Towpaths – Which Would You Improve First?

The council is going to be looking at the borough’s towpaths, and has asked us for input on which ones should be the priority. We’ve listed them all below – which ones would you like to see dealt with first?

The list uses the council’s format – grouping sections. Different sections are in different states, hence some of the grouping.

If you have any comments, or if you want to suggest a priority, please tell us below in the comments or at

1. Richmond Bridge to Kew Bridge

Ferry Lane to Thistleworth Marine:  This section of the towpath is a combination of broken up asphalt, concrete and gravel. It is uncomfortable to walk let alone to cycle. Total length is 3,000m with an average width of approx. 2.5m
Thistleworth Marine to Richmond Bridge: This section of the towpath is laid in asphalt and/or clearmac. The overall condition is good with no current maintenance issues.

2. Ham (Surrey side) towards Richmond Bridge

Richmond Bridge to south of Richmond canoe club: Asphalt laid towpath. Isolated patches of asphalt are required to eliminate existing potholes and towpath troughs
Buccleuch Gardens (south boundary) to River Lane: Towpath is laid in a mixture of brocken up concrete, asphalt and gravel. Upgrade to a hard surface is most desirable as this section is prone to flooding.

3. Ham vicinity to Teddington Lock

Ham Street (riverside car park) to Teddington Lock: This section of the towpath is a combination of broken up asphalt, concrete and gravel. Towpath upgrade will definitely be beneficial.

4. Teddington Lock to Kingston borough boundary

There is a footpath and a cyclepath that run parallel to each other. The footpath is made of gravel ground and is in good condition. The cyclepath is laid in clearmac and requires isolated patches to eliminate potholes and cracked surface.

5. Kingston Bridge to Hampton Court Bridge

Barge Walk (Horse Fair) to Palace Road: Access road to premises that acts as footpath/cyclepath laid in ashpalt. The current condition is good. Isolated minor patching to potholes.
Barge Walk (Palace Road) to Pavilion Terrace: Cyclepath is laid in gravel and is in very good condition. A few minor scattered potholes but not in need of immediate maintenance.
Barge Walk (Pavilion Terrace) to south boundary of the Great Fountain Garden: Access road to Pavilion Terrace that acts as footpath/cyclepath laid in ashpalt. Requires isolated patches to eliminate potholes and cracked surface.
Barge Walk (south boundary of the Great Fountain Garden) to Hampton Court Bridge: Access road to Pavilion Terace that acts as footpath/cyclepath laid in concrete. Good Condition no action needed.
Barge Walk footpath (south boundary of the Great Fountain Garden) to Stewart Marine Footpath is a mixture of gravel and natural ground. Majority of its length is in good condition however isolated grading re-levelling will be required to eliminate uneven ground conditions.

6. Richmond Bridge to Orlean Gardens 

Richmond Bridge to Denton Road Towpath in asphalt, condition is very good, no need for any improvements
Denton Road to Orleans Road Towpath in asphalt, requires isolated patches to elliminate potholes and cracked surface.


Richmond Park Quiet Way Response.

Dear Royal Parks,

Please find below the official response from Richmond Cycling Campaign to the consultation on the Richmond Park quiet way section.

RCC represents over 1,000 local members of London Cycling Campaign, as well as thousands of others who cycle in our borough, and this response has been arrived at in discussion with a number of these stakeholders.

Kind regards,

Borough Coordinator, Richmond Cycling.

RCC recognises that extensive effort has gone into this consultation, and we welcome the clear interest, in Royal Parks staff we have engaged with, in making the parks better for walking and cycling. We also welcome the interest Royal Parks shows in supporting the idea of a proper, attractive quiet way through Richmond Park. However, we have a number of concerns with the proposal as it stands, and these are elaborated below.

Overall Summary:
In general, this proposal seems somewhat nuclear on a number of major issues:

1. There’s already a nice clear tarmac network through the park, but it is not suitable for use for the quietway because of the high volume of motor traffic.

