Dave Sergeant

The Jubilee Greenway was set up in 2012 to celebrate the Queen's Diamond Jubilee and coincidently the London Olympics. As such it is 60km in length and passes all the London Olympic venues - or rather it doesn't as it goes nowhere near Wembley and Wimbledon and a long way from Lee Valley. It introduces no new walking paths whatsoever, most of it goes on parts of the Capital Ring and Thames Path and also along the Regent's Canal towpath. I have therefore only recently done much of it so will concentrate on the bits which are new to me.

Jubilee Greenway Sections 7 and 8 - Cutty Sark to London Bridge - December 13th 2019

OK, another day when it didn't rain, was a bit chilly, and another nasty wind. Nice day for a walk along the Thames with the aim of completing my Jubilee Greenway walk. Or not quite as it turned out.

Up on the train to Waterloo and then off to where I left off last week. There were several ways to get here, DLR via Bank (and its current endless tunnels), Jubilee and DLR interchange at Canary Wharf. I took the third option - Waterloo East to London Bridge train then another train to Greenwich and a tedious walk through the busy Greenwich streets. From street map I had expected to come out of the main entrance of the station but found myself going via a subway further down before I passed that. But by 1045 I reached the entrance to the Greenwich foot tunnel next to the Cutty Sark - a much more impressive structure to those on the sister Woolwich tunnel.. But I wasn't going that way, instead to make my way along the south bank to the London Eye to complete the walk. Like last time although there are some new on-river sections many parts went away from the river into side streets, and as always the guide leaflet was misleading.

Canary Wharf took over the view on the opposite bank and got increasingly larger as I went along. A bit of traffic on the Thames with the occasional Thames Clipper riverboat service and several pleasure cruisers and various industrial ones. Suddenly on one of the off river diversions near Deptford Creek a statue of no less than Peter the Great appeared, who it seems visited the area in the 1700s. Looking somewhat out of place in front of the modern flats.

Now follows quite a long stretch away from the river over several docks and locks. On the left South Dock and an impressive footbridge over it. The building on the right, the Doubletree Hilton Hotel by Nelson Dock in Rotherhithe, was used by Mensa for its 2016 Annual Gathering. The Thames Path goes right past it, it has its very own Riverboat pier accessible only by walking through the hotel reception - one of the Thames Path signs even pointed that way. But for us not wishing to visit the Hilton we have to go along a rather boring road, passing a couple of pubs, one being renovated, the other closed and boarded off, but also passing through Surrey Docks Farm (also closed for the winter). Eventually I reached the real river again. I imagine Annual Gathering attendees also got a bit lost, unless you use the riverboat it seems pretty inaccessible.

Passing further round the Rotherhithe peninsula we see Limehouse Marina which we passed on section 10 of the Jubilee a few weeks ago. Hard to imagine that there are loads and loads of expensive yachts just behind there. Then to the other side came the Rotherhithe Tunnel, invisible from the path but close to this impressive red bridge was one of the ventilation shafts. By this bridge was a pub, the Old Salt Quay, and as the walk was taking a bit longer than expected seemed a good place to lunch. Very busy with Christmas parties etc and although service was slow made a convenient break.

A little along from the tunnel, along a section of back streets, was this statue. Called the Sunshine Weekly and the Pilgrims Pocket, it is close to the place where the Mayflower first sailed in 1620, but the pilgrim here is not the famous Pilgrim Fathers but a pilgrim who lived there in rather later times. A bit further along Rotherhithe Street is the Mayflower pub. Quite a long description here.

So after another stretch of river I reached the end of section 7 of the Jubilee Greenway, Tower Bridge. Most definitely touristy, very busy with Christmas Markets all along selling their usual wares. Even taking photos was tricky as the place was full of people taking selfies and photos of loved ones with the bridge in the background. I had intended to continue to the Eye on section 8 to where I had set off a couple of months ago but it was now mid afternoon and I had had enough. To think that when I started the Thames Path walk the first time in 1996 I walked from the Thames Barrier to Waterloo in one day and now I have taken two trips not even to complete that, age must be beginning to show. I continued the walk past HMS Belfast (nice impressive amateur radio antennas above it) and reached London Bridge. I had not printed out section 8 and had not realised there was a short section of off river walking - up the very steep steps from the river to the busy streets around London Bridge station and had no idea how to get back to the river. Decided to call it quits and made my way into the station and took the Jubilee line back to Waterloo. Glad that I had decided to buy a Travel Card rather than just the fare to London so didn't need to cough up again. I had in my mind that I might venture to Trafalgar Square to see that Swedish tree they have been commenting on, but had to make do with the smaller one at Waterloo instead. Maybe I will go back one day to complete that short section along to the Eye, but not this year.

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