All change on Upper Richmond Road

There really is a remarkable amount of construction going on in London at the moment.

Of course, the tallest buildings get the headlines - the Shard, Leadenhall building, 20 Fenchurch Street and so on. But there are cranes over suburbia, too: the housing shortage means seemingly every last derelict or obsolete building or bit of brownfield land is the site of a mid-rise "mixed-use" development.

This is well encapsulated by a third-of-a-mile stretch of the Upper Richmond Road (South Circular) between Putney High Street (for Putney Station) and East Putney Station. I take a look at what's being knocked down, what will soon rise in its place, and what my backseat-driver opinion of it all is.

Putney Plaza demolition

Steam train / tube train

Some days you just get lucky.

I didn't plan on photographing this perfect scene of a steam train with an underground going, er, over it. It just fell into my lap.

Read on for the not very interesting story of how, and more importantly, extra pictures.

Steam train / tube train

Bushy Park

In which I foolishly attempt to walk across the open space of London's second largest Royal Park under the baking sun of perhaps the hottest day of 2012.

Heron Pond

Skyline spotting from London's hills

The Shard has taken most of the headlines by claiming the title of tallest building in the EU (and, briefly, Europe, until overtaken by Moscow's Mercury City Tower). But it's not alone: London has an ever-going range of skyscrapers, some designed by renowned architects; some designs great, some... debatable.

In this piece I do a round-up of some of the best publically accessible high points in London for a panaromic view of London's skyline.

Shard and City skyline from Norwood Park

Wandle Trail

A long-time resident of Wandsworth borough, I have long been aware that the borough takes its name from the River Wandle. This is a river I cross almost every time I go to central London, and yet in Wandsworth town centre is scarcely visible.

This is, hopefully, to change, as I will touch upon later. However, at present the nicer stretches of the Wandle are further from the Thames, as I discovered when I impulsively decided to vary my diet of Thames riverbank strolling with an exploration of my local tributary.

River Wandle in Watermeads Nature Reserve

Olympics in Putney

I didn't really do the Olympics.

When the ticket sales were announced a year or so before the games, I was in scrooge mode. Money could be spent on better things, I thought. Exposure could be better given to other cities, I added, in noble generosity. And how the hell am I supposed to know if I'll feel like watching weightlifting or shotput eleven months next Tuesday?

So I didn't buy any tickets.

Of course, bloody Boyle went and ruined that...

Cycle road race on Upper Richmond Road

Richmond Park

I thought it would be fitting to open this blog with Richmond Park. I have been lucky enough to live between "fairly close" and "very close" for most of my seven years in London, and as such it has been my default place to go when I fancy a ramble in non-urban surroundings.

In a strange way, this made it a kind of 'inspiration' for this "Exploratory" blog. I was motivated to seek out new places to explore due to a kind of boredom about coming here so often. I feel wary of using the word boredom, because while it is the only word that seems to convey the urge for new strolling grounds, it is also very unfair.

See, the thing is, I sometimes feel sort of bored of Richmond Park when considering where to go, but whenever I get there I love it nonetheless.

What do I like about it? Here are the top three things...

Deer in Richmond Park
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