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A Green Autumn walk along London’s Capital Ring – Saturday 5 October

Robin Reed, our walk leader, and I arrived early at Woolwich Arsenal station where we had time to order a coffee. Several other GOC London members then arrived and we had time for a time-honoured chinwag. Eventually 12 London Group members assembled - it was good to see 3 new members among them.

We set off shortly after 10.30, crossing into the new Woolwich Arsenal development which has made good use of its historic military buildings. We arrived at the River Thames, close to the formal start of the Capital Ring, and followed the river west towards Central London. The Thames has been opened up over several decades with new and improved paths linked to form an almost continuous pedestrian route with few inland detours. We crossed one of the new links, an interesting new bridge which enables walkers to cross a high wall separating two riverside esplanades.

Soon afterwards we left the river Thames and started to gradually climb towards the south, and entered the twin Maryon and Maryon Wilson Parks. These contain a number of former sandpits creating an interesting hilly topography. Maryon Wilson Park also has a small zoo. We  paused for refreshments in the grounds of Charlton House before continuing south and east into the wide open space of Woolwich Common. There was a landscape contrats as we entered the luxuriantly wooded Shooters Hill Woods. We passed the interesting folly of Severndroog Castle which you can climb, but unfortunately not on the day we were walking. We stopped for lunch in Oxleas Meadows which is a wide open space in the woodland. It has a cafe and extensive views south towards the North Downs.

The final stretch of our walk took us through Eltham Park, acros the busy A2, and along pleasant tree-lined suburban roads. All too soon we reached Eltham Palace at the end of our walk. (Because of rail engineering works, we had decided not to continue to Mottingham station, because there was only an infrequent replacement bus service). Most of the group went to catch trains from nearby Eltham station, while a few of us repaired to the Eltham GPO, a pleasant pub festooned with flowers, which as it name implies is housed in a former post office.

Many thanks to Robin for leading the walk and to my fellow walkers for another good day out.

Andy Fisher

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