We are back once again on the walk around London and approaching both the end and the section that for us is closest to home. The Castle Climbing Centre to Hackney Wick.
We curtailed the walk a little short last time because the two sections were uneven, this section should only be 3miles and the last section should have ended at the entrance to Abney Park Cemetery making it over 5miles. But we stopped short and are glad we did, but more on that in a bit. But first the starting point.
The Castle Wall opened in the 1990’s and refurbished the old Manor House Reservoir Pumping Station, it used to be a great wall, but over time has became very cliquey, rather expensive and incredibly anal with regard to the instructing, guidelines and other stuff, so we would avoid it at all costs (if we were still climbing). We started here and walked down Green Lanes in glorious sunshine – Remember that, sunshine, not this cold wet, blackened days of November!
We soon got to Clissold Park and this is or was Ash’s home ground as a teenager, most nights were spent in this park, avoiding the park keepers and drinking, hanging around and generally being a teenager with his friends, so this is all very familiar and yet walking through we discovered some new things and remembered more, namely the lakes at the southern end near what were always called the Cowboy & Indian Hills (probably a non PC name now) were in fact named after the two men who championed to have them built Mr’s Beck and Runtz.
The route turns and heads through the park to the house in the centre, (one thing Ash remembers from his youth) this is called ‘The Hoare House’, built for Sir. Jonathon Hoare a Quaker and Anti-Slave campaigner in the 18th Century and the park was developed out of the grounds when he could not keep the house, due to a foreclosure.
We walked on past St. Mary’s Church the large steeple towering over the park and then through the graveyard of St. Mary’s Old Church a much smaller and quainter building dating back to 1450’s. We stopped in the grounds of the new church for coffee and wish we hadn’t, then walked down Church St. This used to be a horrid street, but now it is a middle class haven of artisan coffees and bakers, kids shops selling cashmere coats and even a violin makers, it has certainly changed.
Near the end is Abney Park Cemetery a great place to walk, sit and drink coffee, something we have done many a time, but not this day, because the whole place is closed due to large amounts of Asbestos having been found there. It’s a shame because this cemetery is one of the Magnificent 7 – the gothic graveyards of London and definitely one of the best. It is home to graves of William Booth founder of the Salvation Army and many other founding members too, plus and possibly even more impressive is the grave of a white marble lion, marking the resting place of Frank Bostock the circus owner.
But we had to instead circumvent the park and detour around past the Indian Restaurants and run down pubs to re-join at the grand entrance to Abney Park and on an up Casenove Road, past the Catholic, Jewish and Muslim schools and weave through the streets to get to the next point of interest.
Springfield Park is made out of the remnants of the old open coal fields of East London and is a lovely park. We veered off to find a toilet and a better coffee, given the last one got thrown away half drunk. thankfully Springfield Park Café did it job well! We headed down the slopes of the park and towards the exit and over the River Lea and into the Walthamstow Marshes.
On a day like the one we had the water was filled with people canoeing and boaters fixing up their homes, we walked along the gravel track, spotting birds in the edges of the marshes and ducks on the river and eventually got the The Lea Bridge Road and a rest bite at one of our favourite pubs, the Princess of Wales, a quick half was imbibed while watching boats and people pass by, then we carried on.
Across the bridge and along the footpath, after a time we detoured into Wick woodland because in the height of summer in the late afternoon, the path is basically a rat run for commuters leaving the city and heading home, we couldn’t walk more than five steps without having to move out of the way of a charging bike or jogger, all of whom on this section of the canal/river are incapable of saying a simple please or thank you. So a better route was found through the woods, of course the CR would never think of picking grass and trees over concrete and gravel, but we are glad we did.
After passing the box park and the mass of trendy bars we found the end of the section, some 200m from the station and we called it quits for the day. Ready to return the next week to walk the next section and we will share that glorious walk with you in a few weeks time!