Friday, 18 October 2013

The R70 Route

Thursday 17 October 2013

The R 70 runs between the Sainsbury's near to North Sheen Station and the Sainsbury's at Nurserylands, Fulwell.  On the TfL website map it looks like a one-way bus, but on the back of the paper map it is clear that it is circular.  So Linda and I resolved to ride it from North Sheen to the far end and then back to Richmond Station.  Richmond Station is normally a brilliant end point for me, because of its Overground connections, but alas, not today.

Still, that's the end of the ride, and we need to begin at the beginning.  

Having left Sainsbury’s and got onto the main road, we headed straight into Richmond, past the station (with some graffiti on the right, possibly a picture of the Queen) and on towards the Quadrant.  We spotted that the Paul shop I had mentioned in the R68 was still claiming to be a Paul, but it was too early in the journey to disembark and test an √©clair.

Now we turned left, passing the triangle building site we had seen on the 68, now a wholefood shop with apartments above.  This brought us to St Mary Magdalen Church and the modest bus parking area known as the bus station.  We did not pause for long, but did notice a second bus stop.  Maybe they had read our blog….

Turning right, we crossed the Thames over pretty Richmond Bridge. Turning left to Cambridge Park and St Stephen’s Church, we passed the Aleksander pub and restaurant on the right.  Linda’s theory is that the unorthodox spelling is to do with meerkats, but we have no way of improving this hypothesis.

As so often, we caught glimpses of marble Hill House, but a combination of speedy single decker and buoyant tree foliage meant photographs were impossible.  Orleans Park, and its school, were looking similarly green.

We have mentioned bfore that the proximity of the river means lots of pubs, and we liked the green baskets of The George more than the begonias of the Old Anchor (but then Linda and I don’t care for begonias, despite our late mother/mother-in-law’s fondness of them)

By now we were into Twickenham, signalled by The Rugby Shop, as well as Sapori, an Italian restaurant with a very wispy font as its signature.

Twickenham Green still had its cricket pitches marked and its sight screens ready for us, and we liked the picture of Bertie on the side of the Prince of Wales pub.  It came just after a Prince Albert pub, to remind us that Queen Victoria always blamed Albert’s death on the behaviour of their dissolute son.  This is where the side streets are named ‘First Cross Street’, ‘Second Cross Street’ and so on.  A surprising lack of imagination at the time of the development of this aspiring area, with its large houses.  Our progress along here was slow, thanks to the parked vehicles, despite the fact that most front gardens had become parking spaces.

Fulwell Station and Fulwell bus garage were next, reminding us of the transport links developed as London grew westwards.  Although the river was invisible to our left, we knew it was near as we passed the Bloated Mallard pub and came into Hampton Hill, with its theatre and glimpses of Bushy Park.  Now we turned right, along Uxbridge Road, with a brief pause after we had crossed the little railway bridge, and forked left along Broad Lane.  We were in an area with enormous properties on either side, but also the more domestic sized Hampton cemetery.  We turned right along The Avenue, and reached the Nurserylands shopping centre, with its Sainsbury's supermarket, at 11.00, barely over the 37 minutes advertised on the timetable.

Our uncertainty about whether the route was circular or not was removed when, after the briefest of pauses, the destination sign changed to 'Richmond, Manor Circus; and we were off again, taking a different route for some way.  We set off along Acacia Road and then took a sharp left into Hanworth Road to reach a multitude of schools, none of them in the control of the local authority.  There was a girls' private school, named for its 18th century founder, Eleanor Holles, who hope to produce 'women of grace and integrity; then Hampton School for boys, which has had various incarnations, including a spell as a state school;  then the Hampton Academy, which is tax-payer funded.  I guess the R70 is busier a couple of times a day than it was for us.

We were impressed by some fine sunflowers in a garden, and then saw some tree pruning going on.  We turned into Swan Lane, and passed the war memorial before heading along a pleasant green lane, with horses in the field nearby.   A couple more twiddles brought us into Old Farm Road and thus to the main road, just by a stinkpipe.  Linda told me that there is a blog all about these Victorian relics, and indeed there is. This brought us, finally, back onto the outward route, as we swept past The Avenue, where we had previously turned right.

From now on we were repeating our outward route, but had time for some new sights. We had thought that the waterway might be the Duke of Northumberland's cut, but it is in fact The Longford River, with a remarkable history and course, including getting in the way of Terminal 5 at Heathrow.

We admired a fine crenellated house with a plaque commemorating John Templeton, a tenor who sang in the first English productions of some of Mozart's operas.  We also liked the modern Catholic Church of St Francis of Sales,  a saint who was canonised for converting people back from Protestantism.  (I had thought he was the one who helped the poor, but that is St Vincent de Paul)  Then we came to Fulwell Station and bus garage, where we had a very brief pause for a change of driver, before we came back into Twickenham, passing the Green and the Prince Albert Pub.  The houses along here are very attractive, but the road is busy enough to make them uncovetable.  We were a bit surprised by an eatery called the Blah Blah Blah, which proves to be a gourmet vegetarian restaurant.

We were rapidly through Twickenham, and glancing to the right to glimpse Marble Hill House, but the speed of the bus again made photography unviable.

Linda keeps a close eye on our statistics;  when we have an abnormal number of visits, she scans our text to see what could possibly have attracted so many people.  She is usually able to find some phrase which might have a double sort of entendre.  With this unwanted consequence in mind, I am not even going to speculate about what might be drawn and painted onto the mugs and plates if one were to have a hen party at the Pottery Cafe which, we noticed, is something they offer.

Soon we were back across the river, with the sun still shining, and a pleasure boat heading towards London from, we thought, Hampton Court.  On the way back we did not have to detour into (and therefore comment upon) the bus station, but went straight to the station, where we climbed off at 11.55.  The journey is advertised as 37 minutes each way, so we were not too much over the allotted time.

After the unpleasant weather of the past few days, we were pleased to have had a sunny trip.  Next week we shall be in Central London before heading back into the southern suburbs.


  1. Good stuff as ever.

    Aleksander's was previously known as the Marble Hill Tavern or some such. Its named after the present owner's son.

    One small correction: the Nurserylands are in Hampton, not Fulwell. The latter is one of those nebulous places, like Norbiton, that has a train station but no real beginning or end...

  2. The detailed wikipedia link regarding the Longford River mentions that it is still controlled by the Royal Parks, and their name appears on various notices regarding trespass and so on. There is one of these next to the bridge over the river by Feltham Station; it would not be expected that Feltham would include part of a Royal Park!