2. This seems to have resulted in proposals which imply that the central section of the proposed quiet way should be accessed via the Tamsin Trail / partly made paths from the gates.

3. These paths are not appropriate for cycling, because of their width, their shared nature, and their surfacing. The introduce conflict with pedestrians and provide uncomfortable riding conditions.

4. The central part of the route is too narrow – not only is the path of variable quality all along the sides, rendering the effective width less, but in this part of the route, it is virtually impossible for any volume of walking and cycling to interact comfortably.

5. The proposed route is already a signed cycle route. None of the changes proposed – using cycling money – are actually going to provide any material improvements to cycling in the park. It might even be argued that they are increasing the chance of conflict with pedestrians.

6. A wide range of parties have made it very clear that the most effective single change in Richmond Park, both for cycling and for the park itself, would be to curtail the volumes of motor traffic. Yet nothing is proposed for this.

7. Richmond Park could immediately be made better for walking and cycling by the limiting of through motor traffic, yet this proposal seems not to mention it. Most of the things discussed here are unlikely ever to be needed, if only we could make cycling attractive on the perfectly appropriate main ring.

Taking the consultation points in order:

Sheen Cross.
If this is a pedestrian and cyclist crossing, it implies that cycling should be using the Tamsin Trail / walkways here to access the park.This should not be the case: there is a perfectly good road, and the Royal Parks should not be proposing a ‘dual provision’ solution.

Ham Cross.
The proposal about surface texture is worrying – we know that poor and jarring surfaces are not pleasant for riders with disabilities, handcycles, etc. There’s no defined reason why this needs to be here. All sightlines are clear and unobstructed, so it isn’t clear how someone could be unaware of potential conflict.

Again, the crossing and design implies that cycling is being asked to use the pedestrian path / shared use path here. This really needs to be made very clear, because it is not a suitable surface for cycling, nor is it suitable for the volume, either. As with other sections like this, the priority should be to calm motor traffic in order to make cycling better.

Ham Gate
Again, this design seems to focus on cyclists using the paths and not the road. The paths are not of a standard – width or surface – to usefully accommodate cycling, meaning that it’s another attempt at dual provision.

If, in fact, the crossing is about making it nicer to walk across this crossing, with the assumption that cyclists will be on the road, then the question becomes: “Why are we spending cycling money on something that isn’t for cycling?” Because if this crossing is a problem, it’s hard to believe that the problem is caused by cycling …”

Middle path
This is altogether too narrow, and is effectively designed conflict with pedestrians because it is so narrow. This route is unlikely to work unless it is widened, how ever much we spend on ‘pedestrian priority’ warnings.

Pen Ponds entrance
This appears to be more money being spent for a problem that hasn’t been shown. This route has hundreds of pedestrian and cycling interactions a day, yet doesn’t seem to be a problem at the moment.

Horseride crossing
If this is pedestrian priority, why is there no signage for horse riding?

Isabella Plantation
Again, it isn’t clear what the problem is here with cycling: it looks like more signage with little value, and little effort to actually make this – as proposed – a proper quiet way.

It is somewhat perplexing that the pathways under discussion apparently need extensive signage and design in order to ‘educate’ those on bicycles. Yet on the roads through the park, where almost every single KSI incident happens, there is no change at all. The clear implication is that Royal Parks believe park users (and animals) to be more at risk from people on bicycles than people in cars, despite all the countervailing evidence.

Richmond Park Quietway Consultation – can you respond?

The Royal Parks Foundation is consulting on the suggested changes to make Richmond Park part of the quiet way network.

Riding on the Tamsin Trail.

Riding on the Tamsin Trail.

You can see their consultation here. We’ve started a Cyclescape discussion here, and we need your input.

As one commenter on the Cyclescape thread observes, it looks like cycling money is going to make things – in some places – worse for cycling!

