14 July 2012 Woolwich Heritage Inspire Short Walk
This page shows details of the 14 July 2012 free public taster walk visiting heritage and London 2012 Games sites in the Woolwich area, starting from Woolwich Arsenal station. Other walks are listed here.
14 July 2012, Saturday. Start: Woolwich Arsenal station 10am. 8 miles with shorter options. Woolwich Heritage Walk, including Royal Artillery Barracks London 2012 Games shooting venue views, Woolwich Common and Academy, Thames waterfront, Thames Barrier, Maryon Park, Oxleas Woods. Good public transport links enable many shorter options. Leader: Paul Lawrence, tel: 07768 585657
Walk description: A walk exploring military heritage, south London viewpoints, green corridors in suburbia, and a London 2012 Games Olympic venue. After an initial level section on the Thames, this route has some progressive climbs to reach one of the highest points in south London, returning across wooded Shooters Hill with good viewpoints. Starting from Woolwich town centre, the walk passes some of the military heritage of old Woolwich in the former Royal Arsenal dockyard sites, now redeveloped with museums, to join the Thames waterfront, then using the Jubilee Greenway/Thames Path Extension goes westwards, with river views to Canary Wharf and the 02 (2012 Games venue - North Greenwich Arena). The walk detours briefly to the Thames Barrier (toilets, visitor centre and cafe, and start of the Thames Path National Trail) and retraces, now on the Green Chain Walk and Capital Ring, to enter Maryon and Maryon Wilson Parks, with suprisingly green valleys and an animal enclosure, to reach Charlton Park, with views of Charlton House, a Jacobean mansion. Walking across to Woolwich Common, the 2012 Olympic shooting and Paralympic archery venue is on view, now almost completed. If time allows, the long and imposing original Woolwich Barracks frontage will be visited together with the VCs memorial. Crossing Woolwich Common, itself a past British military heritage area, Woolwich Academy, a former military training centre, is visible. Ascending to Shooters Hill (bus option for shorter walk), Eltham Common, Jackwood and Oxleas Woods provide wooded walking uphill with distant views, visiting Severndroog Castle, a folly at a high point with views across seven counties. Oxleas cafe (toilets) offers a stopping point with refreshments and picnic areas (about 5.7 miles). Continuing on the Green Chain Walk, past the water tower and across Shooters Hill (bus option at road for shorter walk), once home to highwaymen, there are elevated viewpoints with green outlooks from Shrewsbury Park. Descending back to Woolwich, there is a final short road pavements section to return to the stations and cafes in Woolwich centre, with a 2012 open air 'live site' in the square (General Gordon Square). There are few busy road crossings, these mostly with pedestrian lights. Surfaces are mostly hard tracks in on watersides and in parks, but some steps (steep long flights both in Maryon Park, in Oxleas Woods, both avoidable but needs leader, and descending from Shooters Hill) and grass/earth tracks, some avoidable.
Distance and elevation: 8.4 miles (full walk), 650 ft ascent/descent, average gradient 3%. Shorter options available.
London 2012 Games sites/Olympic links: The Royal Artillery Barracks (temporary buildings and safety catch-net) is the 2012 Games shooting and Paralympic archery venue. Views distantly to North Greenwich Arena (02: 2012 Games venue).
Use of Games 100 event route: Part of this route is in common with the recent event route, from the Thames Barrier to Oxleas Woods cafe. The 100 event had a checkpoint (passed) at Meridian S&S club opposite Charlton Park.
Promoted walking routes used (LDPs): Jubilee Greenway, Thames Path NT start point and section on TP Extension, Green Chain Walk, Capital Ring (latter two run partly in common from the Thames Barrier)
Duration (approximate - full route): about 5-6 hours, based on 2mph, plus stops and commentary.
Assembly area: At Woolwich Arsenal railway station, SE18 6EU - exit from rail station, on Woolwich New Road junction with Vincent Road on General Gordon Square. The DLR station is adjacent and many buses stop here or nearby.
Facilities: Toilets in Woolwich Arsenal and Community Centre (after 10-20mins), at Thames Barrier, in Maryon Park, at Charlton House (off route but also cafe), and at Oxleas Woods cafe. By arrangement Meridian S&S Club may be usable as cafe or toilets (event checkpoint location opposite Charlton Park). Cafes at Thames Barrier, Oxleas Woods cafe, Woolwich town centre. Hospital (casualty) passed at Woolwich Common (QEII Hospital)
Public transport: Frequent train services from London to Woolwich Arsenal rail, DLR from north of the river to Woolwich Arsenal DLR, linking to Stratford and Bank. Rail services from London are from Charing Cross (09.09 arr 09.38) and from Cannon Street (09.17 arr 09.42, and 09.27 arr 09.52), with frequent return trains to London (7 trains/hour). Buses from many nearby areas. Car parking (paid) in Woolwich town centre, and station car park (paid) and near Heritage Centre (flat rate £1 Saturdays). Thames riverboats link Embankment to Woolwich Arsenal pier, usable for return only, about 5mins signposted walk from Woolwich Arsenal rail stations, journey time about 45 mins and may need boat change at North Greenwich, but start too late going eastbound to arrive by 10am.
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