diamond geezer

 Friday, November 25, 2011

  Walk London
[section 14]
  Hackney Wick to Beckton (5 miles)

After encircling most of London, I've reached my home patch. A bit of river, a burst of Olympics, then a very long walk along the top of a sewer. To Beckton which, quite frankly, is never going to be of the capital's beauty spots. The best of the Ring may be behind me, but keep the faith.

From White Post Lane, the Ring enters the heart of the Olympic Park [photo]. Down a slippery ramp to the newly rejigged towpath, watching the diggers and workmen making the final tweaks to the 2012 backroom zone. It's a busy stretch, with joggers and cyclists jostling with dogwalkers and tour groups. That pink building's a salmon-smokery-cum-art-gallery, which isn't something you see every day, and that cottage is the former Big Breakfast house. A Water Bus stop has sprung up beneath Old Ford Lock, although as yet there's no sign of Water Chariots' scheduled pleasure cruises "starting in mid summer 2011". And then first sight of something the Ring'll be following for miles - the Northern Outfall Sewer. Here's a rare chance to view it from underneath - four hooped metal tubes of human slurry, reflecting the dappled dancing waters of the Lea.

Up on the Greenway, the Olympic Stadium looms large [photo]. It still amazes me how close this public footpath comes to high security areas, even if the razorwire fences and ubiquitous cameras never let you forget who's boss. To the left, the Orbit's twisty-red coils now support a split-level viewing platform [photo], while to the right the athletes' practice circuit is nearing completion. "Look at that mess," says an old man gesturing toward the extensive construction works, "all that for just two weeks." He's not technically correct, but it is a remarkable amount of effort to give a few thousand runners a brief somewhere to jog. If you fancy a cup of coffee the View Tube is your last chance - my auntie heartily recommends them, you'll be pleased to hear.

Beyond the railway the Ring is on diversion. You won't get anywhere near this bit of the Greenway until Crossrail's finished digging stuff, which'll be "late 2014", apart from a brief spell in summer next year when Games entry trumps trains. Today's ramblers must instead pass the southern entrance to the Olympic Park, and the layby where provincial coach drivers disgorge their eager cargo, and a forlorn-looking VIP-facing shrubbery, all the way down to Stratford High Street. This is as close as the Ring gets to my house - give me a wave as you go by.

There's a lot of Greenway ahead. The first straight's been tarmacked by contractors in readiness for thousands of Games spectators being frogmarched from West Ham station, and quite frankly it's a bit ugly. I remember going to a planning consultation which claimed that the Greenway here would be beautifully transformed, all wild flowers and intricate paving [photo], but I can only assume that almost all of the money ran out. Even Abbey Mills pumping station, which ought to be a visual highlight, now lurks behind an obstructive metal security fence. Only past the new Olympic exit ramp do things improve, by which I mean the Greenway reverts to the familiarly mundane one-third path, two-thirds grass. The view opens up too, walking now at rooftop level [photo], with the City's skyscraper cluster bursting from the western horizon beyond the rugby ground.

Traversing the top of the sewer allows the Ring to carve straight through Plaistow without ever pausing to peer down its terraced backstreets. Some of its residents pop up to the Greenway to walk their 'playful' Staffies, others nip from intersecting road to intersecting road carrying carrier bags of inexpensive groceries. Newham General Hospital goes on and on and on, not exactly the architectural highlight of any capital circumnavigation. And all the time there's a nagging sickly whiff, reminding you that you're walking atop four tubes of effluent that have sourced in bathrooms across a wide swathe of central London. I'm not selling this well, am I? It's no match for the sylvan delights of Richmond or Highgate, that's for sure, but those of us who live out on this side of town are used to making the best of what we have. [photo]

At last a sign pointing down off the sewertop, which means a brief stroll past ultra-ordinary houses and a hop over the roaring A13. And then, good news, a park. It's only Beckton District Park, but round here any patch of green is a welcome bolthole from residential sprawl. The Ring summarily avoids the rather lovely lake to the north of the park [photo], which is a shame, preferring to cut direct to the adventure playground and the closed-down leisure centre. A nice touch is the circuit of unusual trees, each labelled 'hornbeam' or 'Indian bean' or whatever, which in Beckton is what passes for an arboretum. It's a long thin park, this, veering from ornamental to woodland to meadow to blighted-by-pylons. Newham Council have put up several signs warning against the exercising of horses here, signs which appear to be summarily ignored by all and sundry. But hey, that did mean I got to meet a hyperactive horse lying on its back waving its hooves in the air [photo], which just goes to show that the Ring is never dull. Only one final runt-end section to go.

» Capital Ring section 14: official map and directions
» Who else has walked it? Mark, Darryl, Tim, Paul, Stephen, Tetramesh, Richard
» Today's eight photos; all 107 Capital Ring photos (so far)
» On to section 15 (or back to section 13)

<< click for Newer posts

click for Older Posts >>

click to return to the main page

...or read more in my monthly archives
Jan16  Feb16  Mar16  Apr16  May16  Jun16  Jul16  Aug16  Sep16  Oct16
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    twitter    G+

my flickr photostream

What's on this weekend?
Wed 19th - Sun 23rd October
Bloomsbury Festival
It's free to visit the Foundling Museum this weekend.

twenty blogs
ian visits
blue witch
city metric
the great wen
edith's streets
spitalfields life
in the aquarium
round the island
wanstead meteo
london museums
christopher fowler
ruth's coastal walk
london reconnections
dirty modern scoundrel

quick reference features
Things to do in Outer London
The DG Tour of Britain
Comment Value Hierarchy

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

diamond geezer 2015 index
diamond geezer 2014 index
diamond geezer 2013 index
diamond geezer 2012 index
diamond geezer 2011 index
diamond geezer 2010 index
diamond geezer 2009 index
diamond geezer 2008 index
diamond geezer 2007 index
diamond geezer 2006 index
diamond geezer 2005 index
diamond geezer 2004 index
diamond geezer 2003 index
diamond geezer 2002 index

my special London features
a-z of london museums
E3 - local history month
greenwich meridian (N)
greenwich meridian (S)
the real eastenders
london's lost rivers
olympic park 2007
great british roads
oranges & lemons
random boroughs
bow road station
high street 2012
river westbourne
trafalgar square
capital numbers
east london line
lea valley walk
olympics 2005
regent's canal
square routes
silver jubilee
unlost rivers
cube routes
capital ring
river fleet

ten of my favourite posts
the seven ages of blog
my new Z470xi mobile
five equations of blog
the dome of doom
chemical attraction
quality & risk
london 2102
single life
april fool

ten sets of lovely photos
my "most interesting" photos
london 2012 olympic zone
harris and the hebrides
betjeman's metro-land
marking the meridian
tracing the river fleet
london's lost rivers
inside the gherkin
seven sisters

just surfed in?
here's where to find...
diamond geezers
flash mob #1  #2  #3  #4
ben schott's miscellany
london underground
watch with mother
cigarette warnings
digital time delay
wheelie suitcases
war of the worlds
transit of venus
top of the pops
old buckenham
ladybird books
acorn antiques
digital watches
outer hebrides
olympics 2012
school dinners
pet shop boys
west wycombe
bletchley park
george orwell
big breakfast
clapton pond
san francisco
children's tv
east enders
trunk roads
little britain
credit cards
jury service
big brother
jubilee line
number 1s
titan arum
doctor who
blue peter
peter pan
feng shui
leap year
bbc three
vision on
ID cards