Dave Sergeant

The Green London Way is a walking route of 110 miles length around London split into 18 sections. It follows much of the route of the 78 mile long Capital Ring but has some new sections. The Green London Way is largely the work of one man, Bob Gilbert, who is a supporter for the protection of urban open spaces and public access. His book, The Green London Way, outlines each section with detailed description of the historic and wildlife aspects of each section and is being used as I walk the route.

Green London Way Walk 18 - Cambridge Heath to Stratford - July 8th 2021

This walk, continuing on from where last week's finished, covers much familiar ground from my Jubilee Greenway, Lee Valley and of course the Capital Ring. But there was some new ground as well. At 4.5 miles one of the shorter sections in the book.

So out of Cambridge Heath tube station just before 11am and the short walk down to the Regents Canal. The towpath along the Regents Canal and then the Hertford Union Canal follows the boundary of Victoria Park which I had visited last week. Usual canal scene. Note carefully at what a lock should normally look like.

All went well until I reached the point where I was to turn off the Hertford Union. This is the middle lock of a flight of three and as you can see the water level is very high. The lady approaching told me that there was some serious flooding ahead and hoped I could find another route. Indeed, water was flowing over the top of the lock down onto the towpath and ankle deep. I ventured carefully ahead and a full Niagara Falls appeared. There was a chap taking his boat through the lock, I didn't wait to see if he managed it, but clearly something seriously wrong with the locks.

So after venturing through the flood I left the canal, then a short stretch of road under the busy A11 to reach familiar territory, the Greenway over the Northern Outflow Sewer. The ever present features of the Olympic Park come into view, the Orbit and the now truncated stadium which is the home of West Ham. This is followed until Pudding Hill Lane DLR station where I turned off for a short stretch along St Thomas Creek before reaching busy Stratford High Street for the first time.

Then across the High Street I picked up another river in the complex of channels in the Bow area, Three Miles Wall River, which took me down to Three Mills Island. There is a large area of parkland here, quite pleasant, and now has a new feature. A statue of a black woman staring at a mobile phone, an artwork by Thomas J Price, which arrived last year. This is part of the Line sculpture trail, and I passed the next one, helping hands, just before I turned off the path.

Between the locks at the bottom was a hive of activity with plenty of boats moored. Then a short way ahead the two remaining mills after which the island is named. In normal times House Mill is open as a museum on Sunday afternoons, at the moment only the cafe is. Clock Mill opposite is currently used by the London Science School. The south end of the island is occupied by Three Mills Studios, one of the largest film studios in London.

On reaching the opposite side of Three Mills Island the Prescott Channel is crossed at Three Mills Lock. Then follows a very pleasant walk around the next peninsular, Mill Meads, deceptively hidden from Abbey Mills Pumping Station behind the trees. This eventually leads back to the Greenway where I walked, in the reverse direction to the Capital Ring, to rejoin Stratford High Street. A short diversion through the suburbia alongside there, including Friendship Way, brought me to the hub of Stratford Railway Station where this leg of the Green London Way finishes, and also being leg 18 the official end point. Robert the Steam Engine sits proudly outside, it was placed here in 2012 as part of the Olympics. I broke here for a pleasant lunch in John Lewis inside the bustling Westfield shopping centre.

After lunch I paid a visit to the northern part of the Olympic park, primarily as inspired by the Diamond Geezer blog, to see the newly opened London Blossom Centre. This is an area to celebrate covid workers and has a circle of 33 trees planted by National Trust for each of the London boroughs. However following Diamond Geezer's instructions carefully, along with various signposts in the park, I failed to locate it! But this part of the Olympic park was a pleasant way to end my day. Then back through the shopping centre to the train station and the Jubilee line back to Waterloo.