Monday, January 17, 2022

Thames Barrier to Mottingham


Yesterday I walked not one but two sections of the Green Chain, hopefully making up for some of my recent physical lassitude. My starting point was once again at the Thames, this time near the giant flood-prevention gates known as the Thames Barrier. The Thames is a tidal river, so when there's going to be a dangerous surge of water coming in from the English Channel, these gates can close and block it. Apparently it's been used 201 times since its installation in the early 1980s. Here's a page that describes how it works.

From the Thames Barrier I headed inland, toward Charlton.


Nearby I passed this ruined pub. Many old pub buildings are potentially valuable because of their beauty, history and locations, but I think this one -- which looks entirely gutted and open to the elements -- may be sadly beyond repair.


I walked through Maryon Park, and climbed up to an overlook where I could see the Thames Barrier from a distance. This is part of an area known as Gilbert's Pit, of both historic and geological interest.

It was kind of a misty morning, as you can tell.


I walked through Charlton Park again, and darned if those tree surgeons didn't cut down that tree I saw a few weeks ago! (The trunk is still there, but I'm sure that's temporary.) I hope there was a reason other than simply opening up the view of Charlton House.


I walked across Woolwich Common and eventually wound up in Castle Woods next to Severndroog Castle, which you may remember I visited a few years ago when I did the Capitol Ring walk, which follows some of the same paths as the Green Chain. It's not a true castle but an architectural monument to a naval commander who demolished a similarly named fortress in India in the 1750s.

From there the path wound down through some formal gardens to Oxleas Woods, where I've been several times on this walk. Because it's not linear, the Green Chain feels a little bit like "Groundhog Day" -- walkers find themselves again and again at the same locations. I think I am now finally finished with Bostall Woods, Oxleas Woods and the Thames.

I walked through an area known as Conduit Meadows, named for the Tudor-era conduit that brought water from the Thames to nearby Eltham Palace. (The name was confusing because the path was always wooded and crossed no obvious meadow.) Along the way I found...


...this note from 9-year-old Isobel to the Tooth Fairy. I love how she starts it with "Long time no see," but I'm a little concerned about what she might mean by question 6: "Are you normal fairies?"

I made my way past the gates of Eltham Palace. I thought I might stop there for lunch, but I was told that in order to visit the cafe I had to buy a ticket for the palace, which cost £15.70! I've already seen the palace, and I wasn't going to spend that much just for the privilege of spending more money on lunch. So I kept walking.


The path wound past horse stables and pastures with views over London, although as I said the day was misty so I couldn't see the skyline very clearly. It eventually took me to the community of Mottingham, where I caught the train back to the city. Altogether I walked about eight miles.

52 comments:

Andrew said...

A fine walking effort. There was a rather bad film made many years ago about sabotaging the The Thames Barrier. It may have been bad, but I found it interesting. I like the look of the Severndroog Castle.

Frances said...

It does look as though 2 young trees have been planted to the left of the " hacked" one, so perhaps it was becoming dangerous in some way, and they will re-plant another one in its place?

Moving with Mitchell said...

Do you suppose Isobel still believes or is she just having fun? I knew the tooth fairy wasn’t real when I was 5. MY tooth fairy left a nickel under my pillow and placed the tooth in my father’s jewelry box. My sister’s tooth fairy placed her tooth in my mother’s jewelry box. THAT made me suspicious and I quickly sussed it out. They were just trying to ensure I didn’t grow up to be a normal fairy.

e said...

I think that kid is having a laugh. Love the horses. Too bad you weren't carrying any apples or carrots.

Bob said...

I love the old buildings and wish they'd all be saved ... I'd rebuild the pub and live upstairs and, I guess I'd have to, I'd 'Find Tina.'

But then maybe I'd find a way to live in Severndroog Castle!

Sharon said...

What a great walk! I love that Severndroog Castle and that note to the tooth fairy is very cute. Those horses look like they would like a you to stop for a chat.

Boud said...

After all those sights I was surprised to see it was only eight miles. Enough sights for about twenty, I'd have thought. Interesting post, thank you.

Ellen D. said...

It is great when you can combine exercising with interesting! It must take a long time to complete these circuits as there is so much to look at and photograph!
I think the tooth fairy letter was a school assignment and Isobel did a great job! A+

Ms. Moon said...

So they built a monument to a guy who demolished a fortress?
Humans are weird. We invent tooth fairies. I think that child has a future in writing. Her questions are whimsical and thought-provoking. I, too, wonder if tooth fairies live in regular fairy land or if they have a special tooth land? They could use all the teeth to build things with. Pave the roads. Etc.
What a great walk!

robin andrea said...

Eight miles is a really nice long walk. Roger and I are happy when we get in two miles these days. Well done!
I love that letter to the tooth fairy.

Ed said...

I live in an old river town that has/had lots of historic structures. For the most part, they all seem to follow the same cycle. People lament the lack of repair to them, then when the building is vacated and put up for sale, nobody is interested in buying it so eventually it gets demolished to howls of protest from the public. I realize it isn't feasible to save them all so when one does get saved and fixed up into great shape again, I like to savor the small victory.

Question 6 had me laughing!

My life so far said...

Looks like both an interesting and lovely walk.

Red said...

there's nothing like walking to something to see it.

Wilma said...

