Walking the Capital Ring - Section 15

Section 15

In this last section, we walked around London City airport. Well, sorta. Starting off at Beckton Park, and its Jake Russell Walk we started the last section of the Capital Ring. After Beckton Park, we walked through new Beckton Park as well, before coming to Cyprus DLR station.

The Capital Ring as mapped on OpenStreetMap, diverged from the route on the TFL site, and the signage on the ground. Instead of following the Royal Albert Way, it no goes through the University of East London and along the Royal Albert Dock for a while. I can imagine this being a little nicer than a dual carriage way.

At the end of the path along the dock, we had a little stint through an industrial estate, with a radar mast in sight at the end. The radar mast was straight on the Thames, and that point ended up being the furthest East on the Capital Ring: Galleons Point. The tide on the Thames was low, exposing loads of shopping trolleys and other rubbish.

From there, we crossed two sets of locks. A small one, and the much larger King George the 5th lock. Galleons Point is another new development. Now along the Thames, we passed by the Royal Victoria Gardens and ended up at North Woolwich.

The old station at North Woolwich at one time housed a museum, but that is now closed. Close behind it are Crossrail works, where a tunnel under the Thames for the new railway starts.

At this point, we could have taken the ferry across to Woolwich, and the end of the Capital Ring. Instead, we decided to walk through the Woolwich Foot Tunnel. This and the Greenwich Foot Tunnel are the only two pedestrian only tunnels under the Thames, built in the early 1900s. Apparently, photography is forbidden, but I only found that out while writing up this blog post!

At the other end of the tunnel, we walked the last 50 meters to the end of the section, and with that, the Capital Ring!

Route (with GPX)

Waymarked Trails

Time

1h 12m 14s

Distance

5.88 km

Average Heart Rate

105 bpm

Calories Burned

659 cal

For the full photo series, see my Flickr set.

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Walking the Capital Ring - Section 14

Section 14

Upon setting off on the penultimate section, we quickly looped around the Olympic Station, now the London Station, home of West Ham. There is a lot of new landscaping, that's not quite finished yet around here. We left the Lee soon enough, and walked towards Stratford High Street. There Crossrail work near Pudding Mill Lane station, where the Ring was diverted along an industrial estate. This was badly signposted. I've updated OpenStreetMap with the current route, but it will have to be redone once the works are over. Once they are, it should be easy enough to navigate from Victoria Walk to the Greenway.

In our case, we had to spend a little bit of time to fine the Greenway, but once we got there it was a very easy route. In fact, for 80% of this section, you walk in a straight line over the Greenway.

Near the start of the Greenway, the walk goes past the Abbey Mills Pumping Station, which has been pumping sewage around since the 1860s. As a matter of fact, the Greenway that we were walking on, is actually a long footpath and cycleway on top of the Northern Outfall Sewer. This then also explained the nice fragrances along this stretch of the route...

It was a long and monotonous walk along the Greenway, and we were pleased once we left it and could walk the last bit of this section through Beckton District Park. When coming out of the park, we had concluded this section. One more to go!

Route (with GPX)

Waymarked Trails

Time

1h 37m 38s

Distance

8.24 km

Average Heart Rate

108 bpm

Calories Burned

836 cal

For the full photo series, see my Flickr set.

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Walking the Capital Ring - Section 13

Section 13

This section starts at Stoke Newington going along some residential streets. After coming through Springfield Park, it follows the river Lea for the rest of the walk.

When crossing the bridge over the river, you have a fine view of the Lee Valley Marina, as well as the river itself. At the point where we crossed, there were many canal boats moored.

Note: I didn't misspell Lea or Lee. There is a naming confusion (caused by parliament in the 1760s). The distinction is made between natural features (Lea) or artificial features (Lee).

With the river Lea on the right, and the Walhamstow Marshes on the left, we had a pleasant stroll along the tow path, although it was rather busy. Combined with some inconsiderate cyclists it wasn't particularly a relaxing walk. As there is space enough, it would be better if there were two separate paths - one for cyclists, and one for pedestrians.

We walked underneath the A. V. Roe Arches, named after A.V. Roe, who built his first powered air planes here to fly over the nearby marshes. There is a blue plaque to dedicate this event. It is however slightly hidden, and you need to cross patches with nettles.

