Inevitably our planned series of Summer Season Heritage Walks, our forty-first series, scheduled for alternate Wednesday evenings through May, June and July had to be postponed due to Government restrictions on public gatherings from March onwards.
However, with a sense of optimism and mindful of the need to implement necessary social distancing and other measures, we planned a series of three walks on alternate Wednesday evenings through September under the titles ‘Celebrating Richmond Bridge and Riverside’, ‘Celebrating The Terrace Gardens and The Hill’ and ‘Celebrating The Green and Richmond Palace’ – each limited to twenty, pre-booked places.
Much to our surprise and delight, the three, planned walks were vastly oversubscribed, and led to our doubling each of the walks, planning a series of six walks between 2nd September and 7th October. Our walks along the riverside between Old Palace Lane and Petersham Meadows on the evenings of the 2nd and 9th September were most successful, saving for the now inevitable conflicts with the ever increasing number of cyclists using the towing path between Water Lane and the Meadows, even in the early evenings. In accordance with long-established custom, each walk finished with an adjournment to the spacious Rose of York on the Petersham Road and lively conversation until closing time.
Very sadly however, the coming into effect of the Government’s more restrictive Regulations on Monday 14th September, two days before our third scheduled walk; their lack of clarity and lack of consistency with the official Guidance only published the previous Friday; and the Committee’s concern not to place members at undue risk, led to our having to disappoint the eighty or more members who had booked for the last four walks in the series by bringing the series to a premature end.
We very much hope that by next summer we will be able to reinstate the summer series of walks free of the increasingly complex and ambiguous restrictions under which we presently live.
Paul Velluet and Adam Harrison