This month's walk follows the Capital Ring, an orbital walking route around Inner London. It includes the whole of section 1 and part of section 2. The first section of the CR ends at Falconwood station after 7 miles, but the plan is to extend the walk to 10 miles, passing Eltham Place and finishing at Mottingham station. Although within a densely populated area, this is one of the greenest parts of the Capital Ring.
This walk has great contrasts, going from the formerly industrial banks of the River Thames to parkland and Oxleas Woods, an ancient woodland, which is also one of the highest points in the area. The walk also passes several buildings and locations of historic and industrial interest:
- Near the start of our walk we pass two historic Thames crossings. The Woolwich Foot Tunnel was built in 1912 and goes under the river to North Woolwich, which is the other end of the Capital Ring. The Woolwich Free Ferry, adjacent to the Foot Tunnel entrance, takes vehicles and foot passengers over the Thames and has been operating for over 800 years, now operated with modern ferries.
- The Thames Barrier at Charlton was proposed in the aftermath of a huge storm in 1953 which produced a tidal surge up the river, drowing many and causing great damage. The barrier was completed in 1984.
- Our route crosses the Roman Watling Street which ran between London Canterbury and Dover at Shooters Hill. The name Shooters Hill comes either from either its use for gunnery practice on nearby Woolwich Common or because the road was historically a haunt for highwaymen, and features in Dickens' 'A Tale of Two Cities'.
- Maryon and Maryon Wilson parks were once owned by the Maryon Wilson family of Charlton House. These parks were formed from sandpits. Another nearby sandpit is now the home of nearby Charlton Athletic Football Club!
- Charlton House was built in 1612 and restored in 1878, and is one of the finest examples of Jacobean architecture in London.
- Severndroog Castle is an eccentric triangular building 19 metres high built in 1784. It was built in memory of Commodore Sir William James, who was employed by The East India Company to suppress piracy.
- Eltham Palace includes medieval and Art Deco elements. Originally built in the 14th century, in the 1930s textile magnates the Courtaulds built a new mansion incorporated into the castle remains.
- At the end of the walk there is the opportunity to walk round The Tarn, a beautiful landscaped garden and lake dating back to the 1930s. Please note that dogs are unfortunately not allowed in the Tarn as they disturb the wildlife. The Tarn can easily be avoided by walking directly along Court Road directly to Mottingham station.
Terrain / Difficulty
The route is mainly level but there are some steep slopes and two long flights of steps. There is a mixture of tarmac paths, pavement, rough grassand tracks.