Latest walk reports Saturday 9th October 2021

Fenchurch Street to Stratford, Thursday 7th October 2021

15 Walkers, 12 miles - leader Ron Williamson

A good turnout for a chance to visit familiar ground, with a few surprises added for good measure.

The first 3.5 miles along the Thames Path to Canary Wharf were familiar to most, whilst our first stop was a new experience to the Londoners in the group although most of us from further afield were aware of its potential as a lunch stop. In fact the roof garden above the shortly to open Canary Wharf Crossrail station exceeded our expectations, it must surely be one of the best covered locations in London to stop for a sandwich break. Well worth a visit.

Our aim was now to continue eastwards towards Canning Town without having to use main roads, however, our way ahead was blocked by numerous building sites whose workforce could not direct us to our destination even though it could be seen on the other side of the construction area. Perseverance paid off as we eventually found a recently laid footpath going in the right direction.

We skirted Virginia Wharf and the former East India Dock, now a nature reserve, as we made our way to Trinity Wharf and the London Lighthouse, here those familiar to the area took coffee leaving the rest of party to explore the area. Once again well worth an extended visit.

Our object was now to follow the River Lea northwards to Stratford, but the riverside path at its southern end is at present still under construction and not expected to open for at least 18 months. A diversion of just over half a mile along soulless industrial estate roads is unavoidable before returning to the riverside path at Cody Dock, a thriving community hub transformed from a derelict dock basin, and our third surprise.

Of course, we could not visit Stratford without paying homage to a certain football club, and this time it seemed necessary to view the stadium from every possible angle.

Photographs by Keith Lane and Charlotte Minchell

Founders' Tree Walks, Saturday 9th October 2021
Assembled at the tree and those on the shorter walks at Pitch Hill

Photographs by Godfrey O'Callaghan and Gavin Fuller


Long Distance

15 Walkers, 21.5 miles - leader Gavin Fuller

There was a good turnout at a misty Dorking station for the longest of the walks laid on to the Founders tree. The walk left the down through Denbies vineyard before climbing onto the North Downs where there were some interesting views over the mist and fog in the valley below as the route took in the two locations named for the LDWA’’s founders Steer’s Field and Blatchford Down before descending off the latter down a lesser-used path. The walk then passed through the atmospherically unlit Broomy Downs before heading past Paddington Farm to the quaint old houses of Sutton Abinger, and then to Peaslake to rendezvous with the shorter walk parties at the Hurtwood Inn, arriving bank on the booked time of 12.45 to the leader’s pleasure. After a longer-than-planned lunch stop it was them up en masse to the Founders Tree (see elsewhere for the report of what happened there) whence the exigencies of time meant this group (save one who decided to remain with the other walkers) had to be anti-social and head off to the toposcope at Pitch Hill ahead of the rest, who it met coming back off the hill for a final goodbye, Thence it was on to the highest point of the day at Holmbury Hill before an undulating return to Dorking, not uneventfully with the likes of a newly-fallen tree on a narrow path to negotiate meaning the return to Dorking was somewhat later then intended. This did enable the group to appreciate the magical evening stillness of the area however, which combined with the fact that the train those returning to London caught (save one, who found the lure of Dorking’s Lidl too hard to resist) was one Colin Saunders decided to get due to the previous one being full of drunken ramblers meant the lateness did have some upsides! Curiously both the distance and ascent (1,936ft) were more than when the leader and Barry the backmarker had previously recced the route!

Photographs by Ian Watson and Gavin Fuller