Our key observations at the moment:

  1. The design clearly implies that the Tamsin Trail, with its pedestrian priority, is the proposed entry point at Roehampton and Ham gates. Not only is the surface poor for cycling, but it is likely to degrade very quickly under any volume of cycling. Worst of all, by far, is the designed conflict with pedestrians at both ends of the route.
  2. The central section is very narrow. We completely support pedestrian priority, but the section could be made much more comfortable for all by widening it to the same widths at each end.
  3. There’s no mention of gates. If this route is going to be of genuine use to everyone, it needs pedestrian gates which can be used by everyone, whatever their bicycle, tricycle or level of mobility.
  4. The easy, cheap way to make Richmond Park a quiet way is to curtail the volume of motor traffic. Yet there is no plan of any type to do this.

Your response is needed now! The consultation closes on October 18th: Please write to or comment on our Cyclescape thread – we’ll make sure we raise all these issues at the next meeting with Royal Parks Foundation.

We did a few images to show you all this …

‘Central section’ through quiet way.


Entering at Sheen Gate. Which way would you go? (NB the quietway runs from Roehampton gate, but the problem is likely to be the same  – the design encourages cyclists to go off road.)

Sheen Gate entrance

Crossing to Ham Gate. Please risk conflict with pedestrians before endangering motor vehicles!

(We did like the comment “How come there’s so much effort to put up signs about pedestrian priority on the route, whereas none of the roads get a big ‘cycling priority’ sign?”)

Richmond Cycling Monthly Meeting – October 10th

The next monthly meeting is on October 10th, upstairs at the Old Ship.

At the level crossing

  • Cycling Liaison Group – October 11th

The CLG (Cycling Liaison Group) meets on October 11th – you can see the details and the papers here.

  • Rocks Lane consultation

We responded to the Rocks Lane consultation (on the council site, here)

  • Richmond Park consultation

Our discussion is here, Royal Parks consultation is here.

  • Space 4 cycling ward asks.

These are shown on the S4C site. We’d like to get these updated, and discuss our next actions.

  • Twickenham Riverside

An update from the recent meeting held about this.

  • Riding to school

A possible proposal about encouraging more cycling to school and how that might work

  • EV charging consultation

The council is consulting on increasing the support for charging of electric vehicles (here).

Do we want to respond to this?

  • 7. LCC AGM

This is on Saturday 15th October. All members are eligible to attend.

Rides for Explorers – Sunday 2nd October – Surrey Woodlands

Meet at Twickenham Riverside 10.00. We head out across Bushy Park and through Thames Ditton to Littleworth Common and Ardbrook Common to reach Cobham. Crossing the Mole we follow lanes to Bookham Common and up to to NT cafe outside of Polsden Lacy. On the way home we add Oxshott Common and Claygate woods.

37 miles mostly away from the traffic.


4 of us did this ride. The day was bright if chillier than we have become accustomed to. Pretty quiet from Thames Ditton back to Kingston apart from the road up to Polsden Lacy which was busy as they are running a food fair. We added in a drink at the social club on Downside Common and still got back by 3.

Contact Paul : .-

Priory Lane – Jason Wells finds a new friend. (UPDATED)

Update: Roehampton Safer Neighbourhood Team have called us, and they’ve also spoken to Roadsafe, who are now apparently handling the investigation. We’ll let you know when we hear something. 

So 18 months after Jason Wells launched a foul-mouthed tirade against people cycling down Priory Lane, and threatened them with his vehicle, another driver thinks that it’s appropriate to break the law on Well Lane because of his self-important (and incorrect) views of how people should be cycling.

This time it’s Andrew Cudd, who posted this Facebook video, showing him driving down Priory Lane, clearly holding a phone, and recording his comments and his driving.

Honking your horn, and too close.

This week has seen major national newspapers have looked at mobile use in cars, and the potential danger involved. We’re asking the Roehampton Safer Neighbourhoods Team to investigate this video, and others have asked Roadsafe to do the same.

Not only is Mr Cudd wrong in a number of his assertions, but what appear to be a number of close passes, and his clear admission to be using his mobile phone while driving should surely result in some police attention. We want the roads in our area to be safe for everyone, however they’re getting around, and whatever they choose to wear – no-one should be exposed to danger or poor road behaviour like this.

