Once again we headed back to Streatham Common Train Station to pick up where we left off. Here is what stage 5 had in store for us…
The start of Part 5 of The Capital Ring is a little vague, it’s a residential road that T-junctions, Stage 4 ends and 5 begins ‘somewhere along the road’, but we walked alongside the train track and then under it, through Potter’s Lane a tunnel and the first signpost.
Then heading in a zigzag and followed the track some more. 10 minutes into our walk we passed the first real sight of Section 5, the Streatham Pumping Station, one of those Victorian Gothic Architectural creations that house a mass of water pumps and filters, inside what looks like an ornately decorated church, dedicated to praising Engineering.
Much of the beginning of this route, once again follows along roads and avoids any greenery. Following instead along long straight residential streets.
After 15minutes of following one of those roads we did find ourselves in Tooting Bec Common, another of the many common’s of South London and one of three on this route.
Tooting Bec Lido is to the side of the greenery and is the biggest open Lido in Europe apparently, but we didn’t get to see it, instead we headed away from it and into and across the parkland.
We left the Common Ground and after turning back onto a series of left-right-left roads we eventually ended up opposite Du Cane Court, another biggest of South London, the biggest Single Block of Flat in Europe and the location for ITV’s Poirot.
A single bedroom flat in Du Can Court can go for up to £390,000 these days and is well maintained and an imposing sight on Balham High Road, which we crossed and headed to Wandsworth Common, another park and nothing overly interesting in the first section along side the train station. but in the section after Bellevue Road there and some nice ponds where ducks, geese and swans live and breed. Although the water and surrounding banks are a bit muddy as our dog found out – we had a white spaniel to start and black one after Wandsworth Common Ponds!
As we circumvented the park following the green signs we emerged by the County Arms Pub and down past some pretty little workman’s cottages and then you are faced by another piece of Victorian architecture, this one a more Gothic edifice – Wandsworth Prison.
These days its Gothic facade is only the entrance and a little down the way from the route you take, the rest of the prison is just hidden behind a massive new brick wall and the CR passes around on the way to Magdelan Road and once again lives up to its reputation of avoiding any greenery if possible.
Along the road is Wandsworth Cemetery and though it is a rather formal and tidy graveyard it’s still better walking in, through and out of here than staying on the busy road, which the Ring tells you to do. We obviously went for the alternative route. Interesting fact about the cemetery is you can buy 2nd hand plots here, not that you’d want to but should the need arrive!! There are also some seriously blingy graves here, we are talking gold horse heads and sparkly stones, Why?!
Now when you rejoin the main road and get to the bottom at the junction to Garret Lane and the Earlsfield Tube station you are meant to turn right, but guess what, we didn’t! No we turned left and headed for the Alternate Route along The Wandle Trail.
The River Wandle (surely the origin of The Wombles) is London’s Fastest flowing river and a nicer route than the route to see the Mosque. But after only 10mins of following the river we had to turn off and into a rather filthy and depressing Industrial Estate. This was not a pleasant part past cement Factories and giant nameless grey buildings.
Thankfully after an age on a very busy road we turned off and onto the calm Arthur Road filled with Deli’s and Coffee Shops, but more on that next time. Here ended Section 5 of the walk and we jumped on the Tube and headed home!
Well there we go, another section of the Capital Ring and out findings of the walk. Come back next week for a post on something different and come back in 3 weeks for the next section of the Capital Ring Walks.