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 12 - Eltham to Greenwich - 2nd May 2024

Section 12 of the Green Chain walk was considered when the Green Chain was being set up but never became an official section and is not waymarked. However it is quite a pleasant route. I have walked the latter parts before but the first part was on unfamiliar ground. Diamond Geezer has an excellent entry about it, which he walked earlier this year when it was somewhat wetter than today.

There are two ways to get to the start near Eltham Palace, either from Eltham station along roads or from Mottingham station via King John's walk. I decided on the latter and followed the scenic part of section 7 past the donkey enclosure where the donkeys were being well fed. Then on the short diversion into the field along King John's walk suggested for good views of London but being a misty morning that view was somewhat disappointing.

The start of the walk is at the end of St John's walk, Eltham Palace is to the right. Then into Queenscroft Recreation Ground which features a now drained boating lake and paddling pool and a magnificent oak tree next to the tennis courts.

Then a small patch of grass called Eltham Green that I walked round on the road though the guide suggested I should have walked across it. After negotiating the South Circular I passed another section of Eltham Green with the former Yorkshire Grey across it, now a McDonald's.

Sutcliffe Park is now entered where the Quaggy rises from its underground existence. The footpath alongside was in deep water for quite a stretch so I had to walk on the adjacent grass.

The Quaggy remains largely out of sight behind vegetation but occasionally puts in an appearance. There is a large lake just before reaching Tudway Road and entering Cator Park, an attractive area of Kidbrooke Village which is undergoing major development and some of the paths were diverted.

Another lake within Cator Park then out of the park, past more development and a school (today being used as a polling station), across the railway line at Kidbrooke station via a large and long footbridge followed by a subway under the busy A2.

Through Kidbrooke Green Park. On the left hand side is an abandoned nature reserve, not currently open to visitors. Out of the park there is a walk along Rochester Way then the A2 is crossed via a footbridge.

Kidbrooke shops then the grounds of Morden College are entered with a long footpath skirting its private grounds.

Morden College is now a complex retirement homes. The main building was designed by Sir Christian Wren though much of it is more modern.

Out of the college and onto Blackheath.

The pond in Blackheath then across the heath towards Greenwich park.

Into Greenwich Park and past the observatory. The area opposite the observatory with the statue of James Wolfe is being worked on at the moment and the excellent views from here are currently obscured.

Down the hill towards the buildings of the National Maritime Museum. The walk continues through these and ends at the Cutty Sark. A large liner is docked in the Thames. I headed for the Cutty Sark inn where I lunched before making my way back to Waterloo on the DLR. Except for a short section of section 11 I have now completed my walk of the Green Chain Walk.

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