Any old tyres ?

In October we are doing a class for Teddington Scouts to help with their Cycling badge. I have a discarded  700c wheel. If anyone has a tyre that they are about to throw out could they throw it in my direction so that we can practice tyre removal without risking a real bike being made unrideable.


Paul :

Local Plan – can you do a quick response?

See the council plans here and the consultation here. You can respond by emailing with your comments. 

If you only have a moment, please tell the council “Cycling and walking need to be embedded as a means of transport for all areas of the borough, and the local plan must recognise this with specific commitments to providing safe infrastructure for cycling, and a recognition that advisory and marketing programmes will not increase the rates of cycling or walking in the borough.

Cycling is still an afterthought, and not an integral part of the transport plan. It needs to be part of the fixing of congestion, it needs to be in every development and every road change

Car parking in town centres is wrongly suggested, by these policies, to be essential to the vitality of our town centres. This isn’t true: not only does the council have no evidence to support the idea that 30 mins of free parking actually makes any economic difference to justify its cost, but this emphasis removes from consideration of other ways to access our town centres.

Idea that we will somehow reduce the number of journeys seems quite ill-informed: why are we not focussing on makig sure people can make those journeys by a method other than the private car?

13.1.3 on delivery of the local plan for transport

13.1.7 on potential sites for schools …

“Delivery plan and infra delivery schedule” on providing the transport plans

13.2.3 Infra to deliver sustainable growth – why isn’t transport there?

It’s fine words all over again, for the few people with the patience to read the council’s new Local Plan. Despite all the changes in the last few years, and endless discussions on the subject of cycling as a mode of transport, it basically receives lip service in the new Local Plan document. It starts straight away, with the Strategic Vision (section 2, p13) which envisages the future of the borough’s main centres being access by walking and public transport. At the moment, the main mode of transport is the private car: should we assume that failure to mention the car means that no-one will use them? Probably not, if the rest of the local plan is anything to go by – but given the lack of detail in any planning for cycling, we might assume that these major local centres will have a few bike parking racks as an afterthought.

(In ‘A Sustainable Borough’ the council plans to deliver ‘Smart City technology’ but doesn’t even mention transport as a part of moving towards zero carbon.

P16 s.2.3.1 “A Sustainable Future” needs to talk about providing safe transport choices, and not just promoting them. It’s not enough to use words like this “Promotesafeandsustainabletransportchoices,includingpublic transport,cyclingandwalking,forallpeople,includingthosewith disabilities.” when we know that promotion has almost no value in changing peoples’ transport choices.

3.1.8 – excellent that this section recognises the importance and value of people being able to walk and cycle to places,
3.1.14 – welcome the emphasis on creating new walking and cycling routes.
3.1.17 – Sustainable future – again mentions promotion of walking and cycling. A ‘main element’ of the Spatial Strategy is to promote walking and cycling, but actually this should read something like ‘A main element of the Spatial Strategy is to provide safe places to cycle throughout the borough, focussing on the recognition that only the actual provision of cycling separate from motor traffic, on clear, well-signed, direct routes, will encourage rasonable numbers of people to start cycling instead of driving.’

3.1.24 – to create envmts and public realm which support everyone, transport needs to be a key factor. 25% of the borough doesn’t drive, and we can’t route buses to every possible spot. Therefore it is incumbent on the council to make sure that wherever humanly possible, places can be accessed by foot or by cycle.

4.1.9 – welcome the need for pedestrian and cycle access to areas at all times.

Update CP10 Open Land and Parks (p63) to include accessible cycle parking to LCDS standards in all locations. (It is not acceptable to specify car parking for these without including access by foot and by bicycle.)

New policy LP12 Green Infra – needs to include accessibility by bicycle, as well as cycle parking.

LP25 – development of centres: needs to talk about how people access them – the borough will start to choke if we get more people, but don’t provide other ways to get around.

