diamond geezer

 Saturday, August 27, 2022

This week has seen the launch of four London Nature Trails, a quartet of official walking routes co-ordinated by Footways and the London Wildlife Trust, and supported by the Mayor and TfL.
Uncover a whole world of urban nature on four new walking routes in London. Follow the routes via maps on your phone, via the Go Jauntly app, or pick up a free printed map from locations listed below. Use London Wildlife Trust’s spotter guide to discover animals and plants as you walk.
It's always good to add to the capital's collection of carefully thought-through walks, which these very much are, and the long weekend is an ideal time for a lively launch.

These are the four - (click for a map)
Central - Swiss Cottage to King’s Cross: 1 hour 30 minutes | 4.5 miles | 7.5 km | 10,000 steps
North - Burnt Oak to Wembley Park: Two hours | 6 miles | 10 km | 14,000 steps
South - Bermondsey to Brockley: Two hours | 6 miles | 10 km | 14,000 steps
East - Wanstead to Royal Docks: Three hours | 9 miles | 15 km | 21,000 steps
To try to do them justice:
i) I've been online to scrutinise the routes
ii) I've been out to try to collect all four leaflets
iii) I've walked one of the four routes from end to end

i) Route scrutiny

Swiss Cottage to King’s Cross: This is essentially a walk across Primrose Hill and along the Regent's Canal, so a tried and tested favourite. What's odd is they've bolted on a 'there and back' section at the start to take in the Alexandra Estate, which is a proper modernist architectural dazzler with a bit of park, but you're not going to see much nature for the first thirty minutes.
Burnt Oak to Wembley Park: This is a walk down the Silk Stream through Colindale, followed by a shady stretch along the Welsh Harp Reservoir (shadowing Capital Ring section 10), followed by a walk near-ish to the River Brent, ending with a gratuitous extension through the increasingly unnatural towerscape of Wembley Park. It has its moments.
Bermondsey to Brockley: This is essentially a walk along the Thames Path from Bermondsey to Deptford, with a very sensible diversion midway to climb Stave Hill for views over Rotherhithe, then bending back inland to New Cross where it should have stopped rather than dribbling on for 20 minutes to tick off two small gardens.
Wanstead to Royal Docks: This starts with an apologetic glimpse of Wanstead Flats, then crosses to the Olympic Park via 40 minutes of unavoidably tedious backstreets, and what I'm saying is skip that and start in Stratford. Then it's a walk down the River Lea for a mix of creeky wildlife and post-industrial edgery ("if you don't fancy the gritty surroundings, take the DLR"), then a meander across Canning Town to the obligatory Royal Docks. I'm over-familiar with all this, but the central riverside section's well worth doing once if only to go "golly".



ii) Leaflet collecting

Hurrah for handy pocket-sized leaflets, especially when they're colourful, double-sided, detailed and free. Boxfuls have been printed but you have to go to a limited number of collection points to pick one up "while stocks last". The South London map was dead easy to grab from a pile just inside the entrance to Canada Water Library, and the Central London map almost as quick at a desk upstairs in Swiss Cottage Library. But the East and North London maps proved a bit more of a challenge.

"We've never heard of it" said the lady at Custom House & Canning Town Community Neighbourhood Centre, even when I showed her the website on which they were listed. I could then have diverted to pick one up from Forest Gate station, but instead headed to City Hall because I'd not been inside since it became a seat of local government and that sounded fun. I had to endure a full pocket-emptying belt-loosening bag-conveyoring security check just to reach main reception, but the bloke there knew exactly what I wanted. "How many do you want?" he asked, and looked terribly disappointed when I only wanted one as if he were desperate to clear the brimming cardboard box from his desk.

My real problems began with the three collection points in northwest London...
• Burnt Oak underground ticket office
• Burnt Oak Library from the main desk
• Wembley Library from the main desk

Burnt Oak station no longer has a ticket office, just an enquiries window, which was firmly closed yesterday with a faded message securely taped to the window apologising for staff shortages. Just down the road Burnt Oak library was alas in self-service mode, because that's Barnet council's way of scrimping money, with no maps anywhere on view. Thankfully Wembley Library was staffed but the lady in the booth looked at me as if I was a bit weird because she'd never heard of these maps either. Alas it seems the North London leaflet isn't yet available anywhere.

You can probably guess which of the four routes I'd decided to walk...

iii) Burnt Oak to Wembley Park: 6 miles

I'm glad I chose this one, even if I was forced to follow it using a map on the website which kept reloading every time I unlocked my phone. It led me along three sections I was familiar with and two sections I'd never followed before, so that was a win, helping me to stitch together my mental map of northwest London. It started well with a lot of green, interrupted by the vernacular towers of Colindale. It flirted with a few bits of river. It spent slightly too long alongside the A5. It serendipitously delivered me into the midst of a colourful crowd emerging from Friday prayers. It didn't have too much street-bashing. It confirmed how Wembley Park no longer looks like Wembley Park any more. And I only once took completely the wrong path (across West Hendon Playing Fields), otherwise it all worked out quite well.



