the BBW has to start with a fairly long suburban stretch within earshot of the noisy A3, which is less of a problem with this walk's route from Wimbledon station. Although its first 1¼ km is also along residential streets, the rest of this link route is across Wimbledon Common with the bonus of an attractive section through the landscaped Cannizaro Park.
The walk joins the BBW in the south-western corner of Wimbledon Common for a 2 km woodland stretch (which can be muddy) alongside the river, where the traffic noise is at least partly shielded by trees. After crossing the main road the walk goes through Robin Hood Gate into Richmond Park, the largest of London's Royal Parks and home to over 600 Red and Fallow deer. A rather more appealing 2 km parkland stretch alongside the river leads to the suggested refreshment stop at the park café near the Roehampton Gate exit.
A suburban stretch through Roehampton leads onto Barnes Common, where the walk again deviates from the BBW in order to allow for a shorter ending at Barnes station. The full walk continues across the common (and through an abandoned old cemetery) into the adjacent Lower Putney Common before rejoining the last part of the BBW to the River Thames. The walk concludes with a riverside stretch past a long string of boathouses on Putney Embankment, with a choice of stations on either side of Putney Bridge for the return journey.
The 4¼ miles from Putney Bridge to Chiswick Bridge are the traditional venue for the annual Oxford and Cambridge Boat Race, held in spring. This event attracts large crowds and the pubs might be rather busier than usual that afternoon.
Some short cuts (and an optional extension) are described for the section through Cannizaro Park. As mentioned above you could drop out at Barnes station, cutting out the final 3½ km.
Conversely, there are several ways of extending the wak. At Barnes station you could switch to the Norbiton to Hammersmith or Putney walk (#261), which crosses the River Thames at Barnes Bridge and gives you the choice of finishing at Chiswick, Hammersmith or Putney. Alternatively, you could turn left instead of right when you reach the Thames Path, joining the Putney to Richmond walk (#390).
There are frequent trains from Waterloo to Wimbledon, plus a half-hourly Thameslink service via Blackfriars and Elephant & Castle. The station (in TfL Zone 3) is also the terminus of one of the branches of the District line.
Putney has a mainline station (Zones 2/3) with trains to Waterloo, plus a separate underground station (Putney Bridge, Zone 2) on the Wimbledon branch of the District line. If you finish at Barnes, its station (Zone 3) is the next stop out from Putney.
You could start the walk at any convenient time. An 11am start would get you to the café in Richmond Park at around 1pm.
The most convenient place to stop for lunch is the Roehampton Gate café in Richmond Park, after 8¾ km. There are plenty of pubs and cafés near the start and end of the walk route, but few places in between.
The suggested place for refreshments near the end of the walk is on the riverside at Putney Bridge. If you get there in time the Putney Pantry (020-8789 1137; open to 3pm Mon–Fri, 5pm Sat–Sun) is in the grounds of St Mary's church, while stronger fare is available in a couple of nearby pubs: The Rocket (020-8780 8970) is a JD Wetherspoon's pub in the remodelled Putney Wharf Tower, with The Boathouse (020-8789 0476) just beyond it.
There are several alternatives in the surrounding area: the route along Putney Embankment passes two more riverside pubs, the Duke's Head (020-8788 2552) and the Star and Garter (020-8788 0345), and there are more pubs and cafés along the High Street on the way to the mainline station and around the underground station.
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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.
Click the heading below to show/hide the walk route for the selected option(s).
- Wimbledon Station to Cannizaro Park (2 km)
- Leave the station through the main ticket hall (opposite the underground platforms) and go across the plaza towards the main road. Cross the A219 at the pedestrian lights and take the passageway ahead between tall buildings.
You are walking parallel to the railway which soon comes into view on your left. After the path drops down to ground level continue for a further 125m and then turn right into Alt Grove, away from a footbridge over the tracks.
For the next 1 km you will be following a waymarked Cycle Route up to Wimbledon Common.
- At the top of Alt Grove zig-zag left and right to reach the B235 (Worple Road) via Tabor Grove. Cross the main road at the pedestrian lights on the left and turn right into the first side street, Ridgway Place. Go all the way up this broad tree-lined street to a crossroads.
