Surrey Quays to Greenwich

The next walk will be on Sunday 15 January, meet at Surrey Quays station at 10.30 am. This has become one of my regular winter walks taking in what’s left of the Surrey Docks in their modern reincarnation, a stretch of the Thames Path and an amble through the greener parts of dear old Deptford. Towards the end, we will cross the new swing bridge over Deptford Creek.

Hopefully, we will see cormorants and grebes, some great river views, an ancient black mulberry tree and possibly a few flowers and ferns. We will also touch on some of the rich local history pertaining to the area. The walk is approx 3 miles long on level ground (apart from some stairs) and should take 2.5 hours.

Please note that this walk starts at 10.30 am, not my usual start time of 2 pm.

Autumn Walk Around Ladywell Fields

The next nature walk will be on Sunday 13 November, meet at 2pm outside Ladywell rail station. This will be a walk around Ladywell Fields looking at the autumnal landscape. We will follow the course of the river Ravensbourne which flows through the park and look out for birds, trees, flowers and anything else of natural interest.

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The land that we now call Ladywell Fields is basically a set of flood or water meadows which have existed on the banks of the river for thousands of years.  It gets a mention in the Domesday Book as ‘thirty acres of meadow in the Manor of Lievesham’  and is thus in human terms an ancient landscape. Extra land has been incorporated into the park which now covers 46 acres. Our walk will zigzag across the park from north to south and back again with maybe time for a coffee at the cafe. I’m taking a break in December, so this will be the last walk I lead before Christmas. Hope to see you there.

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Thank you to those who came on the 9 October walk. The weather wasn’t wonderful but didn’t impede the magnificent views from Point Hill. On the way there, we walked through Brookmill park and saw a heron in flight and some of the 200 year old Plane trees.

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Cornmill to Point Hill

The next Lewisham Nature Walk will be on Sunday 9 October, starting at 2pm. This is a 3 mile circular walk starting outside the Glass Mill leisure centre. After a quick look at Cornmill Gardens, we’ll walk through Brookmill Park and up Blackheath Hill to Point Hill with its splendid views of Central London. From there, we’ll cut across the western side of Blackheath past Eliot Pits and return down Granville Park to end up close to our starting point.

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Cornmill Gardens is a small but attractive green space around the banks of the river Ravensbourne. Part of it still has concrete channelling but has been much improved by planting. Fish can often be seen in the water and a large colony of house sparrows live in the dense vegetation. In the other part, the river has been opened up and you can get right down to the water’s edge.

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The Ravensbourne flows through our next destination – Brookmill Park. Once part of the Kent Waterworks, it is now a beautiful green space with two resident herons and a large pond where coots breed. Kingfishers and little egrets can also sometimes be seen here and the riverside is lined with willows.

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We will then walk up Blackheath Hill to Point Hill which is tucked away behind housing.At 130 feet above sea level and facing north, Point Hill gives close, panoramic views of central London. It is also the start of the long ridge which forms the eastern side of the Ravensbourne valley as it rises to Shooter’s Hill, then curves round to Chislehurst.

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Finally, we will cross Blackheath past Eliot Pits, a former gravel pit left to grow wild, and down Granville Park back to the Lewisham stations and bus stops where we’ll also get a brief glimpse of the river Quaggy. This walk involves a gradual climb up to Point Hill, but is otherwise fairly level. It should last about two and a half hours.

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A quick thank you to all those who came along to the River Pool walk on 11th September. It was a fine sunny afternoon and with the help of my secateurs and some boot pressure, we were able to get through the prickly vegetation and walk alongside the river for part of the way. As a reward, we had three separate sightings of a Kingfisher. I hope to see some of you again on 9th October.

 

Following the Pool

The next Lewisham Nature Walk is on Sunday 11 September, meet at 2pm on Adenmore Road immediately outside Catford Bridge station. For most of the route, we will be following the River Pool as far as Cator Park in Bromley. We begin by walking under the South Circular across a small retail park to the River Ravensbourne and after following that for a few hundred yards, we reach the Pool. See the map below for this stage.