Because these are supposed to be nature trails I made a special effort to look for nature along the way. We're a bit late in the season for flowers, and suburban trees are much of a muchness, but here are some of the wildlife specimens I recorded...
Silkstream Park: butterflies, floating weed, spliffers
Montrose Playing Fields: pigeons, grass, wolfhound
Colindale Park: saplings, daisies, sunflowers
Rushgrove Park: blimey what was that it was quite big it looked like a woodpecker or maybe a jay but it disappeared off into the shady bits by the river rather quickly you don't normally see one of those
West Hendon Playing Fields: dragonfly, gulls, swan
Welsh Harp Reservoir: great big rat, magpies, goose
Quainton Street Open Space: tabby cat, housefly, nettles
Chalkhill Park: pigeons, squirrel, dachshund
Union Park: sanitised lawn, playspace, fountain
It's hardly a classic list of natural wonders. The real disappointment was Union Park, "a new green space for Wembley Park on the site of a former car park", because it isn't yet finished and looked like the developers had assembled it from a placemaking catalogue. Admittedly it was being well used, mainly because everything nearby was either residential towers or a construction site, but it struck a false note and not really somewhere to celebrate at the end of a so-called nature trail.

Whatever, if you see one of these four leaflets do grab one and file it away for a walk one day, and if you choose to go this weekend look out for some of the celebratory launch events along the way.


<< click for Newer posts

click for Older Posts >>


click to return to the main page


...or read more in my monthly archives
Jan23
Jan22  Feb22  Mar22  Apr22  May22  Jun22  Jul22  Aug22  Sep22  Oct22  Nov22  Dec22
Jan21  Feb21  Mar21  Apr21  May21  Jun21  Jul21  Aug21  Sep21  Oct21  Nov21  Dec21
Jan20  Feb20  Mar20  Apr20  May20  Jun20  Jul20  Aug20  Sep20  Oct20  Nov20  Dec20
Jan19  Feb19  Mar19  Apr19  May19  Jun19  Jul19  Aug19  Sep19  Oct19  Nov19  Dec19
Jan18  Feb18  Mar18  Apr18  May18  Jun18  Jul18  Aug18  Sep18  Oct18  Nov18  Dec18
Jan17  Feb17  Mar17  Apr17  May17  Jun17  Jul17  Aug17  Sep17  Oct17  Nov17  Dec17
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

twenty blogs
853
our bow
arseblog
ian visits
londonist
blue witch
on london
the great wen
edith's streets
spitalfields life
linkmachinego
round the island
wanstead meteo
christopher fowler
bus and train user
ruth's coastal walk
the ladies who bus
round the rails we go
london reconnections
from the murky depths

quick reference features
Things to do in Outer London
Things to do outside London
Inner London toilet map
20 years of blog series
The DG Tour of Britain

read the archive
Jan23
Dec22  Nov22  Oct22  Sep22
Aug22  Jul22  Jun22  May22
Apr22  Mar22  Feb22  Jan22
Dec21  Nov21  Oct21  Sep21
Aug21  Jul21  Jun21  May21
Apr21  Mar21  Feb21  Jan21
Dec20  Nov20  Oct20  Sep20
Aug20  Jul20  Jun20  May20
Apr20  Mar20  Feb20  Jan20
Dec19  Nov19  Oct19  Sep19
Aug19  Jul19  Jun19  May19
Apr19  Mar19  Feb19  Jan19
Dec18  Nov18  Oct18  Sep18
Aug18  Jul18  Jun18  May18
Apr18  Mar18  Feb18  Jan18
Dec17  Nov17  Oct17  Sep17
Aug17  Jul17  Jun17  May17
Apr17  Mar17  Feb17  Jan17
Dec16  Nov16  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

the diamond geezer index
2021 2020 2019 2018 2017
2016 2015 2014 2013 2012
2011 2010 2009 2008 2007
2006 2005 2004 2003 2002

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
Herbert Dip
metro-land
capital ring
river fleet
piccadilly
bakerloo

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
boredom
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
iceland

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
thunderbirds
routemaster
children's tv
east enders
trunk roads
amsterdam
little britain
credit cards
jury service
big brother
jubilee line
number 1s
titan arum
typewriters
doctor who
coronation
comments
blue peter
matchgirls
hurricanes
buzzwords
brookside
monopoly
peter pan
starbucks
feng shui
leap year
manbags
bbc three
vision on
piccadilly
meridian
concorde
wembley
islington
ID cards
bedtime
freeview
beckton
blogads
eclipses
letraset
arsenal
sitcoms
gherkin
calories
everest
muffins
sudoku
camilla
london
ceefax
robbie
becks
dome
BBC2
paris
lotto
118
itv