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I completed challenge II. (c) - visit your local council's website and follow a walking route.

Last year, I followed a route in the borough of London that I live in: Richmond-upon-Thames, but this year I decided to choose a neighbouring borough and looked at the Royal Borough of Kingston-upon-Thames council website at Walking routes around the borough.

I chose the Hogsmill Walk - A walk along part of the Hogsmill Valley to Tolworth Court Farm.


I took a train to Kingston-upon-Thames, and walked past the phoneboxes.

Out of Order by David Mach:
Out of Order

I walked onwards and reached the start of the walk at the Hogsmill Bridge.

I passed lots of blackberry flowers, Surbiton Cemetery, sewage works, hogweed and lots of stinging nettles and then reached Berrylands station:

Berrylands

I then was able to get a bit closer to the Hogsmill River, but it was very overgrown, so I only caught glimpses of it every now and again.

I saw some pink Himalayan balsam, growing near the river. According to Wikipedia, these are some of its other names: Policeman's Helmet, Bobby Tops, Copper Tops, Gnome's Hatstand, Kiss-me-on-the-mountain, Ornamental Jewelweed.

The ground was very cracked, I presume due to lack of rain as opposed to earthquakes.

I walked through some meadows, and the hogsweed was much taller than I was.

I passed some common comfrey and some pretty blue cornflowers.

I then came upon a signpost, "from the A3 to the railway bridge" that explained that the name "Hogsmill" may come from John Hog, an important 12th century resident of Kingston.

I saw a black ladybird with red spots and then walked through a meadow and underneath a bridge.

I went past the church of St John the Baptist and peered into the overgrown churchyard:

Gravestones

I walked onwards and then found the river again and battled my way through the stinging nettles, and found a sign that said the Hogsmill River had 12 gunpowder mills along it. It was quite noisy along this stretch of river due to a go-karting race track next to it. I saw some pink hedge nettle growing. (Also known as heal-all, self-heal, woundwort, betony, lamb's ears.)

I then headed into the nature reserve and a sign said that somewhere further along the Hogsmill River, it is believed that John Everette Millais painted Ophelia. Also further on was the Bonesgate Stream, named after its association with the burial of plague victims. I quite wanted to continue further into the nature reserve and see these sights, but I had somewhere else to be, and the route I was following had ended.

The Hogsmill River:

Hogsmill River

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