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This is an archive of walks done by the Saturday Walker's Club. You should only need to use this page if the SWC website is down.

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Monday, 22 April 2019

Easter Monday - Join the Caravan...Three Start Points: Rivers and Parks of South East London - The Waterlink Way [Short Walk] [Walk Check]

Waterlink Way (Lower Sydenham to Greenwich) – Longer walks start from Ravensbourne (Rail) or Arena (Tram)

Length: 9.7 km (6.0 mi) [longer walks possible, see below; several dropout points en route]
Ascent/Descent:  negligible
Net Walking Time: ca. 2 ¼ hours
Toughness:  1 out of 10 

Three different start points: the Arena route ends at Lower Sydenham rail, the start of the main walk; the Ravensbourne route ends 5 mins into the main route at the first linear park. With some luck all groups get to that park at the same time…
·        Lower Sydenham start: take the 12.37 Hayes (Kent) train from Charing X (12.40 W’loo East, 12.46 LBG), arriving Lower Sydenham at 13.01.
·        Arena Tram start (one stop from Elmers End Rail): start at 11.45, for that the 11.07 Hayes (Kent) train from Charing X should suffice, it arrives Elmers End 11.38, the tram leaves 11.41.
·        Ravensbourne start: take the 11.16  Sevenoaks train from Blackfriars (calls Elephant & Castle, Denmark Hill, Peckham Rye, Nunhead etc.), arrives Ravensbourne at 11.47.
Finish is at Cutty Sark DLR or Greenwich Rail (trains via LBG to Cannon Street or Blackfriars).

The route connects a number of attractive parks and green spaces in South East London, while following the Pool and Ravensbourne Rivers. It follows parts of the well-waymarked Waterlink Way, the London-part of the National Cycle Network Route connecting Eastbourne to the Thames. Large stretches of those rivers have in recent years been re-naturalised or at least sympathetically embedded in landscaped linear parks such as Ladywell Fields and Brookmill Park, and as such the route makes for a pleasant outing in a densely populated part of London, even though some formerly highly industrialised areas such as Deptford as well as some densely built-up areas such as Catford  and Lewisham are passed through.
The Waterlink Way is a shared cycle-/footpath all the way through and as such avoids public footpaths. The route described diverts from the waymarked route where a better alternative for walkers exists.

Walk Options:
Shorter: The walk route runs past a few railway and DLR stations (Catford/Catford Bridge, Ladywell, Lewisham, Elverson Road and Deptford Bridge), enabling an earlier finish or later start.
Longer: The Waterlink Way goes through some attractive walking terrain further south than Lower Sydenham:
·        South Norwood Country Park, where it follows one of the Pool River’s tributaries, and Cator Park in New Beckenham (for that option join the Arena start, this adds 5.1 km);
·        and it also has a spur from further up the Ravensbourne in pretty Beckenham Place Park (for that option join the Ravensbourne start, this adds 4.3 km and 60m ascent).

Lunch: 1 pub, 1 pizzeria, 3 cafés/cakeries and a deli in Ladywell (4.5 km from the start), recommended are The Ladywell Tavern and Le Delice  boulangerie, patisserie and café.
Tea:  several options en route and plenty options in Greenwich, check the pdf.

For summary, walk directions, map, height profile, photos and gpx/kml files click here. T=short.36


Thomas G said...

Will start from Ravensbourne Station. In-form Bluebells highly likely in Beckenham Place Park.

DAC said...

Intend going.

Sarah H said...

I'm starting from Arena, Sarah H

David said...

If you're feeling hot and bothered after lunch in Ladywell, the Glass Mill Leisure Centre (the big building with the multi-coloured glass panels across the road from Lewisham DLR station) has a rather nice swimming pool and excellent showers. You'll be walking past there anyway, so you have a chance to admire the area, which used to be quite run-down up to about fifteen years ago, but has now changed out of all recognition.

Thomas G said...

15 started out from Ravensbourne (one of those off an earlier train), most of whom had never set foot in this part of town. We then bumped into 1 other in Beckenham Place Park. All, I think, were pleasantly surprised by the park, whose ancient woodlands didn't disappoint: they had sumptious displays of bluebells. The manor house had a market going which caused several people to get 'lost' temporarily in the throng between the stalls, but eventually we all came out the other end and continued across the mighty watershed to the Pool River. I absconded from the group as we passed near Lower Sydenham station to pick up anyone that might have started from the other two start points, and indeed: 4 were waiting for the train from Central London, having started at Arena Tram or Kent House station. 4 more got off the train, and we all met the Ravensbourne group in the first linear park, where they had waited. So 24 strolled on north. Then 1 guy joined having started at Sydenham station and walked across, 2 others were met at Ladywell station, having walked in from their home in Sydenham, but then retraced their steps immediately having seen us (I hope it wasn't because of us). So, 27 by now, we spread out to the cafe and the pub in Ladywell, and then another walker turned up over from Nunhead, having been prevented to join us earlier by urgent personal affairs.
The cafe mob picked up the pub people, or so I thought, but before time everyone had sat down in the pub and the feeling was, if nobody took charge to move the crowd on, they would have happily stayed there for the rest of the day (both cafe and pub are excellent, really).
So after a while the 'leader' called time, a couple of people bailed out to catch a train or explore Ladywell, but 23 of the total walked on (I think). En route we saw an egret and a heron (both in Lewisham). In Greenwich, some went to the Gipsy Moth, others to the cafe in the Painted Hall, others again to one or other of the riverside pubs, and 3 walked on to North Greenwich tube after their pub visit. n=28