Dave Sergeant

The Green Link Walk is the latest of the London walks from TFL and is 15 miles long running from Walthamstow down to Peckham in four sections. It differs from the other walks in that it is designed to be inclusive, walkable by anybody including wheelchair users, prams and buggies. As such it tries to keep to firm footpaths and avoids bridges and stiles. So although it is called a green walk it avoids most of the parks and woodlands that give the rest of the walks their attraction.

I used the guidance from Inner London Ramblers which I found fairly comprehensive. Their guides also offer a few alternative routes to nearby places of interest. At least for the moment I followed the official route throughout.

Section 1 - Walthamstow to Lea Bridge - 8th May 2024

Section 1 starts at the edge of Epping Forest by St Peter-in-the-Forest church in Walthamstow. Following the guidance I went to the end of the Victoria Line to Walthamstow Central and caught the 20 bus from there for the short ride to the church, arriving there around 11.15.

I misread the instructions and seeing a very attractive footpath into the woods right by the bus stop went down it thinking it was St Peter's Path. When it became rather waterlogged I realised it could not be, and after 10 minutes getting even deeper into the real Epping Forest backtracked to find an even more boggy footpath on the map which joined the Path a little further down. This was lovely woodland but sadly not the Green Link.

Back on route, entering from the path the other side of the My Shish Restaurant, St Peter's Path is more an avenue than a woodland footpath, attractive and with the cemetery alongside but quite short so the initial greenery was soon gone.

Now it is street walking all the way, pleasant area with good views but nothing special. Wood Street Station is passed, an alternative starting point.

The occasional waymark sign is seen but they seem pretty sparse as putting up these signs is somewhat delayed. More street walking with the occasional little pedestrian precinct to brighten things up.

So after a couple of miles of street walking I reached Walthamstow Central train and bus station where I had been an hour and a half ago. Here at least the Green Link crosses the Town Square which is a small park. I should have walked along a path that runs through the avenue of trees on the right but missed that step. Quite an attractive area, the planners seem to have got that right.

Out of the square and into Walthamstow High Street. This is bustling with street market stalls and a hive of activity. The guide suggested there were plenty of places to eat, yes there were cafes serving all countries of the world except it seems England. Seeing nowhere sensible I carried on to lunch later. The High Street is followed for around a mile until it eventually becomes Coppermill Lane.

Eventually 3 miles after the start of my walk real countryside is reached. Dagenham Brook is crossed and then the huge reservoirs of Walthamstow Wetlands are reached with reservoir 5 to my right.

The Green Link, still following Coppermill Lane, runs along the reservoirs on one side and Coppermill Water Treatment Plant on the other. The latter opened in 1969 to replace the earlier facility and itself is extensive. At the end of this the lane dives under the railway via a low bridge but the Green Link turns left.

The route now runs south through first Walthamstow Marsh and then Leyton Marsh passing under two railway lines, one after the other.

Continuing along the very scenic route for a mile or so, this is probably the best part of the whole Green Link. Eventually just before the path dives underneath Lea Bridge road I am directed to the right to join that road.

A short walk along Lea Bridge road brought me to the end of section 1 outside the Lea Valley Ice Centre. I had planned to eat in the nearby Princess of Wales but I failed to find it (it was a little further on). I passed what looked like a closed pub, this is the Greyhound which closed way back in 1999 and is now flats with a car dealer's cars in front, but it did look very delapidated. So change of plan, train from Lea Bridge station back to Waterloo via Stratford and lunched at the Wellington there before heading home.

Back to London Loop