Green London Way : Greenwich to Forest Hill
The problem with South London is that it is not in North London, and quite frustrating to get there when Transport for London has one of its idiosynchratic days … and, oh, there are hills (indeed quite a few of them and Bob Gilbert’s route for this leg seems designed to ensure that walkers climb most of them).
We gathered outside the Cutty Sark in Greenwich and climbed up the hill to the Observatory for the magnificent view over the capital, nowadays dominated by the crowded towers of Canary Wharf.
We crossed Hyde Vale, noting the brick conduit head on the way, and on to Blackheath via the delightful Trinity Grove, boasting lush front gardens and celebratory bunting. Quite a contrast next, as we crossed the traffic-bound Blackheath Hill to Morden Hill, where the street names recall an area once populated by mills along the river Ravensbourne. At Lewisham we stopped to rest outside the astonishingly colourful Glass Mill Leisure Centre, the exterior façade of which is clad in 1400 individual glass panels developed in conjunction with local artist Phil Coy.
A nearby railway bridge mural indicated our next destination, then on to Hilly Fields, an open space saved through the efforts of Octavia Hill, founder of the National Trust. We then walked through Ladywell and Brockley Cemeteries,
and, then, another surprise on this most varied of walks, a therapeutic garden in the shadow of
the Parish Church of St Mary’s. Then more hills, Blythe Hill Fields and the curiously named One Tree Hill (mercifully with steps to aid the ascent), where we stopped to rest by the viewpoint over London (did anyone spot Alexandra Palace?).
By now we were eagerly looking forward to some refreshment at the end of our walk, quickening our pace through Brenchley Gardens and Camberwell Old Cemetery to reach our destination, the cafe at the Horniman Museum in Forest Hill. Fortunately it was downhill all the way to the station for the return journey to the North.