diamond geezer

 Monday, August 20, 2007

compass pointsCompass points
(an occasional feature where I visit London's geographical extremities)
SOUTH London - Chaldon


South LondonWhen you think of South London you probably don't think of rolling cornfields and verdant hedgerows. But that's exactly what the southernmost tip of London is like, 15 miles due south of Charing Cross, down on the border between Croydon and Surrey. See the tree marked in my photograph with a green circle? That's as far south as Ken Livingstone's influence extends. It's the spot in London closest to the equator, where the sun rises highest in the sky during the summer, and where daylight is longest in midwinter. Of all the locations south of the river, it's the ultimate place that black cab drivers will never take you. [map]

The border between London and not-London sweeps in across this cornfield via woodland on the outskirts of Caterham. Then it turns right, at the aforementioned tree, and follows a leafy country lane north towards Farthing Downs. Ditches Lane is a picturesque rat-run, much loved by motorists "out for a drive", but it's only a single track road with passing places and therefore a potential accident blackspot. Locate the passing place closest to the border, and the tarmac alongside reveals clear evidence of the precise spot where south London terminates. Council operatives from the London borough of Croydon have painted a white line down each side of the lane, whereas their Surrey counterparts have not. Where the fading line disappears, that's outer London. photos

I arrived on foot, down the hillside from the country park at Happy Valley. The footpath descended across an idyllic hayfield, between newly-mown stalks of harvested corn. The field was flanked on either side by thick green woodland, within which the occasional gunshot could be heard as some local landowner revelled in murderous sport. The sky was abuzz, not just with disturbed birdlife but also with helicopters, gliders and the occasional biplane. To the west, beyond the shrouded lane, another golden field rose up to a low tree-topped ridge photos. And a few steps ahead, invisible except to cartographers, the dashed line marking the fringe of Surrey.

Chaldon village signFurther ahead, at the foot of the freshcut slope, lay the northern edge of the village of Chaldon. A few nondescript cottages could be seen, but the village's pride and joy - the historic parish church of St Peter and St Paul photos - was shielded behind a screen of trees. I'd been hoping to look inside to view the church's 12th century mural, reputedly the earliest known English wall painting , but alas I was thwarted by a badly-timed wedding. Damn you, oh happy couple and your be-hatted congregation. Instead I was forced to turn round and head back up the lane, and back into the cornfield, and back across the border into the capital. Maybe I'll get inside the church next time... assuming there is a next time. I can't ever imagine returning to this remote corner of South London by accident.

See also
NORTH London: On the clockwise hard shoulder of the M25 between junctions 24 and 25, just north of Crews Hill station [map] (I visited in 2004)
WEST London: At the exit for Poyle on the roundabout above junction 14 of the M25, close to Heathrow Terminal 5 [map]
EAST London: Just off Fen Lane between North Ockendon and Bulphan, east of Mar Dyke but west of the Dunnings Lane crossroads [map]
» see all four geographical extremities on a Google map


<< click for Newer posts

click for Older Posts >>


click to return to the main page


...or read more in my monthly archives
Jan17  Feb17  Mar17  Apr17  May17  Jun17
Jan16  Feb16  Mar16  Apr16  May16  Jun16  Jul16  Aug16  Sep16  Oct16  Nov16  Dec16
Jan15  Feb15  Mar15  Apr15  May15  Jun15  Jul15  Aug15  Sep15  Oct15  Nov15  Dec15
Jan14  Feb14  Mar14  Apr14  May14  Jun14  Jul14  Aug14  Sep14  Oct14  Nov14  Dec14
Jan13  Feb13  Mar13  Apr13  May13  Jun13  Jul13  Aug13  Sep13  Oct13  Nov13  Dec13
Jan12  Feb12  Mar12  Apr12  May12  Jun12  Jul12  Aug12  Sep12  Oct12  Nov12  Dec12
Jan11  Feb11  Mar11  Apr11  May11  Jun11  Jul11  Aug11  Sep11  Oct11  Nov11  Dec11
Jan10  Feb10  Mar10  Apr10  May10  Jun10  Jul10  Aug10  Sep10  Oct10  Nov10  Dec10 
Jan09  Feb09  Mar09  Apr09  May09  Jun09  Jul09  Aug09  Sep09  Oct09  Nov09  Dec09
Jan08  Feb08  Mar08  Apr08  May08  Jun08  Jul08  Aug08  Sep08  Oct08  Nov08  Dec08
Jan07  Feb07  Mar07  Apr07  May07  Jun07  Jul07  Aug07  Sep07  Oct07  Nov07  Dec07
Jan06  Feb06  Mar06  Apr06  May06  Jun06  Jul06  Aug06  Sep06  Oct06  Nov06  Dec06
Jan05  Feb05  Mar05  Apr05  May05  Jun05  Jul05  Aug05  Sep05  Oct05  Nov05  Dec05
Jan04  Feb04  Mar04  Apr04  May04  Jun04  Jul04  Aug04  Sep04  Oct04  Nov04  Dec04
Jan03  Feb03  Mar03  Apr03  May03  Jun03  Jul03  Aug03  Sep03  Oct03  Nov03  Dec03
 Jan02  Feb02  Mar02  Apr02  May02  Jun02  Jul02 Aug02  Sep02  Oct02  Nov02  Dec02 

eXTReMe Tracker
jack of diamonds
Life viewed from London E3

» email me
» follow me on twitter
» follow the blog on Twitter
» follow the blog on RSS

my flickr photostream