I’d wanted to explore the area roughly SW of Hampton Court Place for some time, ever since discovering that George Arthur Gale who built our house in the early 1900s had built an estate on “Roughwood and land in rear, Ember Lane, Esher, Surrey” in about 1933. Not really knowing what to expect, we enjoyed an interesting afternoon in April 2013, walking over seven miles, looking at suburban between-the-wars domestic architecture. The circuit walk can be started at any one of Hampton Court, Thames Ditton or Esher Stations, although we started from home in Teddington, which extended it from 5 to 7 miles across Bushy Park. Allow two-three hours, unless you stop for refreshments along the way.
This text describes the route from Hampton Court Station, just south of the palace and the road bridge over the River Thames.
Cross Hampton Court Way by a safe and approved method. It is an extremely busy road, frequented by cars that have just left or are just gearing up for the 70mph-plus A3 nearby. Walk along Bridge Road, which quickly turns left away from the river. Walk past a short stretch of inviting wine bars, boutiques and coffee shops. Other places for refreshments will be encountered, but this is the last time you will have much choice. On arriving at a mini-roundabout, Creek Road merges in from the left. Continue along Bridge Road, and pass a memorial dated 1887. Continue past Wolsey Road, Amison Road and Bridge Gardens to another roundabout. Turn right here past the old Police Station, carefully cross Walton Road, and take the second entrance on the left, into Matham Road. It loops round and joins the road again, so be sure to take the second entrance to it. Almost immediately turn right into Bell Road, and wander along past the inviting Bell Inn, dating from 1460. Bell Road shortly forks left, so ignore the right fork, Molesey Road. At the very end of Bell Road look for a wooden finger-post to Cow Common. Look out here for some common cows, although we were disappointed.
Follow the clear path as it weaves its way towards a bridge which you should use to cross the River Mole, as it completes its 50-mile journey from near Gatwick to its planned meeting with the River Ember, just before that river meets the Thames at Cigarette Island Park near Hampton Court station. Immediately after the bridge you will find the River Ember on your left, and you cross this waterway by a bridge 2-300 yards ahead, noting the weir just upstream.
After the bridge, follow the main path as it meanders through some woodland before arriving at Orchard Lane. Pass Imber Court Trading Estate on your right, and, on reaching the main road, cross carfeully and turn right along Ember Lane for about a third of a mile. You will see The Metropolitan Police Sports Club on your right, formed from Imber Court, dating from about 1805.
When Ember Lane turns sharply right, turn with it, and again when it turns sharply left, noticing the wide array of ‘between the wars’ houses. Almost immediately turn right into Grove Way. Entrance right to fields near resr.
When Grove Way bears left by a grassy island, keep with it, heading almost due south, and take the 4th left, The Woodlands, just before you reach the railway and Esher Station.
After 400 yards, you arrive at Station Road, with the station itself 250 yards to the right, where those starting this walk from Esher Station will join us.
Cross Station Road, through sparse woods until you pass a single golf course fairway, and bear slightly left towards the pond and church which will eventually appear through the trees, depending on the amount of foliage present. Pass the pretty pond to your left, following it round with Marney’s Village Pub on your right. Immediately after the pub, spatially (and even temporally...) turn right along Alma Road, to our second encounter with Hampton Court Way. Cross Hampton Court Way by a safe and approved method. It is an extremely busy road, frequented by cars that have just left or are just gearing up for the 70mph-plus A3 nearby. You should be getting familiar with it by now... It’s been there since 1928-32, but quite why it took four years is quite beyond me.
Beyond Hampton Court Way, walk along Weston Green Road, with the green and village pond to your right. After a few hundred yards you will see the entrance to Esher 6th Form College on your left. Continue to Thames Ditton Station where those starting this walk from Thames Ditton station will join us, and go carefully under the railway, and into Speer Road, which you should follow for several hundred yards before bearing left across a small patch of grass into Summer Road. Wait patiently for South West Trains to clear the crossing at the automatic half barriers (we had to wait several munutes for three trains on the line to Waterloo to pass even on a sunday afternoon.) At Hampton Court Way turn right and follow the shared people and cycle path back to Hampton Court.