Castlewood footpath open again

Castlewood footpath looking towards Eltham Common
Castlewood footpath looking towards Eltham Common

The footpath next to the former Cottage Hospital on Shooters Hill has re-opened, nearly two years after it was closed “permanently” by the MoD. Clive Barbour, who has been campaigning for the footpath to be reopened e-mailed:

On 21 September 2013 you kindly posted some pictures and details of my attempts to get the Royal Borough of Greenwich to reopen the footpath between Shooters Hill Road and Academy Place.
Since then I have been emailing the relevant official on a bi-monthly basis.
The official told me in September this year that he would be getting legal advice on my contention that the path should be reopened in the basis that it had been used for 30 years by myself and others.
Although I have yet to hear back from him I am delighted to see that the path has been reopened and cleared of growing vegetation and perhaps more significantly, the two “this is not a right of way” signs that had gone up in Academy Place have been taken down.
I am still pressing the council to have the footpath and the adjoining lane from Academy Place to Bagshot Court adopted under the Highways Act to prevent their future closure.
But the reopening of the footpath means that it is possible to walk again from Shooters Hill to Red Lion Lane via Bagshot Court and Prince Imperial Way as  marked in red below.

Map showing route from Shooters Hill to Red Lion Lane
Route from Shooters Hill to Red Lion Lane

I hope this means the path is now open permanently. It had been open for a while last year, but was then re-closed. I suspect that was because the barriers had been broken down by vandals. The route from Shooters Hill down to the bottom of Red Lion Lane is a pleasant path through open fields, passing by what may have once been a sports field – the 1914 OS map shows a pavilion at the South end of the field. The old map also shows a miniature rifle range and formal rows of trees, both features are still evident though the only reminder of the rifle range is an embankment.

Meanwhile, on the other side of the Hill, the problem of the route of the Green Chain Walk near Woodlands Farm still hasn’t reached a conclusion. While the Woodland Farm Trust, Ramblers and Green Chain officers have all agreed that Woodland’s proposal for re-routing the path to go along the edge of the farm is acceptable, the owners of the land between the farm and the corner of Keats and Dryden Roads are now blocking progress. At the last Woodlands Farm AGM it was mentioned that this route is a permissive path and that the owners Bellway have refused permission for the Green Chain Walk to cross their land. In the meantime the Walk is still diverted along residential roads round to Oxleas Wood.

Update 23rd January 2015. Steve e-mailed to let me know that new signs have been erected on the Castlewood footpath, presumably by the MoD. There’s a picture of one of them below.

One of the new signs on the Castlewood footpath
One of the new signs on the Castlewood footpath

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