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Riverside Walk

This mown-grass walk runs parallel to the River Thames between the Brentford Gate and Syon Overlook.

View of the River Thames near Brentford Gate

The river now proudly flows between the spreading lawns of Syon, and the Royal Gardens of Richmond [now part of Kew]; which together form a scene of superior grandeur and beauty.

J.J. Boydell, History of the Principle Rivers of Great Britain, Vol. 2 (1796)

Historical information

Kew's Riverside Walk dates back to 1862, when Kew Director Sir William Hooker planted a belt of trees and shrubs along the riverside from Brentford Ferry Gate to Syon Overlook to hide from sight the new docks and railway terminus in Brentford. A path was first cut through the trees in 1868. 

William’s son Joseph thickened the screen of trees in 1877 having taken over from his father in 1865. Joseph’s successor, Sir William Thistleton-Dyer, improved the backdrop once more in 1912 and 1913. He replaced existing elms with trees such as holm oaks (Quercus ilex), pines and laurels.

In 1997, a new path was opened in this screen. Today, dotted with ox-eye daisies and Camassias, the path passes between various species of oaks and provides occasional glimpses of the river.

Things to look out for

In winter, cormorants frequently fly to and from their nesting grounds along this part of the River Thames.

 

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