- Cross Ridgway carefully to continue along The Grange. At the far end go straight across a road (Southside Common) onto Wimbledon Common. Take the second path on the left, passing Rushmere Pond on your right. Follow the path as it bends slightly right to come to the B281 (Cannizaro Road).
Cross the road and take either of two paths branching off to the left. On the edge of this part of the common cross over West Side Common and go through the right-hand of two entrance gates onto an enclosed path between flower beds into Cannizaro Park.
The left-hand entrance gate is for Cannizaro House, now the Hotel du Vin & Bistro.
- Through Cannizaro Park (1¼ • 1¾ km)
The suggested route through this small park is a loop through its southern half, with an optional extension around the other half (you could of course devise your own route from the detailed map displayed at the entrance).Go past the Millennium Fountain into the main part of the park, where there is a small Aviary ahead on your right.
The fountain sculpture (by Richard Rome) is affectionately known as ‘The Teapot’. The aviary was based on the design of Turin Cathedral.
Turn left and follow the path round to the dining area in the conservatory at the back of Cannizaro House, where there is a path going down the centre of the lawn.
- For a direct route through the park you can take this path directly away from the house, into trees at the bottom and past a pond on the right, then join a stony track which curves round to the right to its back gate. If you take this direct route (saving 750m), continue the directions at §C.
For the suggested route carry on past the house. On the left is a formal Sunken Garden (with a small Herb Garden behind its far right-hand corner). Follow the path round to the right and then veer left across a lawn to the opposite corner to pick up a path into Lady Jane's Wood.
This wood has been planted with rhododendrons, azaleas and camellias, so is particularly colourful in spring.
- For a small short cut (saving 300m) you can fork right at the first path junction inside the wood and resume the directions at [?].
For the full route fork left to go through the Mediterranean Garden, which leads to a Belvedere (with a small secluded area beyond it, The Retreat). Loop round behind the belvedere to return on a parallel and slightly lower path, which the short cut later rejoins from the right.
The belvedere (designed by James Berry of Merton Council) no longer has much of a ‘beautiful view’.
- After the main route merges with the short cut keep left at subsequent path junctions to stay near the southern edge of the wood. In the south-western corner you cross a small stone bridge over a stream in the Water Garden.
Follow the path round to the right to walk alongside the stream. The path leads to a gate into the Italian Garden.
This walled garden was originally the kitchen garden for the house.
- Unless it is closed for an event (when you would have to skirt around it), make your way through this walled garden. Leave through a gate on the far side and turn left in front of a pond, joining the direct route from the house.
- At the corner of the pond there is a path junction, with Cannizaro Studios ahead on the left. Unless you want to explore the northern part of the park, keep ahead and join a stony track leading away from the Studio area. Follow it round to the right to come to the park's back gate.
Optional Extension (+500m)
- For the extension turn right at the path junction by the corner of the pond and follow the path gently uphill along Chestnut Avenue.
At the top cross over a path and veer left in front of a neo-gothic building to come to a small Rose Garden. Leave through an opening on the left and turn right to come to a statue of Diana and the Fawn.
The neo-gothic building was the home of a priest; this area (including the Rose Garden) was once part of a neighbouring property. The Diana statue was created in 1841 for a Sicilian villa.
- Turn left and follow a path back downhill, merging with Maple Avenue from the Rose Garden. Shortly before this path returns to the Studio area you can veer right across a patch of grass to the park's back gate.
- Cannizaro Park to Beverley Brook (1½ km)
Leave Cannizaro Park and follow the track past allotments to a T-junction with Camp Road. Turn left and follow this lane for 350m, passing the clubhouse of the Royal Wimbledon Golf Club on the left and later the entrance gates to several large properties.
There is a different golf course (Wimbledon Common & London Scottish) off to the right of Camp Road. This is on open-access land and their players are required to wear “pillar-box red” shirts so that the Rangers who patrol Wimbledon Common can distinguish golfers from the general public.
Where the road turns sharply right towards Warren Farm keep ahead on a narrow fenced footpath (known as ‘The Toast Rack’) to the right of a locked fieldgate, through an area shown on maps as Caesar's Camp.
A large plaque on the right of the path indicates that this is a misnomer, since you are actually crossing the site of an Iron Age hill fort dating from around 700 BC.