After the Lee Canal split off from the River Lea, the Walthamstow Marches were replaced by the Hackney Marches on our left. Apparently they are in the Guinness Book of Records as having the largest collection of football pitches.

The walk ends at the Olympic Park, or rather now, The Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park. It is still very much under development, but at least the park is open now. The section itself stops right at the Crate Brewery. Unfortunately we only found out after having left the canal, while enjoying a pint at Tap East.

Route (with GPX)

Waymarked Trails

Time

1h 08m 52s

Distance

6.35 km

Average Heart Rate

106 bpm

Calories Burned

571 cal

For the full photo series, see my Flickr set.

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Walking the Capital Ring - Section 12

Section 12

We started at Highgate, and the first part of the walk was through Parkland Walk Local Nature Reserve. Probably for a good 2 miles. It used to be the site of an old railway line, and near Crouch End, you can still find the remains of former platforms. It is a lovely sheltered part, and where there are bridges, there is also graffiti. Some of it illegal and shit, but mostly pieces of art. When we came past, there were artists creating new pieces.

At the end of the Parkland walk, we crossed into Finsbury Park. The breeze there was very welcome, as it was another warm and humid day. I hadn't realized that it was such a large park!

Coming out of the park we followed the course of the New River: an artificial water way meant to supply London with fresh drinking water. Parts of it are lovely, but there was also a lot of rubbish floating around in it.

After crossing Seven Sisters Road, the walk looped back towards Finsbury Road and along the East and West Reservoirs. There were many new developments along this stretch, which resulted in the path (and Capital Ring) being diverted along some shiny new footpaths. There was also a shiny ball.

At the end of the path around the reservoirs, and before entering Clissold Park, we passed by a strange looking building — in the shape of a castle. This later turned out to be the Castle Climbing Centre. The park was very busy, which was no surprise as it was a lovely day.

The last part of the walk started out with a tedious stroll along Stoke Newington High Street, which I also ended up mapping in great detail. Leaving the busy High Street, we entered Abney Park. One of London's Magnificent Seven cemeteries. Unfortunately it's lovely chapel was hidden behind scaffolding.

The section ends when we got out of the park. A quick walk later we ended up at Stoke Newington station, to find our way home.

Route (with GPX)

Waymarked Trails

Time

1h 47m 16s

Distance

8.90 km

Average Heart Rate

104 bpm

Calories Burned

863 cal

For the full photo series, see my Flickr set.

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Walking the Capital Ring - Section 11

In which we finish up Section 10, and complete Section 11. With the weather still being warm, we decided to only do one section at a time, instead of two.

Section 10

After finishing up the photo mapping, we started out with today's walk to finish section 10 first. We nearly completed it last time, but we had another kilometre to do to finish at Hendon Park. The walk was basically around the back of Brent Cross, although we did not see the shopping centre at all!

Section 11

The first kilometre we walked along the residential streets of the mainly Jewish neighbourhood of Hendon. As it was the Sabbath, there were lots of people out and about, including one wearing a Shtreimel.

The route brought us alongside the river Brent, and later along Mutton Brook. We had to make a slightly annoying detour crossing the North Circular at some point as the path under the bridge was closed for refurbishment.

As a matter of fact, most of the route was alongside Mutton Brook. At Lyttleton Playing Fields, the Ring followed an odd route over a nettle infested path, around tennis pitches, while a perfectly nice path in front of it would have been the better choice. Coming off the path along the brook, the route was sign posted to go through East Finchley station, but it was closed for Weekend Engineering Work. Instead, we had to walk around the block a little to continue our walk.

Before entering Highgate Wood, we passed by a garden with large thistles which were being feasted on by bumble bees. The wood was a nice change from open paths, as the trees prevent the Sun from beating down on us too much.

The last part of the walk went through Queen's Wood, which was particularly hilly. At the end of the walk we ended up on the hill with Highgate station, from where we took a bus to find some refreshing beverages (read: beer), before continuing home.

Route (with GPX)

Waymarked Trails

Time

2h 16m 52s

Distance

11.34 km

Average Heart Rate

113 bpm

Calories Burned

1356 cal

For the full photo series, see my Flickr set.

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