River Crane from Whitton


Mum and I went for an afternoon walk from Whitton railway station to Feltham, mainly along the River Crane.

The Crane is a short river that runs from Hayes to join the Thames at Isleworth. Compared to walking along that larger river, it had the advantage of not being flooded at the time.

We did most of this walk once before as part of the London Loop.

Whitton to Crane Park

Leaving Whitton station, we first had to cross the Chertsey Road (a large dual-carriageway) on our way to Crane Park.

Entrance to underpass by railway bridge.
1/60 at f5.6, 23mm, ISO200
1/30 at f4, 23mm, ISO200

After walking for a short distance through residential streets, we reached the park and were then able to follow a riverside path for quite some distance.

Weir. (Which is marked in the wrong place on the OS map.)
1/30 at f5.6, 23mm, ISO200 51°26′36″N 0°21′25″W
Treestumps, sports ground, church tower, etc.
1/125 at f8, 23mm, ISO200 51°26′30″N 0°21′50″W

The river goes under a couple of major roads, one of which becomes 'Great Chertsey Road' at this point, although it didn't seem any greater than the last time we crossed it.

Road bridge.
1/8 at f2, 23mm, ISO200 51°26′30″N 0°22′2″W

Shot Tower and island

There's a building in Crane Park called the Shot Tower, although there seems to be some dispute as to whether it was actually used to make lead shot. (You do need a tower for that; the process is to melt the metal at the top and let it drip down into a pool of water at the bottom. While falling through the air, it becomes nicely spherical and cools.)

A rather uninspiring photo of the tower, which is now a visitor centre (it was closed).
1/125 at f8, 23mm, ISO200 51°26′36″N 0°22′38″W

Not in question are the local gunpowder mills, which used to operate (and periodically explode) in several places along the Crane until the 1920s. An island by the tower used to have some of the mill buildings, but is now a nature reserve.

Sluice gate controlling water flow. (The mills used to be water-powered.)
1/125 at f2.8, 23mm, ISO200 51°26′35″N 0°22′38″W
All that remains of the buildings.
1/125 at f2, 23mm, ISO200 51°26′33″N 0°22′40″W
The old millpond, now planted with reeds.
1/60 at f8, 23mm, ISO200 51°26′36″N 0°22′43″W
Tree (possibly the one that was signposted because it got bombed in the war).
1/125 at f5.6, 23mm, ISO200 51°26′34″N 0°22′37″W
Another view of the remains above.
1/60 at f8, 23mm, ISO200 51°26′33″N 0°22′39″W

Hounslow Heath and the rest

A little further on, we left the Crane and walked along the road for a while to reach a path onto Hounslow Heath.

Chapel in Hounslow Cemetery.
1/60 at f8, 23mm, ISO200 51°27′6″N 0°22′42″W
Tower blocks undergoing refurbishment.
1/30 at f8, 23mm, ISO200 51°27′16″N 0°22′39″W

The Heath feels relatively wild considering its location. But, unsurprisingly, there were way too many people walking dogs - one giant specimen of which insisted on jumping all over Mum.

Low sun 1.
1/250 at f8, 23mm, ISO200 51°27′17″N 0°22′41″W
Looking back at the same towers.
1/60 at f8, 23mm, ISO200 51°27′21″N 0°22′54″W
Low sun 2.
1/60 at f8, 23mm, ISO200 51°27′21″N 0°23′34″W

At the edge of the Heath we reached the Crane again (it forms the western border) and followed the riverside path a little further.

Water company building.
1/8 at f5.6, 23mm, ISO400 51°27′16″N 0°23′36″W
Oddly shaped outfall or inlet. ZR?
1/8 at f2.8, 23mm, ISO400 51°27′15″N 0°23′40″W

Darkness was beginning to fall as we emerged onto a main road at Baber Bridge and headed back to Feltham station.

Bonus pic

It wasn't really part of this walk, but after getting back to Staines we did a little shopping at the supermarket and walked back along the riverside. Along the way we came upon the scene of an accident where the road was closed to traffic (for an inexplicably long time, we later discovered).

Looking under the railway bridge at the flooded towpath and ambulance lights.
1/15 at f2.8, 23mm, ISO800

All images © Samuel Marshall. All rights reserved.