Walking the Thames Path from Tower Bridge to The Thames Barrier.
This final part of the Thames Path is around 10 miles long and follows the huge loops of The River Thames as it passes many old wharves, several famous buildings, the Dome and ends at the Thames Barrier. Some of what can be seen on this section of The Thames path is changing all the time - the first part from Tower Bridge goes past lots of refurbished warehouses (now turned into what are probably excessively priced apartments), quite a few wharves which involve slight diversions - then comes out on
the approaches to the Dome. Around here in places the demolition of old buildings and structures is in full flow and the rest of the way down to the Thames Barrier from the Dome is at times not that scenic.
Getting to Tower Bridge for this walk could not be simpler - the nearest underground station is at London Bridge (Jubilee and Northern Lines) - and the walk along the river bank to Tower Bridge takes about 7 or 8 minutes - all with some excellent views by the way!
The following are just a series of photos showing
various scenes and things which are nice to look at on the way - there is a "Thames Path" available to use on both sides of the River Thames - these are taken from along the southern bank. If you use the north bank path then you can get as far as Greenwich and then have to take the foot-tunnel under the Thames and finish the remainder of the walk down to the Barrage on the south bank.
Tower of London
From Tower Bridge it is a ten mile stretch to the Thames Barrier if walking on the South Bank. This section follows the river bank whenever possible but because much of "Old London" was built directly against the Thames in places warehouses and wharfs prevent access for the path. However as renovation takes place public promenades have been created between the new apartment blocks and the river. The path is well marked but sometimes signs are small and somewhat difficult to spot - an additional aid which
follows the same route are the round disks set into the pavements indicating the Jubilee Walkway. The path follows the quay in front of Butlers Wharf - this was the largest wharf complex on the river and was constructed in 1871 - it is now lined with restaurants.
The bridge over St Saviour's Dock is soon reached - this area gives a good idea of how the docks looked in Victorian times. The muddy inlet was lined with warehouses and these had small cranes up the sides of the walls and these cranes have been retained when renovation occurred.
The next section around Rotherhithe keeps diverting from river to road and passes foundations of Edward III's moated manor house foundations, St. Mary's church and the engine house built by Brunel. The engine house was created to drain the foot-tunnel under The Thames and is still in use today to drain what became a railway tunnel.
Free Trade Wharf
After crossing a red lift-bridge which goes over Surrey Water the Thames Path returns to the river's edge. Where a footbridge crosses an inlet just across the road is another pumphouse (now a museum) which
was built to control the water in Surrey Docks. More diversions follow until reaching Greenland Docks. This is an interesting area with a hydraulically powered swing-bridge, several hydraulic rams which powered the lock gates using pressure from the nearbye pumphouse plus an old hydraulic capstan still exists.
After the Strand there are more diversions away from the river until crossing Deptford Creek. Back alongside the river the preserved Cutty Sark sailing clipper is soon reached and then Greenwich. Greenwich was originally a palace,
then converted by Wren into a hospital for disabled seamen, then in 1873 it became a Royal Naval College and is now a university campus. Also in the area is Greenwich Park, The National Maritime Museum and the Royal Observatory - through which the Prime Meridian line divides east and west.
Isle of Dogs
Greenwich Power Station beside The River Thames. As you walk along this part of The Thames Path one of the several buildings which seem to be always in view is the Greenwich Power Station and in particular this huge building's four 182 feet high brick clad chimneys. The building was constructed in the early 1900s and provided electricity for the London Underground and for London's trams - there are still some tram rails visible on some of the surrounding roads. Originally powered by reciprocating steam engines eventually these were replaced with steam turbines and then gas turbine engines. The power station remains a back up power source for
the London Underground system.
From here the Thames Path passes several wharfs then follows the river round a huge loop - much of this area is being re-developed. Built within this loop is the Millennium Dome - which takes seemingly ages to walk round - then the path heads off along Bugsby's Reach going by several more wharfs and a huge gravel storage area.
Royal Naval College
Greenwich Power Station
Greenwich Power Station
West India Docks
Getting towards to end of The Thames Path and looking at the Thames Barrier. The barriers across the River Thames come into view whilst still some way away from the end of the Thames Path - with the right clouds and sunlight these barriers spread across the river do make for an interesting view. Once at the Thames Barrier - although maps and information seem to show there is a visitor centre right there this does not seem to be the case. You have to continue several 100 yards past the barrier to where
there is a cafe just up on a rise to the right. The Visitors Centre seems to be within the cafe - a door with it's sign says if you want to go in then go and get a ticket at the cafe's counter. There are several bench seats and tables on a grass area in front of the cafe and also there are toilets available - remarkably for greedy London these seem to be free to use.
Tate + Lyle
There is not any public transport i.e. buses or tube down at the Thames Barrier - to get to the nearest bus stop follow Unity Way (just behind the cafe) and soon pick up Eastmoor St. heading away from the river up to the main road. Turn left and there are bus stops for services including 472 - bus 472 on the other side of the main road will take you back to the Dome where you can get the Jubilee tube line.
Please also take a look at our The Thames Path towpath Walks in England
Home Page which lists all our topics about walking along the Thames Path from Lechlade through to the end of the Path at the Thames Barrage. There are also more topics about the River Thames - showing many of the old Thames Bridges which cross the river plus Weirs and river Locks
on the route - links to these can be found on the above Home Page.
Via our Site Resources
find links to more items about England - canals include The Oxford Canal, The Grand Union Canal, The Kennet and Avon Canal, The Regents Canal, the River Lee Navigation and The River Stort and The Stratford-upon-Avon Canal. Also items on British Wild Flowers and English Churches.
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