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 5 Thames Barrier to Oxleas Meadow - 14th March 2024

Section 5 starts from the Thames Barrier and runs down more or less along the route of Capital Ring section 1 to Oxleas Wood where it meets sections 3 and 4a. Today I was joined by my friend Mike and we arrived at Charlton station at around 10.45am.

After a short walk we reached the Thames close to the barrier and walked along to the start the other side. The subway under the barrier was closed, presumably because of flooding, so we had to skirt round there to reach the first Green Chain sign.

From the start we walked through parkland, across the South Circular, and in to Maryon Park. We took the high route past Gilbert Pit.

There are steep steps to a lookout point offering great views of the capital.

Gilberts Pit was a former sand pit supplying the Royal Arsenal and other industry. The removal of sand exposed a fascinating array of strata dating back 55 million years and and adjacent information board explained each one.

Then into Maryon Wilson Park with an animal enclosure with deer and other animals. Afterwards we entered Charlton Park and reached the signpost marking the junction of sections 4 and 5.

Round Charlton Park and after a short stretch of roads Hornfair Park is entered with its lido and GMX track. Then across Woolwich Common where we had to make a short diversion due to very muddy ground. There are good views of London across the common.

Leaving the common and after a bit more road walking Eltham Common and then Castle Wood are entered.

At the centre of Castle Wood is Severndroog Castle, a folly built in 1784 to commemorate the life of Commodore Sir William James. On Sundays it is possible to climb the tower. We stopped here for a very welcome cuppa where we found a couple of other walkers. Below the castle is the Rose Garden where the former house was situated.

There are superb views from the castle as we pass through Jack Wood.

The remains of Jackwood House, then at a signpost we enter Oxleas Wood.

Oxleas Wood Cafe which was quite busy. Then at a junction of paths we end our walk. Continuing to Falconwood station we caught the train to London Bridge and on the walk back to Waterloo lunched in the Founders Arms, then back home on the train.

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