Monday, 26 April 2021

Thames Path from Crossness to Erith

 The National Trail 'The Thames Path'  goes from the Thames Barrier to its source, 180 miles away  at Kemble in Gloucestershire. The routemarker for that path is an acorn. I walked that trail back in 2013 and thoroughly enjoyed the walk. Since then the path has been extended beyond the Thames Barrier but it isn't that clear how far it actually goes so I have decided to follow the river as far as possible on its journey out to sea.  The routemarker for this path  is a stylised picture of an old Thames sailing barge. 

 Once again I have come by car and it took an age for me to find my way through a housing estate to park close to the river. Driving keeps me away from public transport and is usually a convenient way to travel. The big disadvantage is that I have to return along the same path to retrieve the car. If I am to continue walking alongside the path I think next time I need to find a way of using public transport and do a linear rather than circular walk.
Today's walk begins just beyond the old Crossness pumping station where my previous walk ended. In front of me I can see the modern sludge incinerator.
I saw a number of different birds having a good feed.

A cormorant drying its wings by the edge of the river.

Across the river on the North Bank was this large ship. I am not sure of its purpose but I know from my Underground challenge and walking in the Dagenham area that the large Ford factory is roughly sited along that part of the river.
Zooming in with the camera I could see the sign on one of the buildings. Although vehicle assembly ceased here in 2002 the site still produces engines so that might explain the large ship moored across the river.

Turning back to my side of the river I am walking past a large green area. In 1994 Thames Estuary grazing marsh was turned into this nature reserve. It did seem to have a hide there but I didn't want to wander off course so continued on my way. I read later that it is a special place for the rare and declining water vole, so maybe I should have taken the time to have a closer look.

It was an interesting walk along the riverbank. Here I could see the remains of an old pier alongside the reed beds.
By this part of the river, there is a real mixture of industry and wildlife. Just standing here I could here the sounds of numerous birds which I couldn't identify other than a number of sparrows flitting from one bush to another.

I passed many piers on this walk , some very much in use whilst others just left to rust and rot.

This mosaic on the wall beside the river was designed by local people to reflect the wildlife and beauty of the River Thames. It is one of a series along the Thames Pathway.

Looking back at the modern sludge incinerator I was impressed by its sleek design. Its graceful look is not something I would have expected from a building where the dried sewage sludge is burned to provide renewable energy.

There were a number of conveyers towering above the pathway ready to carry materials out to waiting barges or to bring waste products to the recycling units that have their centres here.

The Tesco delivery vans are all lined up. These have been incredible busy of late with everyone trying to get their food delivered to their home rather than going into the supermarkets. During all our months of lockdown I was unable to secure a delivery slot!

Large concrete silos and waste disposal industries lined this section of the path.

I can now see the Dartford crossing in the distance. This is the last bridge over the Thames. It is still quite a few miles away so I won't be getting much closer to it today.

You can't go far without seeing a discarded supermarket trolley.
There is a boat on the top of this pier. One assumes it can only be launched during a high tide.

Just looking back towards my starting point for today but I can no longer see the sludge incinerator chimney from here.
This last section takes me through the outskirts of Erith.

There is a yachting club the other side of Erith so on a beautiful sunny morning like today I am expecting to see a few more sailing boats.

Another of the Thames path mosaics beside the path that leads me up to Erith riverside gardens.

Across from the gardens is the 'Running Horses' pub which would make an excellent place to stop for lunch in post covid days.

I sat down for a little while admiring the boats as they sailed past but then it was time to go back along the path and hope I can remember where I parked the car. Next time I am definitely going to use public transport. 

Friday, 23 April 2021

Hever Castle


At the end of the Easter holidays I went with my daughter and the grandchildren to Hever Castle in Kent. Dating back to the 13th century the castle was once the childhood home of Anne Boleyn, second wife of Henry VIII and mother of Elizabeth 1. Although the castle is currently closed due to Covid restrictions the gardens and grounds are still open.

The children loved seeing a real castle.

As well as extensive grounds and gardens there are three different playgrounds for the children. The one above was a water maze where the children had to find their way to the centre. When you step on the paving slabs, fountains of water spring up. The children were soaked but they had a fabulous time.

For once it felt a little bit of normality had returned.

Thursday, 15 April 2021

Spring in Greenwich Park

 I took these photos just before Easter in Greenwich Park. The Spring flower displays were just coming into their own and I couldn't resist snapping a few displays to share with you.

This week England has started the long road back after lockdown. Non essential shops have reopened including the hairdressers. We are all feeling a lot lighter now that the extra layers of hair have been removed and smartened up a bit. I had my 2nd vaccination this week so feel ready to face the world once again. Precautions are still in place. Only eating and drinking outdoors in groups of 6 or less. Socially distanced rules still apply as does the wearing of masks on transport and in shops etc. Today the sun is shining and suddenly things seem a lot better out there.