Dave Sergeant

This is another walk from the Inner London Ramblers, a walk around Regents Park then along the canal to Kings Cross and a climb of Primrose Hill. I have walked much of this in the past but there was plenty that was new to me.

The walk started at Baker Street station then into Regents Park at the Clarence Gate. The park is fairly busy as I walked beside the boating lake towards York Gate where there was a view of St Marylebone parish church.

Nearing Avenue Gardens large marquees came into view. These were for Frieze London, a huge art exhibition, and today it was open for preview day. Lots of people waiting outside for it to open, not cheap with tickets up to £150. Nearby was an open air display of sculptures. I passed through the crowds to reach Broad Walk and attractive walks each side.

Queen Mary's Gardens resplendent with roses even this late in the season. The small lake here may be small compared to the boating lake but it is still quite large. After looping back to Clarence Gate the walk then follows along the boating lake and through Winter Gardens on the route I took while walking the River Tyburn.

The canal is reached at Charlbert Bridge which carries the Tyburn across the canal, encased in the brickwork. Then to Macclesfield Bridge, also know as Blow-up Bridge after it was destroyed by a passing barge with a cargo of gunpowder. The replacement bridge used the original cast iron columns which were replaced the opposite way round with grooves from ropes visible on the landward side.

A bit further along the Regents Canal a diversion is made to climb up Primrose Hill with a viewing area at the top with excellent views of the capital. Lots of people up there standing or sitting just staring at the view.

Back on the canal London Zoo is passed. At the large Snowdon Aviary I stopped to take pictures of the monkeys and chimpanzees as they darted to and fro. After the zoo is Cumberland Basin, a former offshoot of the canal which went towards Euston before being filled in. The floating Chinese restaurant completes the view. But here I found the towpath closed and I had to divert a little way on the street before rejoining it.

A sequence of narrow low bridges and Pirate Castle is reached, now a youth centre. Then Camden Lock comes into view.

Camden Lock is a charming place with lots of small eating places. I stopped there for lunch at the Ice Wharf and had a very pleasant meal before pressing on. A boat was passing through the lock and I paused a while to look on.

The canal continues and after passing under the St Pancras railway lines reaches St Pancras Lock where three former gasholders have been redesigned as housing. A large water tower comes into view, a reminder of the time of steam trains.

Then the big surprise of the day. The new Somers Town Pedestrian Bridge is crossed to reach Camley Street Natural Park, once a derelict coal drop yard but opened in 1983 as a nature reserve, and after extensive recent work reopened in 2021 as a little haven of wildlife just yards from the stations. Now with a cafeteria and activities for children such as pond dipping. The marked walk around the lake made a fitting end to the day. Certainly one of London's hidden secrets.

Through the newly developed area north of Kings Cross, Coal Drops Yard, Fish and Coal Offices, Granary Square and Kings Boulevard brought me to Kings Cross station and the tube back to Waterloo.

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