Thursday, April 18, 2019
Grove Park to Crystal Palace
I walked another segment of the Capital Ring yesterday, the 8.5 miles from Grove Park to Crystal Palace, in South London. The route was mostly suburban, passing through neighborhoods studded with brightly blooming cherry trees...
...and curious home decorations.
For a while, the route followed the Downham Woodland Walk, a forested path that wound between back garden fences for about a mile "and covers one of the remaining parts of the Great North Wood," according to my map. The woodland was full of blooming bluebells and cow parsley, and I came across these teacup-shaped seats beside the trail.
After passing through more suburbia (above), I wound up in Beckenham Place Park, where my map said to "follow the signs toward the house up some steep steps." Problem is, Beckenham Place Park is undergoing some kind of massive renovation project and there were fences and graded earth everywhere -- and no signs. And of course I couldn't get the map to load on my iPhone because I was in a remote area with weak service. I eventually had to ask someone how to find Beckenham House Mansion, which contains a cafe, a curious little record shop and -- thankfully -- bathrooms.
And then, more suburbia, with the Crystal Palace radio tower in the distance.
In the neighborhood of Penge (I've been saying "Pengy" but I think it's actually pronounced "Penj") the route led to a train station footbridge that I found unexpectedly closed. So I had to take a little detour past this curious shop. I don't know if you can tell, but there's a footstool, a guitar and a mannequin dressed as a king or knight in that window. And no car parts, as far as I could tell.
The detour led me into part of Penge that I would have otherwise missed, and I was glad, because I found lots of interesting street art. Then I gradually wound my way to Crystal Palace Park, famous for its Victorian dinosaur sculptures from the 1850s.
In fact, there's a mural on the park information center featuring the dinosaurs.
Longtime blog readers may remember (probably not) that I visited them way back in 2012. They're not very scientifically accurate -- they were created not long after dinosaur fossils were first discovered, and people hadn't quite worked out what the creatures looked like.
The statues are on an island in the middle of a fenced pond. I'm not sure why those people were standing out in the middle of the display. I'm pretty sure they weren't supposed to be there.
Anyway, the walk ended here, at the train station next to the park. I zipped back home in mid-afternoon in time to get cleaned up and take Dave out to dinner for the tenth anniversary of our first date! Yes, in April 2009 we started going out. It's hard to believe now -- it seems much longer ago than that (and I mean that in a good way). We went to The Ledbury in Notting Hill, and I hadn't eaten lunch on my walk, so I was hungry. Our meal was amazing!