Tuesday, 26 March 2013

London Loop_Old Bexley to Jubilee Park 25.03.13

As I set off from home there were still light snow flurries and the weather report said maximum temperature today would be a mere 1C.I thought this is going to be one cold walk,however it turned out as soon as I started walking I soon warmed up nicely but dare not stop for a rest!
After a train to Stratford,Tube to London Bridge and another Train to Bexley,I eventually left the station.I walked down to the main road and the after a few paces right into Tanyard Lane by The Railway Tavern.

 The lane bends round and uner the railway and then follows the track for a while.

Then I climb up and over a landfill site and out onto a open field. My first impression of this section was this wasn't going to be a pleasant walk.But bear with it,it does improve although certainly not the nicest section of the Loop.

I pass a old pumping station on my right and eventually down to a road then almost immediately inot a alleyway path between houses.It was here I met three elderly people also walking the loop, I had a quick chat before leaving them to dawdle behind.
I now reach the River Cray and now the scenery does finally improve!

 Again as on previous walks the trees were full of Wild Parakeets screaming overhead.
A range of theories about the arrival of parrots in Britain - including that they were brought by Jimi Hendrix, that they escaped during the making of a film and that they were released from aviaries damaged during the great storm of 1987.
 I then reach the spectacular looking Five Arch Bridge in Crays Meadows.The Five Arches Bridge and stable block are, however, all that remain of the eighteenth century Foots Cray Place estate buildings.Foots Cray Place was demolished in 1950 after a fire in 1949.

 The weir beneath the arches of the bridge have turned the river into a lake full of waterfowl.The lake and bridge were built around 1780 as a landscape feature for the Foots Cray Place.

I continue to follow the River Cray with its crystal clear water running over its clean gravel beds.

 The path leaves the meadow with a sign of sign of spring in the form of Daffodils on this freezing March morning.
 I now reach a little red bricked arched bridge to cross The Cray and take a path on my left 70 yards onwards.

 The path runs alongside The Church of All Saints.An ancient church, heavily restored in the 1860s,All Saints' Church has a wooden bell tower with a shingled spire and a 12th century font.

I leave the apth out onto Rectory Lane,I walk back up to the Church for a look before continuing on my way along The Loop.

 NOw further along the Lane I pass Hope Community School, a lovely looking building.
I walk up to the Foots Cray crossroads,crossing here and walking along Cray Road.I take the second right into Suffolk Road and take a hedged path past a little football pitch the home of Seven Acre and Sidcup FC.

The path runs behind some houses and up a grassy bank.
At the top of the hill I head towards Sidcup Place. The house was built in1743 in the shape of a 'star fort,' aligning with the four compass points. Originally a stately home, Sidcup Place has seen many incarnations - from family home to college premises and from a boarding school to Council offices. The grounds include a pitch and putt course, tennis courts and a secluded walled garden.

I walk past the Walled garden,past the Tennis Courts and out onto onto the bust main road. I pass Queen Marys Hospital and down to a junction where the A20 and A222 meet. There is a series of subways and bridges to get under the busy and noisy road.

 Just after emerging from the subways I turn right over a stile into Scadbury Park.
Scadbury Park is in Chislehurst.
The earliest records of Scadbury date from the 13th century when it was owned by the de Scathebury family.
It was home to the Walsinghams from 1424 until about 1655. Sir Edmund Walsingham became Lieutenant of the Tower of London and had custody of many of the prisoners of King Henry VIII, including Sir Thomas More and Anne Boleyn. Sir Francis Walsingham, Secretary of State under Queen Elizabeth I, was born here. Thomas Walsingham IV was the patron of the poet and playwright Christopher Marlowe, who was arrested at Scadbury shortly before his mysterious death in 1593.
Later owners of Scadbury included Thomas Townshend, 1st Viscount Sydney. Sydney in Australia is named after him.

I walk through a very muddy almost boggy you may say park.

 I reach a little pond with platforms,where local school children come to pond dip.

I continue  along the muddy path and take a detour to take a look at the moated site of a manor house(Scadbury Manor House).The link to the house is well worth a read!

 Here in the 13th century the Scathebury family built the house which gave its name to the park and manor. Later The Walshinghams resided through Tudor times. The house was pulled down n the 1730s.

 I rejoin the path and continue the walk through the Woodland.

 I walk down to a road and cross over to a track opposite. I come up to Petts Wood owned and managed by The National Trust.Colonel Edlmann purchased the wood to prevent development and his wishes have been honoured. The National Trust acquired Hawkwood and Petts Wood in 1927. Together they cover 138 hectares, comprising the working farm of Hawkwood and the woodland of Petts Wood.

Just to the left of the sign I take a detour off the loop to find the Memorial Stone dedicated to William Willett of Chistlehurst,campaigner behind the summer time act of 1925.

  I continue on a ever increasing muddy path.

 Eventually reaching a bridge to cross the railway tracks,one of 3.

I enter Jubilee Park for a while before leaving to walk to Petts Wood Station for the journey home.A 8 mile walk in all.