Another weekend, and another section of the LOOP. This time Morag and I left home a bit earlier as we knew this was one of the longer sections of the LOOP at 9 miles.
We took the train to Hayes (Kent) and followed a slightly different route to the start of the section. At the end of last one we really could do without the two fairly steep hills. After getting to the start, we soon found ourselves on the Greenwich Meridian, even though the GPS indicated crossing the line about 200 meters earlier. Passing St. John's church the LOOP wanted to takes us right through a "lake", previously the Sparrows Den Playing Fields, but currently flooded due to high levels of ground water. Some jokers had also put a bunch of yellow rubber ducks on the "lake".
We found our way around the field and continued towards our first wooded section, afraid of more mud. Instead, we were greated by a collapsed tree on the path. Some mud did show up, but not nearly as much as on previous sections. We came out of the woods and had to follow a decent stretch along a road, then past a "high school" and its playing fields until we came past a promising looking pub, The Sandrock. Although it was open, it was so quiet in there that we continued by climbing up the Addington Hills to treat us to a fine panorama over London. Wembley Stadium, the City and Canary Wharf were all very easy to spot.
After a quick break and avoiding having Chinese food we came onto Tramlink station Coombe Lane after which we disappear in more woods. This time around Heathfield House and Bramley Bank. From there we continued onwards towards more woods (can you believe it!) and around a water tower.
By now, we were definitely hungry (and thirsty) so we decided to make a slight detour into Selsdon to have a bite and pint at The Sir Julian Huxley, a Weatherspoons.
After lunch we continued our walk by going through more woods: Selsdon Wood and Puplet Wood. For the first time, we went just outside of Greater London into Surrey. After encountering Elm Farm in Farleigh we fled back into London past some fields to make it to Hamsey Green, the end of the walk. If the previous sections could be called "muddy", this section clearly had a preference for "woods". A bus, train and two tubes later we got home, exhausted.
The weather was mostly good, but colder at 10-12°C and some rain threatened to wet us near the start. We took just over four and a half hours for the 21.1km walk (including detours).
The photos that I took on this section, as well as the photos of the other sections of the LOOP, are available as a Flickr set.