Monday, 26 November 2012

London Loop-Hamsey Green to Banstead 3rd October 2012

I set off for Hamsey Green for another section of the London Loop.On arriving at Croydon East Station,I exit and I am still amused to see trams directly outside.

Now I have to catch a 403 bus to Hamsey Green but the guidebook doesnt tell you how to get to the bus stop. So if you're going,come out of the station turn right and down to the lights past McDonalds.Turn left and just after Fairfield Halls is the stop.
The bus seemed to take forever ,but I eventually got off and crossed the road to join the Loop at Tithe Pit Shaw Lane.

After a short walk along the lane I enter Dipsley's Field and walk along the path.

A little way along I come across a trig point , they are the remains of a massive Ordnance Survey project to map Great Britain with absolute accuracy from 1935 onwards. The location of each trig point was selected so that at least two others would be visible from it. Using these, the surveyor could work out the angles on the lines of sight between the three points and create a triangular mapping grid – hence, triangulation.

 Their use has now been superseded by aerial photography and satellite mapping, and some have been removed so as to restore the natural state of the landscape they stood on. Most remain, however, as they’re a massively useful navigational aid for walkers, not least for the simple act of confirming you’ve reached the summit of something, especially in mist. This is the only trig point on the Loop.

Now there was a very heavy downpour and I stop beneath the trees to put on my waterproofs. I turn left and the valley opens up before me.

 I now walk along Old Riddlesdown Road,still very heavy rain.This was the main coaching route to Lewes and Brighton.At the end I cross the road and enter Old Barn Lane and cross a bridge over the railway. I stop on the bridge and look back and looking back I see the chalk cliffs of an old quarry with a railway viaduct beneath.

I continue up along New Barn Lane and it is steep! At the top I stop for another picure of the Chalk Cliffs.

 Now there is further steep climbing up via a set of steps up to Kenley Common.

At the top I now reach Kenley Common. Kenley Common lies in the North Downs Natural Area and is a Site of Importance for Nature Conservation (Metropolitan grade) for its grassland habitats. With its mosaic of chalk, neutral and acid grasslands as well as ancient woodland and scrub.

 I walk across the common and into a wood and divert off track briefly to take a look at Kenley House,couldn't get a good look due to the gates preventing access.

Back on track I walk across the common and stop to take a picture of a Jay.
I now come across the Kenley Airfield , formely Royal Air Force Station Kenley.  It was active from 1917, and ceased in 1959. During World War II RAF Kenley was one of the three main fighter stations (Kenley, Croydon and Biggin Hill) responsible for the air defence of London. It was during the crucial days of the Battle of Britain that these three RAF stations came into their own, fighting off the overwhelming might of the German Luftwaffe.

 It is now used as a Glider School and Surrey Hills Gliding club. 

I walk out onto Golf Road and up to the top where I turn right and walk along the verge for a bit before taking a path on my left into Betts Mead.Once a rubbish tip, now a landscaped area of meadows and woodland.

Up above there was a lone glider from nearby Kenley Airfield.

I exit out onto a lane and then immediately over a stile into another field of horses. I dont think there has been one section of Loop so far where I havent seen horses!

Now I head towards a white domed observatory in the field.

Nearby are remains of old bunkers belonging to Kenley Airfield.

I take an old track Waterhouse Lane to Rydons Lane.
Now a bit of road walking up to the junction where I enter Coulsdon Common.

There was once windmills standing on the common but theses have long since gone.
I now exit the common by a sign directly me to Happy Valley.
I cross the road and pass the Vintage Inns The Fox PH.

I enter Happy Valley and pass a trim trail, a series of exercises

.I stopped for a quick cup of tea before I came out to the slopes of the Happy Valley. Wow you can't help than be happy with views like that!

I follow the path and down and then sharply back up and follow the woods edge before entering Devilsden Wood. What a delightful wood with a good mix of trees.

Devilsden Wood

Leaving Devilsdon Wood onto Farthing Downs
 I leave the woods and cross the road to Farthing Downs, there is a toilet block here and views in all directions!.Farthing Downs & New Hill is a 95 hectare (235 acre) area of chalk grassland lying within the London green belt.

I walk along the downs parallel to the road.
 A long history of human activity has been recorded on the site with archaeological finds and features dating from the Neolithic, Iron Age and Roman periods. Farthing Downs was cultivated up to the 2nd century AD and afterwards used as pasture for grazing animals.

Some view across to London including The Shard,The Gherkin and more

View to Crystal Palace

The Folly

 In 1783 a local landowner crowned the summit with a grove of 7 beech trees,only two remain.New young beeches have been planted to replace them.

Crystal Palace and Canary Wharf

 I now exit out onto a road and up then into Reddown road and across the tracks at Coulsdon South Station.
Coulsdon South Station

 A bit more road walking I enter into Coulsdon and cross the tracks again before a steep climb up Woodmansterne Road which then becomes Grove road.
Up the top is the Jack and Jill PH.
 After passing the pub a track branches off between two hedges.

A iron plate of 1898 marking the boundary of a now departed district council.

The Woodcote Estate.It is divided up into smallholdings in the 1920s by Surrey County Council in abid to give returning heroes from world war I a chance to become farmers.

 I walk across some rough land and reach Carshalton Road and walk up this a bit before entering over a stile into the Oaks Farm.
 I cross over 3 stiles one after another and enter a field of Lavender belonging to Mayfield Lavender Fields.I can't describe how wonderful the smell was and can only imagine how much better it would look when the field was in full flower.

 I cross the road and enter Oaks Park.

I was doing so well almost finished without getting lost. But then the signs seemed to disappear and I took a wrong turning somewhere and ended up a few miles off track. I went pass HM Highdown prison as does the loop only on the wrong side I think.
No easy way out

 HM Prison High Down is a Category B men's local prison.
 High Down Prison was built in the 1990s on the site previously occupied by Banstead Lunatic Asylum. Banstead Asylum was built in 1877, and held psychiatric patients until its demolition in 1989.

 I eventually found my way to Banstead Station, after a long 12 mile walk. Only to find I had a 30 minute wait for the train to London Victoria.