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  • hilly 5:08 pm on October 15, 2015
    Tags: , green chain,   

    Green Chain Mega-amble again this weekend 

    Green Chain Mega-walkers gather at Crystal Palace Station

    Green Chain Mega-walkers gather at Crystal Palace Station

    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:

    Walk Description:
    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. ianbull@btinternet.com

    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.

    View from Cox's Mount, Maryon Park

    View from Cox’s Mount, Maryon Park

     

     
  • hilly 4:36 pm on January 23, 2015
    Tags: , green chain, ,   

    Winter Wander with a bonus 

    View from Cox's Mount, Maryon Park

    View from Cox’s Mount, Maryon Park

    There are some very interesting sounding walks in Walk London’s Winter Wanders this weekend – “Secret Diaries and Public Spaces – The Legacy of Pepys and Wren and Hidden Alleyways” and “Courtyards; Printing, Priories and Prisons – St Pauls to Chancery Lane” both sound fascinating. But the one that really caught my eye was the walk led by our old friend Ian Bull: “The best landscape and views in London – Charlton to Plumstead via Shooters Hill“. This is a great walk with an added bonus: an opportunity for an exclusive guided tour of Severndroog Castle (costing  a very reasonable £2.50) and a chance to see the amazing views from the top.

    The Walk London web site describes the walk:

    This special walk, historically Walk London’s most popular, was first devised to demonstrate that you can walk through London without realising that you are in a city. It still does, but this time there’s a bonus that turns an excellent walk into an unforgettable experience that you’ll want to return to.
    The walk takes us through wonderful parkland, heathland, and dense woodland to a very special place that offers stupendous views rivalled only by the Shard. Yes, after years of tireless fund-raising and painstaking restoration Severndroog Castle can at last accept visitors. The walk will feature an exclusive guided tour of this perfectly formed historic building which has an important and intriguing past. The building also has views over London ‘to die for’ and some visitors really do gasp at their first sight of the breathtaking vista. The ‘Castle’ is usually closed at this time of year and is being opened specially for Walk London.
    We start by traversing a most pleasant complex of parks which include a principle location from the cult 1960s film ‘Blow up’. Shortly afterwards we’ll pass some comfortably large animal enclosures, one housing a small Deer Herd which has been present for over a Century. Gentle climbing via Charlton Common takes us up onto the openness of Woolwich Common with distant views of Essex farmland, it’s wildness then giving way to the dense woodland of the flanks of Shooters Hill. We climb a little more steeply now for Shooters Hill is very nearly as high as the highest part of Hampstead Heath. Suddenly, in Castle Wood, the trees part and before us is the well proportioned tower of Severndroog Castle and our private visit.
    After visiting Severndroog Castle those who have done enough in their day, just over 4 miles, may wish to retire to the nearby bus stops. Those wishing for more wonderfully dense woodland and wide vistas are welcome to continue around Shooters Hill for views over huge swathes of Kent, Surrey, Essex and the Thames Estuary. We’ll then drop down steeply to Plumstead Common for buses into central London and finish at Plumstead railway station for trains.
    PLEASE NOTE. Severndroog Castle has been saved by a small charity with limited resources and they cannot be expected to open and guide us around the building without some recompense. The usual admittance charge of £2.50 will have to apply. If ever there was a bargain this is it, for you can see seven Counties at a tenth of the price of a visit to the Shard.
    The route is steep in parts, contains many steps, and depending on weather conditions it may be muddy. We will be very high up by London standards and warm, windproof, clothing and gloves are most strongly recommended. A packed lunch is essential and, if you have them, binoculars are a must.
    There’s no need to book but feel free to ask the Walk Leader, Ian Bull, for more details. Email, ianbull@btinternet.com  Phone, 020 7223 3572.

    The weather forecast for Sunday looks good for walking and viewing, so it should be a great experience. And if it’s done by 2.00pm there’s a members’ meeting down the hill at Woodlands Farm to go to.

