The 52 mile Green Chain Walk, London's first long distance footpath, opened in 1977. The network links together the open spaces in the great arc of protected, undeveloped land with a total area of 4,500 acres, that sweeps around South East London from Crystal Palace to the Thames at Erith and Thamesmead. I followed the maps and guidance from the Inner London Ramblers website. Although I have walked parts before this is my project for 2024.
Section 2 starts on the Thames west of Erith and goes through Franks Park and Lesney Abbey Woods to Bostall Heath. I ended at Lesnes Abbey/Abbey Wood and will do the remainder as part of section 3.
I arrived at Erith station around 11am. The official waymarked route is along West Street but I took the rather more scenic route along the river. Signposting to this is a little confusing involving several stages of steps and it is a bit bleak as it runs alongside a big concrete flood defence wall but the views across the river are good though a bit industrial.
The start of the Geen Chain section is well marked and is about half a mile along the river. It took me along Corinthian Manorway to the official start at St John the Baptist church.
St John the Baptist church dates from the 12th century but may stand on a Roman site of Christian worship. A long pedestrian bridge took me across the busy Bronze Age Way and after a short walk through suburbs I arrived at Franks Park.
Franks Park is in memory Frank Beadle, a local industrialist, and opened in 1920. Pleasant woodland and after a while a clearing is reached with a large playground.
The second stretch of woodland leads eventually out of the park into Halt Robin Road.
Along Halt Robin Road and crossing a couple of major roads. At the second one the guide refers to a newsagents but this has now changed to a double glazing company. There are spectacular views from a couple of the side streets of power stations.
Lesnes Abbey Woods are reached, one of the finest examples of ancient woodland in London and are over 8,000 years old.
At the highest point of the woods a fenced area encloses the mounds of Bronze Age tumuli. Then a steep downhill descent, the steepest of the Green Chain Walk.
Signpost GCMS 2.52, added to the route later because people got lost here. Then more woodland.
Signposts marking the junction with section 1 where I finished the day's walk. Section 2 continues ahead for a while but I turned right and headed via Lesnes Abbey to Abbey Wood Station. Here I went to London Bridge and lunch in the Old Thames Inn before making my way home.