On the 21st of June I finally got muddy in Deptford Creek with the Creekside Education Trust. The trust regularly runs walks for the general public, and for schools in the local area.
Each walk is organised for low tide as at high tide you would be swimming! You are armed with waders and a trusty stick to keep you upright, and after a briefing in the beautiful surrounds of the flower garden, you are then led down to the creek.
It is a bit smelly, but the pure joy of tramping about in mud soon wafts the aroma of the creek away.
The trust’s base of operations is situated next to the London Bridge to Greenwich Railway Viaduct between Greenwich and Deptford, and the access path to the creek leads you to exact spot where the railway line crosses Deptford Creek.
The bridge itself was modified in 1954 to include a lifting mechanism that allowed boats with tall masts to pass up the creek. The mechanism is now defunct but luckily for us it is safe from removal, and can still be viewed at close proximity from the Ha’Penny Hatch footbridge.
We headed upstream away from the mouth of the Thames, towards the first DLR bridge over the creek. This bit of the DLR crosses the creek three times between Deptford Bridge and Greenwich.
A dead crab shell found by our guide, a brief discussion on the creek’s biodiversity followed, plus a bad joke from me…
Guide: How do you check if a crab is male or female?
Me: Check if it has a willy
Cue many laughs and childish giggles. 😀
Just after the dead crab, we reached the weir at the top of the creek, the weir pushes the water underground as it crosses the A2. Once it resurfaces on the other side it is known as River Ravensbourne, and at Lewisham it joins with another tributary – the River Quaggy.
We then made our way back to the start of the walk to catch some river creatures. You grind the river dirt under your feet to move it about, then see what appears in your net.
View towards the trust’s wild flower garden.
We also walked under the rail bridge and headed towards Trinity Laban‘s dance centre.
View south towards Deptford and Lewisham.
Thank you for an excellent Sunday in the bright sunshine!
Formed in 1999, the trust’s mission is to “work with the local and wider community to sustain and promote the regeneration of Deptford Creek through education, conservation and the forging of partnerships. The trust also aims to act as a voice for nature conservation and biodiversity in the area.”
The centre itself mainly runs on a volunteer basis and more help is always welcomed, if you would like to get involved with this wonderful organisation please click here.
A few years ago my aunt Jeanette introduced me to Andrew Duncan’s Walking London, a guide book with thirty walks in the Greater London area. Originally published in 1991, the guide has been re-printed numerous times and the latest edition was released in 2010.
My 1997 edition was acquired from a pub in Limehouse after it was left there for a few weeks.
Each walk has a summary with length and duration specifics, a detailed map of the area to follow, a clear step by step description of the walk itself – including reference points and historical notes, and perhaps most importantly – information about the pubs en route!
To my shame, I’ve only done six of the walks, but I have plenty of time to complete the book before I fall apart in 40 years or so. So far I’ve completed the six listed below, and further down are some highlights from the two walks I have photos of.
• Bankside and Southwark
• Regent’s Park
• Wapping to Limehouse
It was a freezing cold day in January 2009, and my poor newly acquired boyfriend was forced from his warm bed into the centre of London by heartless me.
This was one of the first things we did together as a couple and it was a fabulous walk, we even extended it to Greenwich with a short trip on the DLR to Island Gardens, before going through Greenwich foot tunnel, and then back on the DLR to my place in Lewisham.
The photos only show a small amount of what there is to see on this walk, I would really recommend it, such an amazing walk through so much history and architecture. It is also an area most tourists would never visit, so you will be in for a real treat if you have a nosy about. Plus, tons of pubs!
The walk starts at Tower Hill tube and the first point of interest is St Katherine’s Dock – where “we” looked for fish
Peace dove sculpture by Wendy Taylor, marking the lives lost in Wapping during the Blitz, Hermitage Wharf Riverside Memorial Garden
Up, close and personal with the river at one of the access points along Wapping High Street
Oodles of converted warehouse apartments around here, these ones are by Wapping Wall
Head down the Thames Path passageways on Narrow Street and you find wondrous views
After the end of the walk at Westferry, now in the Greenwich foot tunnel
The foot tunnel dome at night on the Greenwich side
Last June, prior to an evening concert at All Saints Church, we finally did the Dulwich walk. One always puts off anything in London that requires you to travel across, instead of in or out, but we made it to West Dulwich station on a gloriously sunny day that screamed for a walk and a pub stop.
Dulwich is a curious spot in the middle of south London, it is a world of its own created by Elizabethan actor and charitable benefactor Edward Alleyn. Alleyn began acquiring land in Dulwich in 1605 and by 1619 was well underway with the building of the College of God’s Gift, now known as Dulwich College.
Alleyn’s goal was to educate orphaned boys and to provide almshouses for the poor, and due to the setting of his lands in mortmain, the charitable estate still exists today and has continued to give Dulwich its unique flavour for roughly 400 years.
First stop on the walk is the New College buildings of Dulwich College (1866–70), designed by Charles Barry Jr., “a building of red brick and white stone, designed in a hybrid of Palladian and Gothic styles”.
You don’t have to pay a toll now, but watch the width restriction!
Heading south on College Road towards Sydenham Hill station
Back in January us Londoners had a bit of proper snow and it was lovely. Also that month, stories appeared on the Interwebs declaring that the Thames Path by the Lovell’s development was to be opened after being shut for years (that is how it felt at least).
These two exciting events coincided with a visit from my aunt and uncle the weekend after the snow, so what better thing to do in freezing January than go for a walk to the O2! 🙂
It was also another opportunity to crack out the new shiny camera so here are some photos…
I spotted these wooly bollard hats two days earlier and found out they were the work of the Guerilla Knitters, Greenwich branch. Part of this walk turned into ‘spot the knitting’ which was quite enjoyable.
After the first knitting spots we came to Enderby’s Wharf which is supposed to be turning into a cruise liner terminal
Yes, I do cruelly force family members to pose for embarrassing photos
The east side of the Isle of Dogs is in the background