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Words and Photography by

Harry Hawkins

Hayes Station to Hamsey Green

St John the Baptist Church - West Wickham

March 2008

The London Loop Leg 13

Hayes Station to Hamsey Green

Sunday, 9th March, 2008

  

[Note: the West Essex Ramblers' did the walk on Saturday, 26th January 2008 when my wife and I were in India]

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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We left Hayes Station then walked about ½ mile to join the Loop. It was urban to begin with until we entered Coney Hall Recreation Ground (Image 1). We passed a millennium stone * (Image 2) then exited on the other side (Image 3). The distant church was our next goal.

* The engraving was very faint, but read: GREENWICH MERIDIAN LINE, 0 LONGITUDE, THE LONDON BOROUGH OF BROMLEY.

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St John Rigby College (Image 1) was to our left. Next came St John the Baptist church (Image 2). We walked around the church to find we were on top of a hill: we walked down a little then looked up (Image 3). Below us was the valley, where the A2022 runs, urban West Wickham was on the other slope (Image 4). The latter image shows Sparrows Den Playing Fields where we crossed the rugby fields diagonally until we reached the trees - top left.

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This information board, just off our path, shows the Loop (not marked as such) in the centre of the dark green area (trees) leading from top right to lower left.

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The right hand image (Image 4) is of Spring Park. At its edge, still in the woods, are boundary stones of Croydon and Bromley (Images 2 & 3). The path continued through Threehalfpenny Wood (Image 1).

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We entered a mixed area of glades and trees (Image 1). Beyond the distant chap, there was a gorse bush (Image 2). Images 3 & 4 were typical scenes.

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After a bit of road walking and skirting a school playing field, we were in Upper Shirley. This was a good lunch stop with a choice of two pubs. This Tower Mill  is in Postmill Close (the road being named after the original Post Mill which was fire damaged).

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We climbed Addington Hill for a spectacular view over London.

There was: Wembly Stadium; the Gherkin; Canary Wharf; the Crystal Palace Transmitter - in Crystal Palace Park and Croydon Transmitter - on Upper Norwood Hill. Because it was spitting, the view was a bit blurry. Binoculars are recommended.

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Soon we were at Coombe Lane Tram Station where we used the pedestrian crossing to cross the lines.

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We crossed the A212 then went into Heathfield Gardens. Image 1 - near the entrance. Image 2 - as we walked towards the house. Image 3 - Heathfield House near which was an idyllic pond and garden (Image 4).

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These steps led up and away from the pond.

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The pond again.

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Rhododendrons as we left Heathfield.

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We proceeded to Bramley Bank via Riesco Drive, walking straight down the main path to the red 'You are here' spot, where this photo was taken. We continued through a gap between the roads then on towards Littleheath Woods.

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These fungi were by the Bramley Bank path.

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Square field, in the centre of the Bramley Bank woods.

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Leaving Bramley Bank we entered this glade (Image 1) - you can see the rain drops! Where the path veered right, we crossed the grass to enter Heathfield woods. Turning left, we followed a tree lined path along the Vanguard Way (Image 2 ). We walked through a narrow wood (Images 3 & 4), between housing estates, until we reached the A2022 again, downhill from the Selsdon shopping area.

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We crossed the road, into a housing estate, then found ourselves on an old bridleway (section 18, Image 1). Next came the Selsdon Wood Nature Reserve and this information board.

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For Image 1 read above. Image 2 was, I think, in Selsdon Wood while the line of trees (Image 3) was in or close to Paplet Wood. A local sculptor had carved this fallen tree (Image 4), which I found interesting.

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After Elm Farm, there was some heavy rain, but it eased as we descended to where these bedraggle horses stood (Image 1). Then, to our right and across the field, on the horizon was Selsdon Park Hotel (Image 2). Image 3 is a view of our path as it curved round between wood and field and then a view of Kingswood Lodge.

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Finally there was a rainbow. A reflection on a day which had sun, clouds and occasional rain.