Dave Sergeant

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 11 - Nunhead to Forest Hill - 25th April 2024

Section 11 runs from Nunhead to Crystal Palace. Today I am doing the first part, down to Forest Hill. I will do the rest in conjunction with section 11a from Dulwich. Although the official start is at Nunhead station I took the waymarked link from Brockley station which is easier to get to using the Jubilee to Overground link at Canada Water.

This section seems all about cemeteries and Nunhead cemetery is the first one. The ruins of the Anglican chapel dominate. Then a sequence of magnificent tombstones before reaching the more modern burials near the exit.

After a short section of road walking the next one is reached, Camberwell New Cemetery. The through route past the cemetery building is closed during the week so the footpath running alongside must be use. Clearly confusing as a passing couple asked me how did they get into the crematorium.

The burial area afterwards is extensive.

Some more road walking before the next part. I have visited One Tree Hill several times before but the Green Chain took me through it in the opposite direction which was rather interesting. The climb to the top is steep but eventually I got there to see the famous oak tree where it is rumoured Elizabeth I once passed. Very splendid in its spring leafage.

From the top excellent views of central London, probably the best I have seen. Then down the other side, on a different path from previous visits, to join the busy Honor Oak Park for some more road walking.

Camberwell Old Cemetery is reached and a pleasant walk through the graves.

Although there are Green Chain markers at various points I got a bit confused at one point and overshot one. After a bit more walking I managed to find the right exit gate.

A bit more road walking then I entered the grounds of the Horniman Museum which I have visited in the past. Again some nice views.

Leaving the museum grounds the walk continues across the busy South Circular and joins Cox's Walk and Sydenham Hill Wood. The footbridge over the disused Crystal Palace and South London Junction railway has been closed for some time but it is now being replaced and workmen are busy doing the work. Here is the junction with section 11a so I ended the walk here. An update from Southwark Council says the work is not now expected to be finished until June and until that time the footpath used by section 11a remains closed so it seems sensible to delay doing that section until after then.

I retraced my steps and headed to Forest Hill station where I caught the train back to London Bridge for lunch in the Old Thames Inn before heading home.

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