Dave Sergeant

The London Loop is a walking route of 150 miles length around the outer boundaries of London split into 24 sections. See tfl.gov.uk /modes/walking/loop-walk for more details. Inner London Ramblers now produces updated guides to the walk.

Section 4 Hayes to Hamsey Green

I last walked this section in 2019. It is around 9 miles in length, so it is being done in two sections with a convenient break point half way.

Part 1 - Hayes to Coombe Lane - 19th June 2024

This section starts by Weat Wickham Common and the nearest station is Hayes where I arrived just before 11am.

Out of the station and into a woodland path passing the impressive Warren, part of the Metropolitan Police Sports Club.

Then Pole Cat Alley down to the start of leg 4 at Gates Green Road.

Out of the woods and soon into Coney Hall Recreation Ground. The Meridian line crosses here and there is a marker stone. I did not find this but looking at my photos a stone which looks like it is shown but is slightly further along the path than shown online.

St John the Baptist church and walking through the churchyard a large field is then crossed.

Out of the field, across a busy road, and into Sparrows Den playing fields, initially parallel to the road but then across a field into woods.

There is now a lengthy walk through quite pleasant woodland, first Spring Park Woods then Cheyne Wood and finally Threehalfpenny Wood.

Eventually I came out of the woods onto Shirley Heath. The route was not that clear here and I had to cross to an unmarked rather obscure opening into Kennel Wood.

Kennel Wood is also very pleasant but again signposting was sparse and at time the route not obvious. Eventually the path emerges at Shirley Church Road opposite the entrance to The Addington Golf Club.

There is now half a mile of road walking until another wood is reached, Pinewoods, and the path skirts the playing fields of Shirley High School. It emerges on Upper Shirley Road and the now closed Sandrock pub and adjacent shops.

Along a narrow road, made harder by a parked lorry which had to be negotiated, Addington Hills is entered. After a nice woodland walk there is a steep ascent of steps to reach the summit.

The summit offers excellent views of the city and a time was spent here just looking.

The descent from the summit is much easier and passes the Royal Garden restaurant before entering woodland again. This emerges at Coombe Lane tram stop where I decided to break my journey, catching the tram to East Croydon then Clapham Junction where I lunched at the Wetherspoons before heading back home.

Part 2 - Coombe Lane to Hamsey Green - 28th June 2024

Today I continued section 4 and after changing trains at Clapham Junction caught the tram at East Croydon.

Leaving Coombe Lane tram station the route goes via light woodland and then across Coombe Lane towards Heathfield House and Gardens.

The lodge at the entrance to the gardens then through pleasant woodland.

A pond and the nearby Harefield House.

The directions were not that clear around here and I initially missed the loop signs and ended up going the wrong way. Backtracking I found the flight of steps I had to ascend to reach Bramley Bank Nature Reserve.

Further on into Littleheath Woods and an open area which very much resembles Happy Valley on section 5.

Through Littleheath Woods with the track eventually emerging at a small road and a residential estate. I initially missed the narrow turning off this and had to backtrack. The next path behind the housing was quite narrow. I passed another couple who were doing the loop who were enjoying a lunch break.

The route merges with the Vanguard Way for a while and passes through the pleasant Selsdon Wood.

Then down Baker Boy Lane to emerge on old Farleigh Road opposite the entrance to Farleigh Court Golf Club.

The route runs for a while alongside the road via a wooded path to emerge opposite Elm Farm and Allesley Farm to enter the woodlands opposite. In there it descends a steep path through Mossyhill Shaw. Unfortunately I lost my footing on this path and cut my lip badly. The couple I had passed earlier caught up with me and helped me on the remaining mile of the section to Hamsey Green where we caught a bus taking us eventually to South Croydon station. From there I made my way to Clapham Junction, lunched there, and returned home.

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