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Words and Photography by

Harry Hawkins


The London Loop - Leg 11

Bexley Station to Petts Wood Station

Walking through Woods of Scadbury Park Nature Reserve

October 2007

The London Loop Leg 11

Bexley Station to Petts Wood Station

Saturday, 27th October, 2007

The London Loop is a 140 mile walk around London and roughly just inside the M25 (although you do not see it) passing through as many green places as possible such as parks, woods, commons, riverside protected areas and open farmland.

The West Essex Ramblers covered this in about 10 mile stretches over the period 2006 to 2008.

We followed the path using "The London Loop" by David Sharp, ISBN1854107593, £13 rrp.

Click photos below for larger image

Click below for largest image as specified

Some commentary on the photos,

which is also a reflection on the walk

[Road information is just to help identify where we were].

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Early arrivals at Bexley Station had coffee, in a cafe, in Bexley High Street opposite the Styleman's Arms Houses (built 1755) - see picture 1.

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We walked down Tanyard Lane from Bexley High Street. For today's itinerary (Image 1) we stopped next to Bexley Cricket Club (Image 2) . Soon we crossed a pleasant reclaimed landfill area (Image 4). The path continued between two fields where we passed this red brick building bordering the railway (image 3).

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We came close to houses at Albany Park, but turned left almost immediately then headed down towards the river Cray. This tree (Image 1) was by a footbridge over the Cray. The path turned right, beside Goldsmith College Sports Ground, then we continued close to the river (Images 2, 3 & 4).

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We had a coffee break. The Five Arch Bridge (Images 1-3) in Foots Clay Meadows was built circa 1780 and was part of Foots Clay Place. The "Lake", which is by the weir under the bridge, has been formed by damming the river Cray.  

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The information board for Foots Clay Meadows is beside the Five Arch Bridge. Notice how cleverly it shows both sides of the bridge through its two pictures.

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From the far end of the lake we walked through Foots Cray Meadows - looking left, I took Image 1. In a wooded area, we crossed a bridge over the river Cray (Images 3 & 4) until finally, just before Rectory Lane, we reached the view shown in Image 2.

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Rectory Lane had lots of traffic. All Saints church was just to our right (Image 1). We did a bit of road walking through Foots Cray. This field was very autumnal (Images 3 & 4).  Finally we walked to Sidcup Place (Image 2) where we stopped for lunch (no real ale!).

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We crossed the A20 heading SE. This path (Image 1) was probably in Little Wood, Scadbury Park Nature Reserve. We turned left (Image 2) onto a nice tree lined path (Image 3). The information board (Image 4) was about Scadbury Moat Manor House.

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We left the Loop to visit the ruins of Scadbury Moated Manor House. Read the information board in section 8 for details.

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We left Scadbury Manor along this path.

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We continued through the woods towards the Larches.

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In the wood there were pleasant views including this autumnal tree (Image 1) and a vast oak (Images 3 & 4) - the ramblers are shown trying to measure its girth. We crossed the A208 either just before or just after Image 2.

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Airy woodland near St Paul's Cray Common.

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A couple of minutes before reaching the next information board we stopped for a coffee break. A rambler from Croydon, who had joined us for the day, enjoyed a good seat.

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An information board covering Petts Wood and Hawkwood Estate; Chislehurst and St Paul's Cray Commons, showed where we were. To the right of the "You are Here" arrow, the location of the William Willett memorial can be seen.

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We retraced our steps to the spot where the William Willett memorial and a fine yellow leafed tree are located (two images) . The memorial has a sundial on one side, which has been set to show "Daylight Saving Time (DST)" - now known as British Summer Time. The sundial is there because William Willett campaigned hard for DST and its economic benefits.

Click for information about William Willett

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Another memorial, this one is dedicated to Francis Edlmann who saved Petts Wood in 1927 and to Robert & Francesca Hall who gave it to the National Trust in 1957.

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At the edge of Petts Wood, we curved to our right following the railway  (Image 1). On the right were several fields, the first is shown in Image 2. After a short distance we turned left, crossed a stream (Image 3) then walked on until we reached a railway bridge. I think I took this photograph of a field (Image 4), the third we reached, from the bridge.

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A train spotters paradise, TQ 441 684 ! We came to three, adjacent, railway bridges - all of the lines cross or join at a point slightly north of here. We crossed them in the following order: Image 3 (looking north); Image 2 (looking south) then Image 1 (looking north again). The latter includes the Petts Wood to London line.

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Our last countryside view between the three bridges and Petts Wood Station. We took the path seen to the right of the parallel track.