5th August 2018: Swanley, St Paul’s Cray and Petts Wood

Five stalwarts turned out for this London Fringe six mile walk on a blazing day. Network Rail placed a jinx at the start by closing an essential footbridge over the railway by Swanley Station. However, we were saved by Humphrey’s Plan B taking us west along a lane into rolling fields with a distant view of Canary Wharf to the north.

Pauls Cray Hill Country Park

The not-very-scenic Country Park

After more back ways and one mile traverse of a prairie-like country park we reached St Paul’s Cray. Here we picnicked on the village green.

Crossing the Cray

On the bridge over the river Cray

After crossing the Cray river we trudged up a long hill through a council estate, on the summit provided with convenience stores with ice cream. Finally, across more parkland to reach Chiselhurst Common and ancient Petts Wood. Humphrey navigated us through the forest to the safety of the London Loop path, then into Petts Wood suburb. This comprises spacious Tudorbethan semis and a lively cafe-lined high street. Though this model suburb seems sedate, people in the bistros and the Daylight Pub were in high spirits; it was almost France. Despite high temperatures, this proved a worthwhile hike across a little known segment of SE London.

Steve

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About Humphrey Southall

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