21st May 2015: The Capital Ring from Ravensbourne to Crystal Palace

Steve Butters has been leading a group of “Thursday Walkers” around the Capital Ring, a circuit eight or ten miles out from the middle of London.

We postponed our 14 May excursion by a week and sunny weather warranted our decision. Setting off from little-known Ravensbourne Station, we walked one mile N through woods and broad fields of Beckenham Place Park. Much of the park is occupied by Beckenham Golf Club, with its mansion clubhouse. I have mixed feelings about golf (“good walk spoiled”) but the club manages its course well. Arriving at Beckenham Hill, we threaded our way through a series of Victorian avenues and small local parks with fine trees, games pitches and children’s amenities. One of these, Cator Park, used to be the private pleasure grounds attached to Kent House, so named as it was the first house in Kent. The historic county seems to have encroached further as we passed Kent CC’s reserve ground half a mile earlier.

After crossing two more secluded recreation grounds we reached the prim villages of Penge East and Penge West; we found their commercial streets quite shabby. From Penge West Station it proved just a 100 yard dash to the southern entrance to Crystal Palace Park, where we had our picnic lunch.

Steve, Pam, Veronica, Kathie and some incoming members of the cabinet

Steve, Pam, Veronica, Kathie and some incoming members of the cabinet

After lunch it was time to explore south London’s Jurassic (and Triassic etc) Park with its charming concrete dinosaurs. These creatures were made to measure against bones in the natural history museum, around the same time as Charles Darwin’s Origins of Species was published …. Most of the group finished at the station; I walked on to Streatham by way of Upper Norwood and Norwood Grove Park; Don, being very independent, took an entirely different route through and beyond Crystal Palace. On Thursday 11 June, we will walk from Streatham Common Stn to Wimbledon Park Stn via Tooting Bec and Wandsworth Commons.



About Humphrey Southall

Director, Great Britain Historical GIS; Reader in Geography, University of Portsmouth
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