If you fancy a 16.5 mile, 8 hour walk through some of south-east London’s greenest scenery then this Saturday provides an opportunity. Once again Ian Bull is leading the Green Chain Megawalk as part of Walk London’s Autumn Ambles weekend. It’s a slightly different route than last time, taking in Charlton’s parks and ending at the Thames Barrier rather than Bostall Woods and the Thames at Erith, which cuts some five miles off the distance. Walkers will meet at 9.15am outside Crystal Palace station, and the walk finishes at Charlton Station. The Walk London website has more details:
A packed lunch is essential as is water to drink along the way. There is a small supermarket at the beginning but opportunities to re-stock along the way are very limited.
No other London walk offers such a pleasant challenge.
The Green Chain Megawalk is by a considerable margin the longest established long-distance guided walk in London and many hundreds have participated. Some thought they wouldn’t complete such a distance, yet the camaraderie and expert guidance have seen all but a handful achieve an on-time finish. Every one of the participants has taken wonderful memories from the day. Here’s your chance to join the institution!
South East London possesses London’s finest landscape but in places the remarkably bucolic components of that landscape are not quite contiguous. The ‘Green Chain Walk’ was laid-out in 1977 to link those Pearls together becoming the Capital’s first long distance footpath in the process. Today the Green Chain network is over 50 miles long and the many thousands of acres of open space and woodland it joins are deservedly to be considered for Regional Park status. The Megawalk carefully balances distance, gradient, landscape, and views to bring a true taste of this exceptional system into one day.
We’ll gently climb to some of the highest points in the city, suburbia giving way to outstanding views and much woodland, some established for 8,000 years. For lengthy sections you won’t know you are in a town, let alone the Metropolis, as well over half the route is off-road. After lunch we descend through woodland and across heaths to a splendid complex of parks in Charlton that were a principle location in the 1960s cult film ‘Blow Up’. From there it’s a short distance to our destination at the remarkable Thames Barrier, hopefully glinting in the setting sun. Excellent transport into central London is close-by.
The route is steep in places, a packed lunch is essential, and of course you must be reasonably fit. You must also be able to sustain three miles per hour for most of a day and if you think you can, this particularly friendly event is the one Walk London walk that you should do. There is no need to book, just turn up and go, a remarkable day awaits you.
The Megawalk is never, ever, allowed to finish late. Should the necessary pace prove wearisome there’s plentiful public transport throughout for a comfortable return home. You are also most welcome to join the walk at any point.
The walk leader is the Green Chain Walk’s surveying contractor and will be delighted to share his extensive knowledge both along the way and in advance. Feel very free to contact him, Ian Bull, for further information. T. 020 7223 3572, E. firstname.lastname@example.org
The Autumn Ambles programme includes lots of other great walks, though Ian’s walk on Sunday which takes in Severndroog Castle is unfortunately already fully booked. However Seafaring London – Tower Bridge to Greenwich sounds interesting, as do some of the shorter walks in central London such as The Real West End – Soho, Chinatown and Covent Garden which is just 1.5miles, the same distance as Secret Diaries and Public Spaces – The Legacy of Pepys and Wren.
Time to brush off those walking boots.