Staines in Christmas 2012


Over Christmas 2012, and New Year 2013, I stayed with my parents as usual. During that period we took a few walks in the local area, as well as further afield. I've grouped the local ones together on this page.

Shortwood Common

Dad and I went for a quick walk to the Shortwood Common area on the 23rd. We started by walking along Knowle Green to the old BAT headquarters building (which is now occupied by a company providing synergistic leverage solutions, or something like that), then along the road behind to the corner of common that got cut off by the Staines bypass road.

Flooding on the corner of the common.
1/125 at f8, 23mm, ISO200 51°25′51″N 0°29′27″W
Aqueduct that carries water from the reservoirs.
1/250 at f8, 23mm, ISO200 51°25′48″N 0°29′15″W
Shortwood Common, damp in parts.
1/500 at f8, 23mm, ISO200 51°26′8″N 0°29′33″W
Reflected pylon.
1/250 at f8, 23mm, ISO200 51°26′8″N 0°29′34″W

After leaving the common, we went to the area of the Crooked Billet roundabout (named after the Crooked Billet pub, which has been demolished).

Water company building.
1/125 at f8, 23mm, ISO200 51°26′13″N 0°30′3″W

We returned through Staines, along Kingston Road.

Part of the disused Oast House adult education centre, in old brewery buildings.
1/60 at f11, 23mm, ISO200 51°26′1″N 0°30′15″W

Staines Moor

All three of us went for a walk on Staines Moor on the 30th. Partly we were curious as to whether it would actually be passable; a few years back in another period of flooding we had tried to cross the moor without success (well, it was quite successful in terms of taking lots of pictures of floodwater, but there was no way across the moor without a kayak). The flooding was much less extensive this time.

River in Staines, higher and wider than usual.
1/250 at f8, 23mm, ISO200 51°25′50″N 0°30′38″W
Crossing the aqueduct.
1/500 at f2.8, 23mm, ISO200 51°26′23″N 0°30′51″W
Under the bypass bridge, looking onto the moor.
1/60 at f8, 23mm, ISO200 51°26′26″N 0°30′54″W
On the moor, looking back at the bypass and a gas substation.
1/250 at f8, 23mm, ISO200 51°26′29″N 0°30′56″W

We initially planned to follow the disused railway. In the end, there was a change of plan and we had to backtrack a bit.

Here's why. (The disused line starts in the background there, heading right.)
1/60 at f8, 23mm, ISO200 51°26′36″N 0°31′14″W
There's not usually a lake here either.
1/60 at f11, 23mm, ISO200 51°26′38″N 0°31′12″W

The main path across the moor was passable (I suspect the main path is the main path precisely because it's on parts that don't often flood), and we easily made it to the bridge over the official river. After that, there was one sketchy part where we had to get around a large puddle, but I didn't actually get wet feet.

The river Colne, only slightly wider than normal.
1/125 at f8, 23mm, ISO200 51°26′37″N 0°30′59″W
A twisty bush.
1/125 at f8, 23mm, ISO200 51°26′40″N 0°30′57″W

This area also boasts the oldest known yellow meadow anthills in Britain (yes really), but I didn't photograph them this time. I did take another picture of the burnt-out Land Rover, but I haven't included that one.

Trees from boardwalk.
1/60 at f8, 23mm, ISO200 51°27′5″N 0°30′44″W
More damp trees.
1/60 at f8, 23mm, ISO200 51°27′8″N 0°30′43″W

We reached the other side of the moor as the afternoon drew toward its end, and returned along the concrete path beside the bottom of the reservoir.

1/125 at f8, 23mm, ISO400 51°27′14″N 0°30′35″W
Bypass underpass.
1/60 at f5.6, 23mm, ISO400 51°26′25″N 0°30′43″W
Part of Staines High Street.
1/60 at f5.6, 23mm, ISO400 51°26′6″N 0°30′30″W

Penton Hook island

By the 2nd, the Thames had subsided and the towpath was no longer flooded. Mum and I took a short walk along the river to Penton Hook Lock and the island across it.

River (background) and remaining puddle on the 'Big Bend' before Penton Hook.
1/60 at f8, 23mm, ISO200 51°25′3″N 0°30′35″W
Pretty decorations on a tree on the island.
1/500 at f2.8, 23mm, ISO200 51°24′39″N 0°30′6″W

Futher on, a couple more of the heart decorations were tied to a bench dedicated to a local teenager (Matthew Lyne) who died of cancer in 2009, so that may also be the reason for the tree decorations.

South bridge over inlet to artificial pond.
1/60 at f8, 23mm, ISO200 51°24′41″N 0°30′1″W

We weren't entirely surprised to find that the path around the outside of the island was blocked. So was the path through the middle. After scrambling under branches on cross-paths, we ended up returning back to the route by which we'd come. Then we went back to have a look at the other end of the flooding.

North bridge over second inlet.
1/60 at f8, 23mm, ISO200 51°24′45″N 0°30′3″W

The pond they built in the island is supposedly meant to provide a refuge for fish in 'times of high flow', which might include when these pictures were taken.

Fishing platform below the second weir.
1/125 at f4, 23mm, ISO200 51°24′49″N 0°30′3″W

(The plaque in the photo is for somebody called Kadir Shillingford, who died near here in 2010 along with Ian Coy.)

The first weir between the lock and the island was fully open, meaning that even though the Thames is flowing fast, the curve around the island was almost still.

Water entering first weir.
1/500 at f2.8, 23mm, ISO200 51°24′51″N 0°30′3″W

All images © Samuel Marshall. All rights reserved.