     

    The restored Severndroog Castle

    The restored Severndroog Castle

     
  • hilly 5:44 pm on January 1, 2015
    Tags: , green chain, ,   

    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

     
    • steve wilson 10:55 am on January 4, 2015

      Well done everyone and Clive Barbour who didn’t give up on this and challenged the arrogance of the MOD

  • hilly 9:49 pm on September 24, 2014
    Tags: , green chain,   

    Green Chain Mega-amble this weekend 

    Green Chain Megawalkers gather at Crystal Palace Station

    Green Chain Megawalkers gather at Crystal Palace Station

    Walk London‘s series of free guided walks this weekend – their Autumn Ambles – includes one of the longest but most rewarding “ambles” in London: the Green Chain Megawalk. The 22 mile amble actually moves along at a steady average walking speed, and will be led once again by Ian Bull, our favourite leader of walks in South-East London and a bit of an expert on the Green Chain, not to mention a part-time restorer of steam locomotives. The walk starts at Crystal Palace railway station at 9.15am on Saturday, 27th September and finishes more than 9 hours later down at the Thames near Erith railway station. The Walk London web site has the details:

    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!
    We’ll gently climb to some of the highest points in the city, suburbia giving way to outstanding views and miles of London’s best 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. Despite travelling around an entire quartile of London we’ll cross just 40 surfaced thoroughfares.
    The route is steep in its latter parts, 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.

    One of the good things about the walk is that if 22 miles proves too much then it is possible to drop out along the way and get a bus or train home, and for those living in Shooters Hill the late lunchtime stop at the Oxleas Café can be an early finishing point if the legs are ready to give up after 16 miles.

    There’s an interactive map of the route of the Green Chain Walk on the Green Chain web site here. For further information about the walk contact Ian by phone,  020 7223 3572 or  email – ianbull at btinternet dot com.

    The Green Chain Megawalk is by far the longest of the Autumn Ambles; most of them are just a couple of miles, and there are walks taking in Soho, St. Paul’s and the City of London. Looks like a good weekend for a walk.

    Ian Bull leads Green Chain walkers cross Eaglesfield Park

    Ian Bull leads Green Chain walkers cross Eaglesfield Park

     

     
  • hilly 10:25 am on September 4, 2014
    Tags: , green chain,   

    Midnight Megawalk on Friday 

    Ian Bull's photograph of sunrise on the Green Chain Midnight Megawalk

    Ian Bull’s photograph of sunrise on the Green Chain Midnight Megawalk

    There’s another opportunity for an overnight ramble along the 22 miles of the Green Chain Walk from Crystal Palace to Erith on Friday, 5th September. As before the walk will be led by Ian Bull, who regularly leads walks near Shooters Hill, such as the Best Landscape and Views in London,  the Thames Path Super Walk and London’s best woodland and views – without doubt. He e-mailed to say:

    MIDNIGHT MEGAWALK – FRIDAY 5TH SEPTEMBER 2014.
    CRYSTAL PALACE RAILWAY STATION at 23.30.

    At last… There’s finally a strong chance of clear skies on Friday/Saturday 5th/6th September. No rain is forecast and it’s going to be nice and warm as well. There hasn’t been a clear Friday/Saturday  since late May – not one!
    This is your chance to experience a very pleasant walk in remarkable  conditions. There are miles of dense woodland on our route and in them it will be jet-black. Barely a photon will disturb us when we stand still for a moment and listen to the nocturnal wildlife quietly scurrying through the undergrowth. As first light begins to show at  about 04.00 the sky will gently become turquoise from the North  leaving black to the South and from our best vantage points, London’s  streetlights gleaming gold beneath us. The views are glorious, the darkness delicious, and the landscape is London’s best.

    There’s no need to book and no charge, just turn up, but feel very  free to ask me in advance for further information.

    What we’re going to do…
    * We meet outside Crystal Palace railway station at 23.30 on Friday 5th September.
    * The pace will be leisurely, we don’t even have to make average  walking speed.
    * The aim is to see the Sun rising over East Anglia and the Lower Thames from Shooters Hill, very nearly London’s highest point, at 06.21 and we will achieve this.
    * The overall distance is 21.5 miles but a 1.5 mile diversion through excellent woodland will be offered to see the Gothicky (spooky?) Severndroog Castle. There are benches for a nap for those who don’t want to do this.
    * After sunrise we’ll traverse Bostall Woods and Lesnes Abbey Woods.  About four miles of these, and the latter has been there for 8,000  years, London’s finest ancient woodland.
    * Finish at Erith about 08.30 for a train home. No engineering works – 33 minutes to London Bridge.
    * Some participants traditionally have a breakfast together in a Café near London Bridge after the event.

    Ian can be contacted by e-mail on  ianbull at btinternet dot com

    If you prefer to walk the Green Chain in the light of day Ian is also planning to hold a day-time megawalk on Saturday 27th September.

    Ian Bull and day-time Green Chain walkers admire the view in Shrewsbury Park

    Ian Bull and day-time Green Chain walkers admire the view in Shrewsbury Park

     
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