The walk connects Richmond Park with Wimbledon Common by two different routes, over varied terrain and with a wide range of views without any retracing of steps. It includes some of the best-loved features of the Park and Common, such as Isabella Plantation, the Windmill and Pen Ponds with, by way of contrast, a short section through the exclusive residential area of Coombe. Three alternative routes are given across Wimbledon Common.
Calculated time is computed with the distance, the height difference, and an average speed of 2.2 mph. For an intermediate walker, this time includes small breaks.
The walk starts at Pembroke Lodge car park, Richmond Gate or Petersham Gate.
(D/A) From Richmond Gate, enter via the left-hand pedestrian gate and go ahead to cross the road after the roundabout and immediately before the wooden gates. Take the right hand of two grassy tracks (heading SSE) through trees and keeping roughly 150 yards away from the north-south roadway. Pass by the new Tercentenary Gates to Sidmouth Wood. After about 650 yards turn left at a fenced-in old tree stump to go through a kissing gate into Sidmouth Wood.
From Pembroke Lodge car park, cross the road and go directly towards the railings of Sidmouth Wood. At the path near the railings turn left and follow the path to a kissing gate leading into the wood. Go through the wood and out by the gate at the far side. From this gate turn half right along a clear grassed track, walk forward in a roughly southerly direction to join an earth track to the right. Go forward and cross the broad earth track coming up from Pen Ponds and soon White Ash Lodge will come into view.
(1) Turn left to pass the Lodge and after 100 yards take the right hand fork (heading SE). Take the next right hand fork (heading S) eventually coming to a tarmacked cycle route. Go straight across to reach the car park and gate to Isabella Plantation.
(2) Go through the gate into the Isabella Plantation and go past the new toilet block to Peg’s Pond. Follow the path either side of the stream to the gate (Broomfield Hill Gate) at the far side; diverging in any direction to enjoy the woodland garden. The plantation is famous for the glorious colors of the azaleas and rhododendrons in early summer but is attractive all year round. There is also a small toilet block near to and about 200 yards west of the southern gate.
From the exit, gate turn right and take the grassy track heading SSW. Go ahead to meet the park perimeter road. Carry on straight across to Ladderstile Gate, keeping to the left of the horse ride.
(3) Exit by this gate and go down the short approach road to the A308 at Kingston Hill. Cross this to Warren Road opposite, noting the plaque to General Dwight D Eisenhower, and follow this pleasant residential road nearly half a mile to take Warren Cutting, a turning on the left.
(4) At the end of this road, bear right then left, following the road round to go through a white gate. Go forward to pass the clubhouse and down to the main road (A238). The right of way is shown continuing down Warren Road, but there will probably be no objection to this shortcut.
(5) Turn sharp left into Coombe Hill Road and follow this one third of a mile until it ends by turning sharp right to Henley Drive. Go ahead through the railings to the Kingston Bypass (A3) and cross by the footbridge. Go down the steps and in 100 yards turn right to follow a small path beside the sports club to a bridge across Beverly Brook on the edge of Wimbledon Common.
(6) Turn left at the bridge and follow the path alongside Beverley Brook for just over a mile, passing another bridge and several paths off to the right. Cross a wooden bridge on the left, turn right and keep to the right-hand side of the playing fields. Turn right through a gap in the trees and follow the path to reach the A3. Cross at the pedestrian crossing point to reach Robin Hood Gate.
(7) Inside Robin Hood Gate there are more public toilets. Walk across the small car park to the `In’ sign, to take an indistinct path facing across the road. When this path emerges into the open below Spankers Hill Wood, leave it to climb more directly towards the hill, aiming at a gap between fenced enclosures just below the wood.
(8) Beyond them, turn right for 70 yards, climb up through oak trees for about 200 yards, bear left up to the top of the hill and, just after the top, bear left to head down to the road above Pen Ponds. Continue ahead over the grass to the causeway between the ponds.
(9) Beyond the ponds, turn left by the shore of the higher one but fork right after a few yards. Keep on this path for the remainder of this walk. It climbs gently, crosses a horse ride, continues by the side of (Sidmouth) Wood, crosses the outward route near White Ash Lodge and soon leads to Pembroke Lodge.(D/A)
D/A : km 0 - alt. 52m - Richmond Park
1 : km 1.33 - alt. 38m - The Lodge
2 : km 2.14 - alt. 31m - Peg's Pond
3 : km 3.41 - alt. 59m - Gate
4 : km 4.49 - alt. 56m - Warren Cutting
5 : km 4.91 - alt. 46m - Coombe Hill Road
6 : km 5.88 - alt. 18m - Bridge
7 : km 7.92 - alt. 14m - Robin Hood Gate
8 : km 8.84 - alt. 48m - Spankers Hill Wood
9 : km 9.72 - alt. 21m - Ponds
D/A : km 10.99 - alt. 52m - Richmond Park
This walk can be muddy in winter, especially across Wimbledon Common.
Buses: 65 or 371 to the Dysart Arms, entering Richmond Park by at Petersham Gate and turning half-left to take a wide uphill path. Go through another gate at the top and turn right through Pembroke Lodge Gardens to the car park. Or 371 to Richmond Hill (American University stop) to start the walk at Richmond Gate.
Station : Richmond Station: Walk through town and up Richmond Hill or take buses as above.
Car Parking : Pembroke Lodge car park.
Refreshments : Pembroke Lodge (open 9am-5.30pm or park closing time if earlier) and Windmill café, Wimbledon Common.
Toilets : Richmond Gate, Pembroke Lodge Gardens, Isabella Plantation (at north and near south gates), Wimbledon café and (on return route) at Robin Hood Gate. Facilities for wheelchair users at Pembroke Lodge Gardens and Isabella Plantation (north gate)
Wheelchair Ramble : The main walkers’ route includes the woodland gardens of Isabella Plantation and the gardens of Pembroke Lodge, both most attractive places and easily accessible to the disabled. There are a number of parking spaces for blue badge holders at both Pembroke Lodge and Isabella Plantation. The latter can also be accessed to drop off/pick up disabled passengers. Both of these locations have toilets adapted for disabled persons’ use.
Visorando and this author cannot be held responsible in the case of accidents or problems occuring on this walk.
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The GPS track and description are the property of the author.