Key Characteristics

This character reach marks the start of the study area and the gateway to the Royal Botanic Gardens in Kew. It is crossed by two bridges - Kew Bridge (road) and Kew Railway Bridge. Oliver's Island provides a secluded area of natural habitat. On the north bank, the River is bounded by the historic riverside development of Strand-on-the-Green. To the south, is the Kew Public Records Office, and along the River's edge, the fragile fringe of the wooded Kew towpath.

Map of the Area

strand on the green

Key features of Character Reach No.1 may be summarised as follows:

  • Kew Bridge forms a frame to the reach and a focal point in itself;
  • Oliver's Island emphasises the historic rural scale of the reach;
  • Kew Railway Bridge provides a potential opportunity for improved cross-river links;
  • Historic riverside development example at Strand-on-the-Green;
  • Kew Public Records Office is an important opportunity site;
  • The development of Kew Riverside will provide a major new urban quarter and a landscaped area of public open space adjacent to the River and wooded towpath;
  • The fragile edge of the wooded Kew towpath;
  • The visitor gateway to The Royal Botanic Gardens.
  • Access to river transport services at Kew Pier.

Key Issues and Opportunities


  • The responsibility for repairing and replacing flood defences, highlighted by the recent collapse of the river wall.
  • The need to restore and enhance the public realm, using high quality materials, to create a coherent character.
  • The need to conserve and reuse the historic steps, drawdocks, mooring posts, jetties and barge grid.
  • The importance of considering the impact of development away from the river on the A4/M4 corridor and Gunnersbury, which has had a negative impact on the skyline and backdrop to the architectural waterfront.
  • The enhancement of the raised promenade downstream from Kew Bridge and links upstream to Brentford and the Grand Union Canal.
  • The protection and eventual replacement of the riverside willows.
  • The semi-derelict state of the Bull's Head public house and the need to promote its refurbishment.
  • The future of the disused Marine Services fuelling pier and Chiswick Yacht and Boat Club.


  • The encroachment into the river channel by private jetties/ terraces at the rear of the large private gardens along Hartington Road.
  • The maintenance of the sloping River walls.
  • The importance of protecting and providing for the replacement of the large mature trees within private and communal gardens along the riverbank.
  • The sensitive use of signposting aid continuity of the Thames Path where it is forced to detour along Hartington Road.


  • The management of vegetation to reduce the dominance of non-native tree species and increase ecological interest and the need for a management plan.
  • The condition of the blockstone flood defences.
  • Provision for limited public access.
  • Control of Canada geese.


  • The need to clarify responsibilities for the management and maintenance of the riverside to ensure effective and integrated management, including the regular removal of litter and graffiti.
  • The management of riverside vegetation to improve ecological diversity, and reveal and maintain views to the River and Strand-on-the-Green.
  • The conservation and restoration of Kew Railway Bridge, including repainting and the removal of vegetation obscuring the abutments and the possible addition of a pedestrian crossing.
  • The lack of signage between Kew Pier and Kew Green, and the Royal Botanical Gardens and the need to improve the visual quality of this route.
  • The poor quality of the passenger facilities at Kew Pier and the need for a new ticket office with covered seating and waiting areas, cycle stands and disabled parking.
  • The lack of visual and physical connection between Westerley Ware public gardens and the adjacent river.
  • The potential to create a direct link into the Public Records Office from the towpath, and of signposting it as a visitor attraction. The lack of permeability and connections from the towpath into Kew, which could be improved by upgrading the existing path adjacent to the railway line linking to the Mortlake Road.
  • The benefits of the Kew Sewage Works/St James Homes development currently under construction and potential benefits in terms of: new public open space, additional surveillance and a financial contribution to the management of the towpath.
  • The potential impact of proposed development in front of the Public Records Office on the setting of Strand-on-the-Green and its relationship to the River. The outcome of the recent Planning Appeal will be closely monitored.
  • The importance of Occupation Lane and Kew Meadow Path as a 'snail reserve'.

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