TheThames Barrier components have a rakish attitude similar to the Sidney Opera House.
Don't think I ever believed in the Tooth Fairy, but I hung onto Santa Claus for a long time!

The Padre said...

Good On You - Keep On Keeping On Brother Man

Cheers

gz said...

That was a good walk..enough to feel really satisfied but not so much that you really flatten yourself!!
That old pub is probably at the point where it could be saved with a lot of work..,but....

The Bug said...

I watched the video about how the barrier works - fascinating! I need to go back & see if there's video of it actually in action.

You walked 8 miles, and I am contemplating stepping foot outside my house for the first time in 2 days. I'm going to pretend to help shovel the driveway (I'm pretty useless at it).

Edna B said...

Tis sad to see that building (second photo) in such bad shape. Also, the horse stables look like they could use some TLC. You had quite an interesting walk. Enjoy your day, hugs, Edna B.

Linda Sue said...

I went with Sarah on that walk sort of, we were in her car...I remember the pub very well, wanted to go in and scavenge.You are a champion walker. LOVE the horses.

Margaret said...

Wonderful sights along your walk and found treasure with the note! I love those glimpses into how children think. Fascinating. I would think that the cafe would want as much business as possible.

Kelly said...

What does the B.A.O. after Isobel's name stand for? A religious order? An advanced degree? It's certainly an interesting set of questions.

Jeanie said...

Love that tooth fairy letter! It look like a great walk. I'm guessing you've probably read a lot of Fowler's Bryant and May books. Have you ever read "The Victoria Vanishes"? I thought of that when I saw the pub -- I so hate to see a building like that fall into disrepair.

John Going Gently said...

How many miles do you ACTUALLY walk in a week

Bindu said...

I love Isobel's letter and her curious questions. Is there a "boy fairy", me too wonder...

Elizabeth said...

I love reading about your ramblings and wonder how many steps or how far you walk each time? I have no sense of the distance that you travel in these wanderings!

Steve Reed said...

I need to look up that film! I can't believe I haven't seen it!

Steve Reed said...

Oh, good point -- I didn't even notice those small ones. So there probably is something wrong with the big tree.

Steve Reed said...

I know -- nine seems a little old to be believing in the tooth fairy, doesn't it? Maybe she's just trying to amuse her parents.

Steve Reed said...

It could be -- but she seems so sincere! I don't feed horses I pass on my walks. Some horse owners are very particular about that and take great offense. (A lot of times there are signs up not to feed them.)

Steve Reed said...

Yeah, I don't know what that #FindTina thing is all about. Guess I should look it up. I imagine living in Severndroog Castle would be like living on a Stairmaster!

Steve Reed said...

They were very inquisitive horses! (Probably waiting for a snack, as E said above.)

Steve Reed said...

These walks are always interesting. I guess in an urban area you just get lots of sights packed into relatively short distances.

Steve Reed said...

Well, I hope she lost it AFTER the teacher graded it!

Steve Reed said...

LOL -- humans ARE weird. A truer statement was never spoken.

Steve Reed said...

Two miles is a good walk too! Be happy with that!

Steve Reed said...

That's the thing -- it's a shame to see historic structures demolished (or passively collapsing), but if no one's willing to buy and restore them, what else is there?

Steve Reed said...

It was! I only wish the weather had been better, but I can't have everything, I suppose.

Steve Reed said...

You really notice things while on foot!

Steve Reed said...

The barrier IS architecturally interesting. Thank goodness for designers who go beyond mere function.

Steve Reed said...

That's the goal!

Steve Reed said...

The pub is also on a very busy road, and that probably limits its re-use. (No one would want to turn it into flats, for example.)

Steve Reed said...

Apparently they test the barrier once a month. It would be interesting to go and watch the test. I've never seen it when it's activated.

Steve Reed said...

The horses don't seem to mind! (Then again, it's hard to tell.)

Steve Reed said...

I considered going in too! But it looked potentially dangerous and I didn't want to get rolled by the police.

Steve Reed said...

I know! I think they need to devise a system to allow public access to the cafe. There are no other restaurants in the immediate vicinity so I think they'd get some good business.

Steve Reed said...

I don't know! I'm assuming it's her middle and last names, maybe? Maybe her middle name is Beth Ann or something similarly double-barreled. LOL

Steve Reed said...

I have never read those books! I'll have to check them out. Now that I'm done with the Newberys maybe I'll have time!

Steve Reed said...

My walks to and from work are 1.6 to 1.9 miles each way (depending on which route I take) but I don't always walk both ways. And then whatever I walk on the weekend. It varies! (I don't have a Bluebell to squire me around. :) )

Steve Reed said...

It was a funny letter! I must say I never thought of the tooth fairy in terms of gender!

Steve Reed said...

My phone keeps track of steps but I never really look at it. I should do a comparison one of these days!

Sabine said...

You know by now how I enjoy these reports.
You are getting to know London in ways most people living there would not.

Jeanie said...

They're fun mysteries. Bryant and May are two aging detectives who work in the Peculiar Crimes area and they are as quirky as you might hope they would be -- as are their staff. Fowler packs a lot of history into his books. The Victoria Vanishes has a good deal about pubs. It's the 10th in the series which, like all series, are best read consecutively but apart from some of the more "personal" things about the character relationships which evolve, the mysteries themselves are self-contained. They always seem to send me on internet searches after I finish one!