Think of ‘the river’ in Twickenham and the Thames probably springs to mind. But of course that’s not the only river in town. The River Crane, from its source near Hayes flows through Twickenham on its way to joining the Thames at Isleworth. At just 8.5 miles long the River Crane is not exactly huge but it does run through a mix of urban and suburban environments – industrial, residential and green space. Twickenham resident Richard Clemence has been photographing the Crane Valley for many years and has created a gallery of over 250 images on his Crane Valley Blog on Flickr. In this guest posting he shares some of his photos of this fascinating but often overlooked part of south west London…

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Crane Valley Blog
(copyright: Richard Clemence)

“I live near Twickenham station and have cycled up and down the Crane Valley for years, many of them on the school run with my daughter. About 10 years ago there was an assault by the then Council administration on the protected status of many areas of open land. This lead to a Public Enquiry, and I submitted photos in an attempt to show the Enquiry the value of the open land for all of us.

Some of the land is now covered in bricks and mortar but large chunks still survive (for the time being) – thanks to the huge efforts of many local inhabitants.

I carried on taking photos and found myself becoming even more interested and protective of the our local ‘patch’. I discovered some pockets along the Crane Valley where I felt I could almost be in the New Forest, or maybe the Bronx, or Siberia.

Crane Valley Blog: Crane Park
(copyright: Richard Clemence)


The local charity, Friends of the River Crane Environment (FORCE), saw some of my photos and I was given a very free commission to portray the Crane Valley ‘warts and all’. Many of the pictures were taken on the school run.

Green issues were and still are, always high on the agenda at my daughter’s old schools – Trafalgar Infant and Trafalgar Junior – and related topics of diet, food miles, exercise and safe routes to school were constantly explored in the classroom, and in PTA and Governors’ meetings.

Crane Valley Blog: Graffiti [copyright: Richard Clemence]
Crane Valley Blog: Graffiti
(copyright: Richard Clemence)

The photos were included in a wider touring exhibition put together by FORCE – this traveled to schools, libraries and Orleans House.

FORCE are passionate about education – and the Trustees and volunteers of FORCE are equally at home liaising with the Council, schools and other environmental groups. They can also be found planting hedges, commissioning sculpture benches, campaigning against pollution, picking up litter, and fishing supermarket trolleys out of the river…

FORCE now have 500 members and rising, and can be found on the link below. You’re really welcome to join us.”

Crane Valley, Kneller Gardens [copyright: Richard Clemence]
Crane Valley, Kneller Gardens
(copyright: Richard Clemence)

A video of graffiti near Feltham.

A Flickr map showing the locations of the photos.

Crane Valley Blog Map
Crane Valley Blog: Map

Richard Clemence is a local Twickenham resident, member of FORCE and a supporter of Trafalgar Infants and Junior Schools. Check the link to his Crane Valley Blog to see more of his photos.

LINKS:
* Richard’s Crane Valley Blog
* FORCE