Friday, May 25, 2007

Green Chain Walk

Most SE Londoners will have seen the direction signs for the Green Chain walk all over the place, as it is a network of paths stretching from Crystal Palace to Erith. I decided to write about it after reading a comment by 'the Rev' on a previous post...

'......I walked almost 2 miles either way every day to school. Sadly now I’m lucky if I walk half a mile a day…Shame, I LOVE walking…'

Rev it's not too late to get, back into a bit of walking, and there are some fantastic walks, right under our noses. The route I am going to describe is one I have done a couple of times with my Dad (who will be 80 in August) so it's never to late to give it a go. Apologies that the pictures are taken off the internet, but when I did the walk last year I hadn't yet got my digital camera.

The Green Chain refers to a whole chain of land across SE London which was protected from developers by enlightened Victorians, a sort of 19th century Green belt.

Plumstead Common soon after 'The Links' was built. (about 1900)
The walk I did with my Dad is (mostly) circular so you can start at any point, but we began at Plumstead Common 'cos that's where I live. We headed West off towards Charlton crossing the South Circular and going past the Royal Artillery Barracks, though the Royal Artillery are just about to leave Woolwich after 300 years, the barracks are to remain as a military installation.

The Barracks above in 1900 (see how little they have changed except they are in colour these days) will play host to the Olympic shooting events in 2012.

Charlton House
Then on to Charlton Park and a view of Charlton House which this year celebrates it's 400th aniversary. You then cut through a small Park and follow the route through the wild and wonderful Woolwich Common to emerge at the Old Police Station at Shooters Hill.

Woolwich Common
Then into Oxleas Woods, an area of ancient Woodland, only to be surprised by the 17th century folly Severndroog Castle.

Severndroog Castle

Castle Gardens
You go through the Castle's ornamental Gardens to emerge at Oxleas Meadow with some great views South and the opportunity to stop for a well earned cup of Tea.

Oxleas Woods
After diving back into Oxleas Woods you cross Shooters Hill and go through some of the Fields belonging to Woodlands Farm. This is a Working Farm, run as a educational trust. They have a Open Day on Sunday 10th June. It's their 10th anniversary and it sounds like a really good day out with arts and crafts, sheep dog displays, home grown produce, meet the animals and a whole lot more.

Woodlands Farm

East Wickham Open Space
Next stop is the deserted, but lovely East Wickham Open Space, then on to the wonderful Bostall Woods and Heath. At this point I would recommend a diversion from the circular route and take the walk down through Abbey Wood to emerge at the ruins of Lesnes Abbey.

Lesnes Abbey
It is amazing how many people, even locals don't realise that Abbey Wood actually has it's own Abbey, The area is beautifully maintained by Bexley Council and it is a good spot for a Picnic.

Winns Common
You need to then retrace your steps back through the Wood to Bostall Woods, but this time you take the path through the beautiful Beech Woods towards Plumstead. You cross Wickham Lane and climb Bleak Hill to emerge at Winns Common, with it's spectacular views across East London and beyond, while we all look down on East London, not everyone gets the chance to do so literally.

Slade Ponds

Alfie on the Slade steps (he didn't do the whole walk 'cos he only has short legs)
You then have to go all the way down the Slade steps passing the Slade Ponds on your left, taking the time to marvel at all the good work PCEG do!

The Slade
Then it's back to Plumstead Common, and you are home for tea.

Plumstead Common
There is a guide book available to the whole of the Green Chain, and there is also a lot of information at the Green Chain Website, including guides to the different sections that you can download.

Next time we plan to do the sections round Eltham and New Eltham, and this time I will take my camera, would have liked to do it over this Bank Holiday, but couldn't find my flippers, so will wait for the weather to improve.

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At 10:12 am, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Absolutely fab Si!
We are SO doing this walk... bringing Alfie with us!
Dr. P

At 3:31 pm, Blogger Hugh said...

Crikey - that sounds like a long but interesting walk. Ian (The Rev) would have his work cut out pushing a buggy with his two little girls in it.

Here in Erith, Ian and I have Franks' Park - an area of open woodland that seems hardly used these days; I cannot remember the last time I actually went for a walk in there. To be honest, without a dog to walk, you might well be thought of as someone suspicious. A shame. Oh, and from memory the dog turds are like hidden squelchy land mines!

I have taken the liberty of linking to your Blog again - and expanded on our discussion of the Porsche Cayenne.

At 11:25 am, Blogger sibonetic said...

Perhaps Ian could get a remote controlled 4x4 buggy for the girls, then he could do the walk.

Know what you mean about going round parks and looking suspicious. A while ago I did a little bit about the Glyndon Estate, I got some really good pics of the place, to show it in a good light, but wanted to have some showing what it was like when I walk home from work with lots of kids playing, having a good time and all getting on. Didn't dare though because if you are a bloke on your own taking pics of kids, people would have you down as a sick peodo. It is a real shame that people always seem to come up with the worst interpretation of something totally innocent.

Watched Dog Borstal update (or what ever it's called) on BBC3 yesterday, it was filmed on Winns Common, and the guy on there made a very similar comment about the proliferation of Dog Turds, about to ambush the unwary,

take care, hope the spawn of the devil silver Micra is behaving itself,

At 9:35 am, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I followed your link from Plumsteadshire and wondered if you knew any more about the Rose and Crown pub on the high street and its proposal for spanking new flats?
Also reading a link below about food I can also recommedn La Bella Rosa the Italian on Eltham High Street, reasonably priced, great owners, and the food is marvellous.

At 11:47 am, Blogger sibonetic said...

Don't know any more about Rose and Crown, apart from the planning application, which was on Greenwich councils website.

Thanks for the tip about La Bella Rosa, will definitely check it out, last time I tried to get a decent italian meal, in Blackheath it was over priced crap.

The best Italin Restaurant I know of is over in Gypsy Hill (near Crystal Palace), it's called Luigi's and is superb, but a bit far to go, so Eltham sounds good to me.


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