We are back and at the end of The Capital Ring, having walked around the outskirts of London, we finally made it to the last section and here is what we found and what we thought of the circuit in all…
Section 15 of the Capital Ring starts off at Beckton District Park and heads mostly south towards Woolwich, the Ferry and the Foot Tunnel. You start at The park and head as you would expect for the CR along a tarmac path, carefully avoiding that vast swathe of grass that is before you – or if you are like us, then you simply walk across the football pitches and greenery, being daring and rebellious as usual.
This is a strange park, because it is one continuous open space but as you walk it changes names, from the District Park, to just the Park and then into the New Park. But whatever name you give it, it’s just the same and nothing too remarkable and culminates at the side of a council estate and a plethora of abandoned shopping trollies.
After a short section of grey road, you come to a roundabout and find yourself in Cypress – not Cyprus unfortunately, no magical teleporting device to sunnier climes but the DLR Station and the route towards the University of East London and more impressively the Royal Albert Dock and beyond it, The London City Airport.
But at the water you turn left and head towards the A117, the way across the wide expanse of Docklands waterways. It is here that a Detour is suggested, the CR tell to turn left and take route up the side of the bridge or go under and follow the footpath around towards Gallion’s Reach and walk to the Eastern Most point of the entire ring and a magnificent view.
We would say otherwise. we would say take the alternative route under the bridge and head as far as the old Gallion’s Reach Hotel and just past this on the corner of The Royal Albert Basin stop for a coffee at the Well Bean Café, before returning to the bridge.
DO NOT go to the view, it is shit, it is grey, desolate, abandoned, concrete wharfs and dreary buildings, a rubbish tip and a lot of River heading towards Tilbury. Then you do not have to walk the Alternative Route along the Thames and find yourself trying to get to Gallion’s Point. This way is closed and we suspect will remain closed for the rest of time. There are building works on the lock gates which will never be complete. We found this out the hard way, we walked all this boring, dull, grey, filth covered section and discovered a digger parked on the lock, blocking the route south and had to walk all the way back to the bridge, in total some 3 miles extra.
Instead find yourself at the North side of the bridge –
The Sir Steve Redgrave Bridge no less. Yes that’s right, that big bloke who won four golds at the olympics, the greatest British Athlete of all time and what’s he got to show for it? An industrial lump of concrete, over a mass of forgotten, grey water, in East London, of all the achievement and rewards he gained, the PB’s The Knighthood and medals, surely this is the pinnacle, the crown to his life! – Yay!! (Sarcasm!)
This is truly an awful walk, a REALLY Loud and busy road, filled with lorries, trucks, cement mixers and buses charging back and forth over Steve Redgrave’s namesake as well as aeroplanes landing a 100 metres past it every 5 minutes. Trust us, this is not fun.
Eventually you find yourself at the Royal Victoria Gardens. A strip of parkland butting up to the north bank of the Thames and you simply walk through it – oh sorry, we forgot, around the park avoiding the grass and tress and sticking to the concrete path, if you are still following the CR’s stupid instructions. At the western edge rejoin the footpath and head for the Woolwich Foot Tunnel entrance.
The tunnel runs under the ferry’s route north/south across the river and is about 500 metres long, tiled entirely in white tiles and emerges via a 101 stairs (or the lift) in the paradise vistas of Woolwich – aka the back of the Woolwich Leisure Centre and the finish of the Capital ring!
Well there you go the entire Capital Ring walked by us, so you don’t have to! Well that said there are sections that were truly lovely and others like the last 2 which no one should ever be made to do.
In all our highlights were…
Richmond Park is lovely and full of animals! What’s not to like – well the flight path to Heathrow for one!
Wimbledon Common is lovely as long as you walk through the woods not follow the suggested route through the car park,
The Oxleas Wood and Severndroog Castle – even though we got lost in there! We do have a bug-bare with it though, that is, why is this only open Thursday-Sunday? But let’s not get into the coffee shops and the lack of them in South East London and why they all shut at 4pm.
The Grand Union Canal and walking along the River Brent was lovely and the dog loved it, even when she almost got swept away at one point!
Highgate Woods were known to us, yet we discovered new parts in The Queen’s Wood. As was The New River and is one for us to return to. Likewise The Parkland Walk is another part we have frequented before and on glorious sunny days we will return we are sure.
Beckenham Place Park is the best thing in Bromley – really nice coffee shop and a lovely park, we have to return when it gets a bit warmer.
But it wasn’t only woodlands that we liked, Hampstead Garden Suburbs with it’s cool houses and grassy walks was a lovely section.
Eltham revealed it’s best kept secret to us – The Wicca Moon Crystal Shop – but the Palace though looking amazing is too expensive to visit.
The last good thing is how friendly everyone is out in Zone 5-6, passing anybody will result in a ‘Good Day’ or simple!
The lowlights have to be;
Hendon Park and the 900 heroine needles (that’s not a band name – Yet!) This was not something we needed or want to return to ever again.
The start of Section 1 is not a great way to start, all the way up to Gilbert’s Pitt is grey and yuck!
All of Section 14 and section 15- truly the highlight of the last couple of walks was the hidden coffee shop on Gallion’s Reach!
There were other bits we hated, namely the need to get back to the North Circular Road as often as possible
And of course, the NUMBER ONE GRRRR!!! of the entire ring (C’mon say it with us…)
KEEP OFF THE GRASS!
At all costs do not go near grass or trees, they are evil and dangerous, stick to tarmac and pollution at all times, never veer off the black paths, never pass go and don’t collect £200!
So there you go, one entire loop of London and one we think we could do better!
Yes we do!
In fact we are, we have started and so in the New Year we are going to share our adventures with you and then you too can try our route, in, through and around London and then tell us and everyone you know all about it.
As we post and tell you all about the Climbing Moss Heart of London Walk (#CMHoL) So ask Father Christmas for a new pair of walking shoes and join us in 2023 as we set off on a new adventure.