It's time to return to the final quadrant of my orbital Londonbus journey. I had hoped it would be possible to make the next jump from Chingford to Hainault in one bus, but alas not (quite), so I need to take two. To straddle the London border I've decided to go via Woodford, not viaLoughton, which means neither ride will be very long (nor, alas, very interesting).
ROUND LONDON BY BUS(xix)
Route 179: Chingford - Woodford Green Length of journey: 2 miles, 8 minutes
It gets a pretty decent bus service, Station Road in Chingford, courtesy of the bus station at the far end. The shops aren't bad either - not too mainstream, not too cheap - and I think Norman Tebbit would still approve. My departure point is opposite the parish church and village green, but more precisely outside the Co-op, and the waiting demographic reflect the latter. When the 179 eventually arrives two of them want to pay by cash, which is already one more than AndrewAdonis claims to have seen in 100 bus journeys across London last week. I'm late in getting upstairs so have to surrender the front seat to a family of four. They want the grandstand view for their four year-old, but he turns out to be less than keen so it's Mum and Auntie who end up hogging the prime location instead.
We're journeying down the Kings Road, Chingford version, so fashions here are more TOWIE than Made In Chelsea. What we pass instead are the dodgily-named Pimp Hill Allotments, plus Churchill Curtain Cleaning Services, which is a nod to what's coming up later. Green spaces range from a kickabout square where boys are playing keepy-uppy to the actual proper Epping Forest, threading through briefly along the 'valley' of the River Ching. An elderly couple board here and do something unusual - they climb upstairs. Normally nobody over the age of about 50 comes up here, so it's good to see more adventurous Freedom Pass holders deftly negotiating the stairs.
A sign alerts drivers "To Avoid Low Emission Zone Turn Left", but we turn right instead along the High Road Woodford Green. Some fine houses are set back across the grass, although the road down the centre is a bit more arterial that I think the owners would like. I spot Sylvia Pankhurst'santi-bomb memorial on the left, and even a brief view of the Lea Valley down one particular descending sidestreet. We track the edge of Woodford Green, a linear ridgetop common, and a lovely place to stroll. Winston Churchill'sstatue is down the far end - he used to be the local MP - but I'm not going quite that far. An unexpectedly middle class parade of shops intrudes, the kind that has a fireplace shop and a family butchers and a choice of Italian restaurants. I've just ridden from Chingford's Prezzo to Woodford Green's Prezzo in less than ten minutes. Sorry, that wasn't a very exciting trip, but needs must. 275>>