Shakespeare's Way - A 146 mile journey of imagination - Day 8
Day 8. Iver to Kew Bridge along the Grand Union Canal (14 miles / 22.5 km)
Soon after leaving Iver we cross the M25 to walk along the Slough arm of the Grand Union Canal. This was the latest section to be built and links the brickfields east of Slough to central London.
Houseboats on the Grand Union Canal
We then take the towpath along the Grand Union Canal proper as far a Brentford where it meets the River Thames. The Grand Union was built in the late 18th century and was the main route for goods into the capital city, linking up with canals from other parts of central England. ‘Though not built until 200 years after Shakespeare’s death, it is for walkers a green corridor through northern suburbs into London!
The flight of locks at Hanwell
Once an extremely busy commercial highway it’s now used by house boats and leisure boats, and is the home to flocks of water birds, mute swan, mallard, coot... We walk down the Hanwell flight of locks and past the few remaining docks where industrial goods were loaded and unloaded.
Dry dock for river boats on the River Thames at Brentford
On reaching Brentford, the landscape changes, the narrow canal carrying long, low barges is replaced by the wide and tidal River Thames with larger river boats and working boatyards with dry docks. The last mile along the Thames to Kew Bridge is a taster of the last leg of the journey to the Globe Theatre.
Why not join us on a guided walk along Shakespeare's Way from 22nd April to 1st May, in the springtime when the beech woods are at their most beautiful; the majestic trees will be unfurling their fresh yellow-green leaves and the ground will be covered with a deep blue carpet of bluebells and other spring flowers.