Welcome changes in LP30 – encouraging sustainable modes of transport.

LP31 on open space – needs to include a requirement on how the space is accessed – this should prioritise walking and cycling, and should include the need for accessibility for all users (i.e. safe access for people with disabilities, etc.)

LP44 – re-use the wording about public transport for the cycling and walking section. Needs to be more robust, clear wording and statement of intent.

Like 11.1.5 about how cycling and walking facilities make a place better.

LP45 needs to mention cycle parking specfically. Bikes are vehicles, but too much documetation fails to recognise this, so they need calling out specifically.

Need a policy about sorting out deliveries, so that they are less central causes of congestion, and so that businesses are encouraged to source this together

Cycling Liaison Group – Lots of Updates …

The Cycling Liaison Group covered a lot of material, so apologies for the late report. The council will likely also issue the minutes of the meeting soon, too.

The new cycling strategy is due to have been looked at by the cabinet (link), and is in the council papers (this PDF, from p33)

Cycle ramps are being placed on more of our bridges. There’s a new design which the borough is going to trial, and there is now a list of where the council is currently evaluating their use. If you’ve got s bridge you’d like to see get a ramp or channel, let us know. (

We were told that the arrival of a new mayor is leaving some uncertainty at the moment, which is why some things seem to be moving slowly. Since the council doesn’t spend much of its own money on cycling, sadly, it is left at the behest of TfL for most funding.

This was also the first meeting with the new cabinet member for transport, Peter Buckwell. He seems to have got a good hold of his brief with regard to cycling, though we’re obviously worried that whatever ambitions he might have will be reigned in by the cycling haters who currently steer the ship.

There was a lot of discussion around ‘filtered permeability‘ – this is something that the council has previously installed on a number of roads, and they’re prepared to trial it on others. A good example is the network of roads which lead onto the A316, near Nelson Road, like here.

Bushy Park – there’s been a lot of discussion recently about the Duke’s Head Passage change in Bushy Park (see our article), and we’re told the Cycling Officer is in discussion with Royal Parks. Richmond Cycling also went to a Royal Parks meeting subsequently, and things seem to be moving – if glacially – on this.

Apparently TfL have been spending a lot of effort looking at cycling on the A316, for most of its length in the borough, up into Chiswick. This could mean they’re seriously looking at how to fix things like Chalkers Corner and Manor Circus, as well as the fact that the cycle lane has to give way to every side road. We’re hopeful that, with the new Super Highways in central London, we’re going to get something good here, but there is still outstanding concern that it might be at the expense of pedestrians in places like Manor Circus, where TfL has previously consulted on moving the super useful zebra crossings in favour of traffic lights which don’t let you cross all at once.

Nelson Road: as you might have seen (here) we were not very impressed with the council plans for Nelson Road, and a lot of locals kicked up a big stink over the failure to add 20mph limits. The CLG was told that 20mph in this area will now go to consultation sometime after the summer holidays.

Something I didn’t follow properly – there is a section 123 request for funding which includes a bridge from Ham to Teddington. If we find out more, we’ll tell you, as this would be a fine thing!

Parking at train stations: this one is all a bit opaque as to who is really responsible for it, but it sounds like there will be new franchise tendering soon, and as a result various bidders have been trying to entice the council with their offerings. This was seen as an opportunity to ask for significantly improved cycle parking at stations across the borough.

Petersham Road: the most recent documents suggest that the closure of Petersham Road, despite promising cycle access, does not include this, and the council and our local members are now pursuing this urgently.

Sheen Road is being looked at by engineers, although we’re not clear what the plan is at the moment – hopefully the designs will include some proper space for cycling to support all the school children who could be cycling to schools in the area.

Changes to Rocks Lane to make it safer are under examination – see here – we’ll try to get a response soon.

There are a number of other items on the handout we received – there are some details on the council page (here), but we’ve copied the handout here as well.

Please get in contact if you have any questions – there’s a lot here, all of which could do with covering in more detail!