- Follow this public footpath all the way through the Royal Wimbledon Golf Course for 750m, gently downhill and with a few slight left turns along the way. At a four-way junction go through a gap in the chainlink fence ahead onto a narrow path down through a wooded part of Wimbledon Common, slightly to the right of your previous direction.
A straightforward route is to stay on this path (which is the continuation of the public footpath), ignoring some tempting paths off to the right and gradually approaching an all-too-audible main road (the A3).
- If you are feeling adventurous you could explore one of those side paths, eg. through a small open area or on a boardwalk past some abandoned fish ponds. If you keep left at subsequent junctions (towards the traffic noise) you will eventually meet the riverside path further along. However, there is no particularly attractive route through this maze of woodland paths and plenty of muddy patches to negotiate.
On the suggested route the footpath goes gently downhill for 250m and comes to a semi-open area in front of a substantial footbridge over Beverley Brook, with playing fields off to the left and the A3 less than 200m ahead.
Beverley Brook is a short river, flowing from Worcester Park into the River Thames between Barnes and Putney. In medieval times there were beavers in the river and the name means ‘beaver-meadow stream’.
- Beverley Brook to Roehampton Gate Café (4 km)
Whichever route you took down to the river turn right onto the Beverley Brook Walk (BBW) on its eastern bank.
This walk follows the BBW for the next 6 km, but then takes a different route across Barnes Common and Lower Putney Common.
Follow the riverside path for (up to) 1¾ km, ignoring a couple of bridges across the river. There is woodland on your right until the final 300m, where you go alongside a large playing field and briefly join the Capital Ring.
The Capital Ring is a circular walking route around inner London. It was completed in 2005.
With a sports pavilion ahead, turn left to cross the river. Follow the waymarked path curving slightly to the right across a small open area to the A3 and cross this busy dual carriageway via the pedestrian lights.
The BBW is actually signposted across a high footbridge off to the left, presumably because the lights were installed after the route was devised.
Just off to the right, take the short link road (now closed to traffic) through Robin Hood Gate into Richmond Park. Inside the park keep right, leaving the Capital Ring and curving round in front of a car park. You come to a path junction where the suggested route is to turn right, signposted to Chohole Gate and staying on the BBW.
- The Tasmin Trail ahead is a slightly more direct route, but this 12 km perimeter track around Richmond Park is popular with cyclists and runners.
Before reaching a footbridge over Beverley Brook veer left across the grass to join the riverside path for an attractive section through open parkland, interspersed with a few lightly-wooded stretches. The Tasmin Trail is never far away on the left and in 1 km the two routes finally merge.
- A parallel grassy path alongside a wooden fence would let you delay joining the perimeter track until it crosses the river.
In 250m follow the Tasmin Trail across the river and continue along it for a further 400m, keeping to the left of a large car park. Just past its entrance you come to an area laid out with picnic tables in front of the Roehampton Gate Café, the suggested refreshment stop.
If you want a quieter spot there is a small fenced garden with a few benches 150m further along the walk route.
- Roehampton Gate Café to Barnes Station (2¾ km)
- From the café return to the Tasmin Trail, soon going alongside the small garden (with its entrance gate halfway along). Cross the road ahead carefully, turn right and leave Richmond Park through Roehampton Gate.
- Outside the park immediately turn left onto an enclosed footpath running alongside its boundary wall, staying on the BBW. After crossing the river turn right onto the riverside path (or walk along the edge of the adjacent Palewell Common & Fields).
- In 400m ignore a footbridge over the river and follow the path round to the left. At a Y-function fork right to stay alongside the river. After passing another footbridge the path swings left and goes out between allotments to a residential street (Hertford Avenue).
Turn right onto the road and go all the way along it, passing a school on the left. At the far end turn right onto the A205 (the South Circular Road). Cross over this main road at the first or second set of pedestrian lights and then fork left into Priests Bridge. Where this side street swings right in front of Cafe Loris fork left into White Hart Lane, leaving the BBW.
- Alternatively you could follow Priests Bridge back to the A205 for a further 200m along the main road, then just after traffic lights bear left onto a tarmac path across Barnes Common to the station. The suggested route is quieter and only marginally longer.
