19 September 2011

Cycling to Kew

What started out as just a cycle for the exercise turned into yet another excuse for going to Kew.

This Summer's weather had hardly been encouraging for cycling and, for whatever reason, the local Open Garden events did not fall on convenient days so I had to reason to go out before.

In the end it was the realisation that Summer was slipping quickly past without waiting for me to get on my bike that made me get on my bike.

I live between the river and Richmond Park which means that the obvious routes are to follow the river or to cross the park. I followed the river.

Heading North takes you quickly to Richmond and then the river swings slowly round Kew before taking you to the Kew Gradens' Brentford Gate.

This is not a gate I use often, I think I've only gone in that way once before, so it seemed sensible to break the journey for a while and explore that part of the garden.

The iPhone app proved its use again here as it pointed me towards Minka House and the Bamboo Garden around it.

And I like really bamboo.

This is a quiet corner of Kew, away from the main entrances and the main attractions, which is an attraction itself for those of us who value tranquility and space. Here the garden looks more natural and only the glimpse of the occasional bench reminds you that this is a tightly managed environment.

This is wild Kew at its majestic best with cleverly planted trees revealing how evolution has shaped the natural world around us while also creating paths through them where the light can play gleefully.

A circular route took me back towards the gate and the White Peaks cafe for a coffee and a cake.

I'd cycled and walked a reasonable distance so I deserved that cake.

Before heading back home the way that I came I made a quick visit to the Queen’s Garden behind Kew Palace.

The well-ordered hedges and borders are in stark contrast to the earlier woodlands but are no less pretty or interesting.

Finally it was time to remember the real point of the day and get back on the bike and fight with the walkers on the tow-path home.

It's hard to think of a better way of spending a Sunday morning.

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