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Geography – builders in Richmond
Richmond sits technically on the south side of the River Thames opposite East Twickenham, but owing to the way this stretch of the river’s meanders, the town is immediately north and north-east of its nearest stretch of river. The Thames curves around the town, and then Kew, in its course; starting from Petersham it reverts to a more definitively west-east axis. The river is still tidal at Richmond, so to allow major passenger and goods traffic to continue to operate during low tide, a half-tide lock was opened in 1894 and is used when the adjacent weir is in position. This weir ensures that there is always a minimum depth of water of 5 ft. 8in. (1.72 m) toward the middle of the river between Richmond and Teddington whatever the state of the tide. Above the lock and weir there is a small footbridge.
Richmond (builders in Richmond) is well endowed with green and open spaces accessible to the public. At the heart of the town sits Richmond Green, which is roughly square in shape and together with the Little Green, a small supplementary green stretching from its southeast corner, is 12 acres (0.05 km²) in size. The Green is surrounded by well-used metalled roads that provide for a fair amount of vehicle parking for both residents and visitors. The south corner leads into the main shopping area of the town; at the west corner is the old gate house which leads through to other remaining buildings of the palace; at the north corner is pedestrian access to Old Deer Park (plus vehicle access for municipal use). The park is a 360-acre (1.5 km2) Crown Estate landscape extending from the town along the riverside as far as the boundary with the Royal Botanic Gardens at Kew, a UNESCO World Heritage Site. This contains wide green lawns and sports facilities, and the Grade I listed former.
The town centre lies just below 33 ft (10m) above sea level. South of the town centre, rising from Richmond Bridge to an elevation of 165 ft (50m), is Richmond Hill. To its south rises Richmond Park, an area of 2,360 acres (9.55 km2; 3.7 sq mi) of wild heath and woodland originally enclosed for hunting, and now forming London’s largest royal park. It is about three times the size of Central Park in New York. The park is a national nature reserve, a Site of Special Scientific Interest and a Special Area of Conservation and is included, at Grade I, on Historic England’s Register of Historic Parks and Gardens of special historic interest in England. It was created by Charles I in 1634 as a deer park and now has 630 red and fallow deer. The park has a number of traffic and pedestrian gates leading to the surrounding areas of Sheen, Roehampton, Putney, Kingston and Ham.
Richmond’s main arterial road, the A316, running between Chiswick and the M3 motorway, bisects Old Deer Park and the town to its north. The town’s only dual carriageway, it was built in the 1930s, cutting off Richmond from Kew and entailing the construction of Twickenham Bridge. This road expands into three lanes and motorway status three and five miles west respectively.
The town centre is on the A307, which used to be the main link between London and northwest Surrey, and was previously one of the main routes of the Portsmouth Road before it was diverted.
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