On the suggested route turn right off White Hart Lane into the first side street, Treen Avenue. At the far end turn right into Rosslyn Avenue and go past vehicle barriers onto a footbridge over Beverley Brook. Continue along a broad tree-lined street (Woodlands Road), then go straight across Vine Road onto a signposted footpath across part of Barnes Common.
Barnes Common has become dissected by roads and the railway. The 100-acre site of rough grassland and woodland was designated as a Local Nature Reserve in 1992.
- In 150m turn half-left at a path junction (onto the path from the A205) and follow this tarmac path to Barnes station. Go up the steps by Platform 4 to cross the tracks on a footbridge, with a road (Rocks Lane) on your right.
- Barnes Station to Putney Stations (3½ km)
- On the north side of the station go down to the small forecourt in front of the main entrance and take the path into the trees between the two arms of Station Road. After passing a Barnes Common Nature Reserve information panel continue through a lightly-wooded area for 50m and take the rightmost path ahead into the undergrowth, heading NNE.
- Go straight ahead at path crossings, staying roughly parallel with Rocks Lane 50m off to the right. The path goes through a mix of woodland and rough grassland, where a group of houses come into view. Make for the right-hand end of a high wooden fence surrounding them and join a tarmac path running alongside them to the B349 (Mill Hill Road).
- Cross the road carefully onto a tarmac path through another part of the common. As the path comes out into a more open area turn right onto a sandy path which curves gently round to the left. In the corner of the common go through the tree boundary and out onto a road, with Rocks Lane Sports Centre opposite.
You will eventually be passing the right-hand side of this centre, but it is best to cross Rocks Lane at the pedestrian lights off to the left and take the tarmac path coming back alongside a tree-lined lane, with the sports centre car park on your left. At the end veer left through a small car park to come to an information panel about Barnes Common Old Cemetery.
The Old Cemetery closed for burials in 1954 and became increasingly neglected and overgrown, but it was designated as part of the Local Nature Reserve in 1980 and is now maintained by the Friends of Barnes Common.
- Take the narrow path ahead into this overgrown cemetery. You should aim to leave near its far right-hand corner, and if you zig-zag right and left at the first opportunity you will go through the site of the former Mortuary Chapel and past the Hedgman Memorial in the central aisle.
Leave the cemetery via one of the narrow paths near its south-eastern corner and head E through a wide gap in the trees ahead, passing a wooden post indicating that you are going from Barnes Common onto Putney Lower Common.
There is no clear division between these two commons but they are in different London Boroughs. Although widely separated from them, Putney Lower Common is managed with Wimbledon Common and Putney Heath.
- Continue to head E for around 150m. On emerging into a large open space turn half-left onto a faint grassy path heading ENE towards a gap in the tree boundary, 125m away. Go through this and join a tarmac path heading NNE across a patch of scrubland. On the far side cross Beverley Brook on a footbridge and turn right onto a broad path, rejoining the BBW for its final 500m.
- After swinging left and right at Ashlone Wharf the Beverley Brook Walk ends on the embankment of the River Thames, with Fulham's football ground (Craven Cottage) off to the left on the other bank. Turn right onto the Thames Path, crossing the outflow of the tributary whose course you have been following.
Follow Putney Embankment all the way to Putney Bridge, soon passing Leader's Gardens (a small urban park with a café) and later a string of boathouses. Shortly before reaching the bridge you pass the back of two large pubs on Lower Richmond Road, the Duke's Head and the Star and Garter.
- The suggested tea places are on the other side of the A219 at Putney Bridge: the Putney Pantry is in the grounds of St Mary's church, with The Rocket and The Boathouse pubs just beyond it.
Finishing at Putney Station
- Go up Putney High Street, away from the river. The entrance to Putney station is on the left-hand side of this traffic-clogged main road, just before the major junction with the South Circular Road.
Finishing at Putney Bridge Station
- Cross the river on Putney Bridge, go down steps and through an underpass if you need to get to the eastern side of the main road. Continue along a short street (Willow Bank), then veer left and right into Ranelagh Gardens and turn left in front of the railway bridge to find the entrance to Putney Bridge station.
⬅ North (map rotated 90°)
» Last updated: November 19, 2021