Saturday, July 6, 2013

Day 2: O2 to London Bridge Pier (Section 2)

Greenwich was a great place to stop for lunch as there are so many places for a picnic or pub lunch or cafe. I had food with me and as the sun made another appearance I was very happy to sit on the grass and enjoy some people watching.  But as I wanted to get to London Bridge I didn't sit down for long as I still had another 5+ miles to go.

This is the Cutty Sark one of the great clipper ships which used the power of the wind to race across the seas bringing tea from China and wool from Australia.
This building is the entrance to the foot tunnel where you can walk beneath the Thames to Island Gardens on the North bank. in the picture below you can see the exit from the tunnel. There is a lift to take you up/down or quite a number of stairs to climb if you feel fit enough.

You can see some of the converted warehouses on the other side of the river. They are now very expensive apartments.
There are many cannons along the Thames pathway which I can only assume used to belong to the Woolwich Arsenal which was close to  the Barrier or maybe they have been taken from the ships.

I had to come away from the river to walk around the construction site and then cross over the Deptford Creek where the Ravensbourne river feeds into the Thames.

I have now left Greenwich and am in Deptford which has been transformed in recent years by all the new buildings and regeneration that has taken place.
Unfortunately the path beside the river didn't last for long as I had to go around quite a few buildings before coming back out on to the path again. Even through a park.
This is only a small park but I liked the metal gates.

Now I felt a little lost as although I followed the Thames pathway signs this did not look as though it was taking me towards the river.
I did know that the block of flats furthest from me was by the river so it looked as though I needed to go back somehow. There was a television series made about these blocks of flats. They started life as council owned properties let to people who do not have a great deal of money and are often struggling. Prior to a lot of regeneration work here the area was not one I would ever visit at night eventhough I did work close by for a number of years. Anyway they decided to sell off one of the blocks to a private company who revamped them completely and sold them to an entirely different sector of the community for a great deal of money. There was opposition to this as many people had to be rehoused when the council sold the property and of course, they could not afford to buy an apartment there. Others were delighted to move.  The views are amazing and the apartments were sold in no time. It would be interesting to see a follow up programme interviewing residents from both sets of flats.

I did have to ask a passer by for directions (didn't want to be photographed) and he directed me through The Colonnade, a really beautiful terrace of houses which took me to a part of Deptford I didn't know existed.

The colonnaded group of buildings were the quarters for naval officers who worked at the Royal Victoria victualling yard which provided every kind of commodity needed to fit out the ships and also to provide food for them as they set sail from  the Royal Dockyard. This continued for 2 centuries from 1742.

Walking around the corner from the colonnade were converted rum warehouses erected in 1790.

For at least 500 years Deptford played a key role in building and repairing Navy ships and providing food and supplies for those who sailed in them. In 1513 Henry VIII established a great 'storehouse' for the Navy here. Due to that happening, the Royal Naval Dockyard was developed and between 1545 and 1869 some 350 navy vessels were built here.

These steps here are known as Drake's steps.  It was here that Sir Francis Drake landed  after he  circumnavigated the world. Queen Elizabeth I, knighted him and commanded that his ship 'The Golden Hind' be kept here as a reminder of Drake's achievements. Unfortunately the ship went into disrepair in the 1660s and was forgotten and lost. Archaeologists are hopeful that one day they will find part of the ship. In 2000 and 2010 they uncovered some remains of the Royal Dockyard so you never know. There is a replica of the Golden Hind near London Bridge which  I will be walking past in a few days. 

The lock gates leading to South Dock Marina.
Some very large yachts moored in the marina.

This is the view from the other lock gates taking you back out to the Thames.

A short walk from the Marina is Greenland Dock, the only substantial water area left from the old Surrey Commercial Docks. Here there is a swing bridge with hydraulic rams that work the lock gates, powered by high-pressure water from a nearby pumphouse.


These houses were once rented to the shipyard workers. I doubt they looked like this in the 18th century.
Walking along the pathway again you come across Surrey Docks Farm. For many of the inner city children who visit this farm it will be there first and maybe only experience of farm animals.

The farm also has a lovely little cafe just handy for a cup of tea and afternoon cake!

Another type of boat taking visitors on a guided trip down the Thames.
The first time I saw one of these outdoor gyms was walking along the promenade in Cairns, Australia. I was fascinated, little did I know there was one on my doorstep!
I have now almost finished walking around the U shaped bend in the river and can see the other side of Canary Wharf.
Not all life belts are stolen. I did see some that were still in place.
I have now left Deptford (the name comes from 'deep ford') and am in the area called Rothehithe.

This inlet leads to Lavendar pumphouse which was built in 1930 to control the water level in Surrey Docks.

The building is now used as a heritage Museum. Surrounding it is the Lavender Pond Nature Park

Back to the river and I can see the Shard in the distance which is where I will be finishing today's walk.



  1. I had to google weil's disease. Nasty. I wonder why the water became so polluted.

  2. I am really enjoying this walk with you. It is a shame that the path doesn't stick to the river side but it meant that you found more interesting places. A Farm in the city is a great idea for kids. It is the trend in most cities to upgrade accommodation blocks by the rivers and changing docks into eating places.

  3. Wonderful tour! It's amazing to think of the old riverside warehouses and workers cottages and to think what they are now worth in London's hyper expensive real estate market.

  4. What a wonderful walk again ! and the weather seems to be with you ! The Cutty Sark and surroundings I have seen too and Canary warf I know from my UK tour, our departure and the hostel with the bunkbeds was in Rothehithe.

  5. My favorite part of today's walk is seeing the very steps Drake put his feet upon! It's so gratifying that some of the old buildings are being preserved and providing homes for people who hopefully appreciate the history and the lives that have lived there before them. I would love to live in a place like that.

  6. Thanks for taking us through this great tour...


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