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 4 - Abbey Wood to Charlton Park - 7th March 2024

Section 4 starts in Bostall Woods at the junction of sections 2 and 3. It runs through Plumstead and Woolwich commons to end in Charlton Park. I had done much of this route before as part of Green London Way section 2 but in the opposite direction.

I planned a route to the start from Abbey Wood station through the local estate along Federation Road but failed to find the entrance to the woods I expected and had to go a little further along to another entrance. Then a short section through woods to reach the start point.

From the Green Chain signpost I was soon in pleasant woodland. This was quite steep in places but not muddy under foot.

A couple of trees block the path but easily walked round. The path then runs along a ledge which had superb views over London.

A section of grassland and after crossing Wickham Lane into Great Bartletts Wood. Here is a steep incline, the steepest on the Green Chain which eventually reaches Winn's Common.

Winn's Common is named after a tenant of the former Old Workhouse and is a pleasant open space with good views.

At the opposite end is a small estate and here I went down steep steps into The Slade with a large pond at the bottom, maintained as a nature reserve. Then up another flight of steps to reach Plumstead Common.

Plumstead Common dates back to the Doomsday Book and is protected space since 1878. The Old Mill was converted to a pub in the 1850s.

Across Plumstead Common and outside are the Dog Rocks, also known as the Puddingstone Boulders resembling dogs and probably found during nearby sand-quarrying.

From here there is a long walk along the main road, across the South Circular and then into Woolwich Common. Instead of exploring the common the path continues by the ha-ha alongside the road of that name.

At the end Plumstead Cemetery is skirted.

Entering Charlton Park the end of section 4 is reached at a large Green Chain signpost. From here I walked across the park and Charlton House then made my way to Charlton station. I first caught a train to Woolwich where I lunched at the Great Harry before making my way back to Waterloo and home.

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