18th March 2018: East Dagenham’s country parks

A cheerful small group turned out to walk across two linked country parks along the eastern fringe of Dagenham. Just two miles north of the historic Ford Motor Works on the Thames, these fields offer long vistas (when looking in the right direction) recalling the old, unkempt Essex marshes. After visiting the parish church we entered the Beam country park and followed the River Beam northwards passing lakes and a rather spooky new housing complex, then the site of an old fever hospital, now a tree-bordered rise. We next crossed the rail line to reach the separate Eastbrook End country park, with more lakes and a variety of bird life. In exposed fields the breezes were biting, so our exploration of this interesting lakes-and-heaths land was ended with a return over the rail footbridge and back to East Dagenham. There we found a classic cafe serving All Day Breakfasts. This was (I believe) our only Sunday walk this year among snow covered fields. It had its own considerable charm. Thank you Nicola for choosing and leading ….

Steve Butters

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11th March 2018: Along the Green Chain from New Eltham to Abbey Wood

Thirteen people came on this walk, on what felt like the first proper spring Sunday. Unlike the Capital Ring or the London Loop, the Green Chain is not a single route but a network running through several south east London boroughs, linking parks, commons and woods. Sunday’s route partly used paths that are part of the Capital Ring, but the second half was quite new for most members, and surprising.

We started at New Eltham station and the first part of the day took us over playing fields and parks to reach Oxleas Wood, the focus of a successful campaign to block a planned motorway, and an early lunch at the cafe on Oxleas Meadow.

Crossing Plumstead Common, and the “Links” Co-op

We then ascended to the summit of Shooters Hill, crowned by a water tower which is a landmark for all of east London, then down through Shrewsbury Park and some suburban streets to reach Plumstead Common, preserved for the public following the Plumstead Common Riots of 1876. Damien told us about the fascinating history of the “Links” Co-op building, which I can’t now remember.

The sign dividing Bostall Woods into 19 zones

So far we had been walking mainly north, but we now turned east to walk the full length of the common. That eventually led us into Bostall Woods, at whose entrance was a sign telling us not about the woods’ history or ecology, but about how to tell the police which “zone” we were in if we had to phone for help using our mobiles. The woods themselves were quite beautiful.

Our final bit of greenery was Lesnes Abbey Woods. Some of the party visited the ruins of Lesnes Abbey, but my group went straight to Abbey Wood station, recently rebuilt for Crossrail — and actually saw a Crossrail train, although the line does not open until December.



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25th February 2018: Thames Path, Barnes to Richmond

On a very cold but beautifully sunny day, starting from Barnes Station we crossed over Barnes Common to Barnes village pond then down to the river lined by Georgian and Regency houses . Then along the river to lunch in the sun at Kew Green, before continuing past Kew Gardens, Syon Park , Old Isleworth , Deer Park and Richmond Locks. The walk was new to most of us 5 and warm if in the sun. Miriam

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7th January 2018: Regent’s Park and Primrose Hill

Regent's ParkA short sharp shock to begin the New Year. Twelve of us faced the cold sun plus wind chill for a brisk walk through Regents Park and Primrose Hill. Geese, moorhens, seagulls and snooty herons plus a couple of moth eaten dromedaries in the Regents Park Zoo and beautiful formal gardens.

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31st December 2017: Crystal Palace to Streatham Common


On New Year’s Eve Veronica led 10 of us on a short stretch of the Capital Ring. First we made a short diversion into Crystal Palace Park to view the dinosaur sculptures. They date from 1854 and look splendid after recent refurbishment. From here we followed the Capital Ring through parks and streets to Streatham Common where the cafe was open for tea. The rain, which had mostly held off, began so the finish of the walk was well timed.


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17th December 2017: Mince Pie walk

The annual mince pie walk was led this year by Helen, and took us from Lewisham station to Beckenham. The route took us over Hilly Fields – unfortunately the weather was misty, obscuring the usually great views from here. Then on to Ladywell Fields for a coffee break, where the weather took a turn for the worse as it began to rain. From here we followed the Waterlink Way alongside the rivers Ravensbourne and Pool to Beckenham Place Park. Still raining, we finished the walk with welcome tea, sausage rolls and mince pies at Helen and Dermot’s house.

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10th December 2017: Blackheath to Isle of Dogs

Who said it doesn’t snow in London any more? Five of us decided to brave the snow on Blackheath and headed down through Greenwich Park. After a coffee stop in the park cafe, the snow having more or less stopped, we continued on to walk through the foot tunnel and emerged on the Isle of Dogs.  Before long however it started to snow again in earnest so we decided to call it a day and abandoned the original plan to walk to St Katherine’s Dock. The bus driver on the last bit of my journey home sang Christmas Carols all the way in a beautiful voice, so it was a suitable end to this Christmassy day!


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