Oyster Loop Day 2 of 8, a circuit of London for hybrid bikes using Oyster stations.
The royal palaces of Hampton Court and Windsor sit at the start and latter part of this route, so the tracks along the Thames would have been used historically between them by all types of royal traffic. The route also passes Runnymede where the Magna Carta was signed before ending at Uxbridge, site of failed negotiations between King Charles 1 and Parliament during the Civil War.
- Total Distance: 53.5km
- Total Ascent: 125m
- Highest Point: 84m
- Lowest Point: 5m.
This route uses Sustrans 4 to follow the Thames to Windsor via the ferry at Shepperton and Windsor Great Park. It then cuts across to Route 61 to reach the Grand Union Canal which is followed to Uxbridge.
Sustrans Route 4 follows the Thames Cycleway over the road from Hampton Court station. The tow path is a mixture of gravel and tarmac which allows the wide range of houses and houseboats on this stretch of the Thames to be seen.
Shepperton is soon reached which it’s little day-time ferry across the Thames, after which larger roads take to Chertsey Bridge. Here route 4 passes under the bridge to rejoin the river heading upstream, again a mixture of gravel and tarmac, but always easy cycling. On reaching Staines, the river is crossed on the road bridge, before a series of pavement cycle paths take you the couple of miles to Runnymede. Thankfully this stretch is quickly over.
Beyond Runnymede, the A30 is crossed, and then a steep and in places gravelly bridleway takes you up to the Air Force Memorial at the top of the hill. Whilst a challenge, the effort is worthwhile as minor roads take you onwards into Windsor Great Park, with views of the main rides through it. Route 4 then continues into Windsor town centre, passing along the main river frontage and crossing the pedestrian bridge into Eton.
Here the college takes over the town and Route 4 is left behind with local roads used to connect to Route 61 on the side of the Jubilee River. Initially crossing the M4 and then through fields, the route crosses the Great Western railway at Langley, before taking again to the fields. Here the bridleways are unmanaged, with one section singletrack across grassland taking effort to traverse.
Minor roads and then another section of gravel bridleway take you across the M25 before the Grand Union canal is reached. This is followed northwards to reach Uxbridge, where local roads are taken into the town centre and the Metropolitan Line station.
UPDATE: I had been holding back my detailed information on the Oyster Wheel Days until I had the opportunity to re-ride them and check them for accuracy. However due to Coronavirus “shielding”, I will be unable to ride them for some months. I have therefore decided to publish the draft copies in case others get the chance to use them before me. The route card is a simple table of directions and distances, where the description is a book chapter with the same directions, but also detailed maps and a commentary on the route and places of interest.
As always, I am always happy to receive comments on these.