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The stretch of the Pool as far as the Winsford Road bridge is particularly attractive thanks to some excellent conservation work by Thames 21. We will be able to walk along the earth path next to the river and even step onto pebble banks in the water if conditions are right. At Winsford Road, we continue to follow the Pool through the attractive setting of Riverview Walk to Bell Green, then across Southend Lane to the old Lower Sydenham station allotments which now comprise a small green space with many trees, shrubs and flowers.
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Earth Path by the Pool
Past the station, we walk down Kangley Bridge Road to another very natural looking and attractive stretch of the Pool which runs alongside a sports ground and follow it across Lennard Road into Cator Park where we will see the confluence of the Pool and the River Beck (of Beckenham fame). After that we’ll double back to New Beckenham station where the walk ends. Trains from there run back to Lewisham. Alternatively, the 356 bus – to Sydenham vias the Horniman – can be caught on Kent House Road a few minutes walk away, or a little further in the opposite direction on Southend Lane the 54 bus will take you through Catford to Lewisham High Street and beyond.

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For much of the way, this is one of the best walking routes in Lewisham. It’s on level ground, approximately 3 miles in length and should take about 2.5 hours. I look forward to seeing you there.

 

 

 

 

Greenwich to Canary Wharf

We’ll be walking under the Thames on our next walk on Sunday 14 August, leaving Lewisham behind for the Isle of Dogs. Meet outside Cutty Sark DLR (not the ship) at 2.00 pm for a walk through the Greenwich foot tunnel to the ‘other side’, ie. Island Gardens, Millwall Park and Mudchute Farm.

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At Mudchute, we’ll stop for half an hour to look around the farm and have tea or coffee. After that.we’ll leave the greenery behind and walk around the huge watery expanses of  Millwall Outer and Inner Docks on our way to the steel and glass towers of Canary Wharf. A walk of contrasts then as Mudchute Park is quite wild in parts.

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The high road to Mudchute Farm

A view of the familiar sights of Greenwich from a different angle, some local history, various trees, plants and other features of the natural world, a wide range of animals at the farm (see their website here) and hopefully some waterfowl in the docks. The walk is just over 2.5 miles, mostly on level ground (there are lifts into and out of the foot tunnel) and should last about 2.5 hours including the farm stop. Children are welcome and if anyone wants to stay at the farm rather than carry on to Canary Wharf, that’s fine.

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Horses at the farm

I look forward to seeing you there.

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Swans and cygnets at Millwall Docks

Forest Hill To Mayow Park

The second walk this month will be on Sunday 17th July. Meet outside Forest Hill station at 2pm for a walk along the railway path to Albion Millenium Green, then over the railway bridge to Dacres Wood nature reserve and finally to Mayow Park.
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Albion Millenium Green is a former tennis club which, in the thirty years since its closure ‘has evolved into an ecologically interesting mix of woodland and open spaces, thanks largely to nature, but also the work of volunteers…’ We will have a general tour of the site which has many interesting features.
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Dacres Wood woodland
Next stop on the itinerary is Dacres Wood Nature Reserve which is an attractive mix of wetland and woodland habitats situated in what was once part of the old Croydon Canal. We will explore the reserve with a particular focus on the plant life. Since our last visit, a new bridge has been built over the pond which should also be worth seeing.
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We will then walk a little further down Dacres Road and into Mayow Park which was opened in 1877 and named after the owner of the land, Major Mayow Wynell Adams. It has many fine oak trees, some of which were almost certainly field boundary trees. It has a wide range of plants, an orchard and a cafe – which is where the walk will end!
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The walk is just over a mile in length and on level ground apart from the railway bridge. The weather forecast at the moment is good and this should be an enjoyable tour of some of the green spaces of Forest Hill and Sydenham.