Sunday, April 20, 2014

Jubilee Greenway walk 4

This is the fourth section of this walk along the Jubilee Greenway. For the most part this section follows the main route of the London sewerage system. Quite a strange route for a pathway. It is not one I would advise visitors to follow but see what you think.

I needed to get to Victoria Park to continue along the pathway and that meant getting the tube to Bethnal Green. I used to visit Bethnal Green regularly in the early 70s when I knew someone living in the area. I remember it as a very run down area. The first place in London that many immigrants would settle as it was a very cheap area to live. Looking at it now, it is a very different are.

Walking through the streets I came across this unusually placed memorial in the middle of a row of terraced houses. It is a memorial to the men from Cyprus Street who had lost their lives in the first world war. There are 26 names on the plaque which is the highest number of men lost from just one street. The original plaque was damaged when the house it was on was demolished but local residents clubbed together and had a replica made. It is located here about 500m from the original site.

It didn't take me long to arrive at Victoria Park to continue with the Greenway walk. Victoria Park was developed between 1842 and 1846. It has a beautiful lake, athletics track and lots of green space for children to run around and enjoy.

I left the park through these large blue gates and followed a path beside the Hertford Union Canal.

Now the signs for the path were obvious and I didn't need to keep following the directions I had downloaded.

The path takes you over the River Lee and past a water recycling plant which of course reminded me about the route I was following which was above the main sewage system. Behind this sign was the Olympic Stadium, star of the 2012 Olympic Games.

It has since been adapted and the large triangular shapes above the stadium which housed the lights have now been removed. The stadium is to become home to a London football club(West Ham) in 2016. Prior to that it will be used in 2015 for the World Rugby cup finals and other major events.

I haven't visited this area since the Olympics it has been closed to the public whilst various construction work has been taking place. However the park will be open to the public this Spring so I will be returning soon for a more detailed wander around.

The directions for the walk no longer made sense due to all the closed roads so I had to try and work it out for myself.

It took me a little while of going backwards and forwards to find my way round this maze of building work.  The only people around were security guards telling me where I couldn't go but no-one to tell me where I could pick up the path again.

After crossing another river I followed the sound of heavy traffic and found myself on a main road ready to give up and go home. As I crossed the road I noticed what looked like a possible pathway and decided to follow it.

I then came across this wonderful building which is the Abbey Mills Pumping Station so I knew I had found the Greenway path again. It was also another reminder that the walk is on top of the Sewers.

This iron feature on the ground is engraved with the months of the year and this inscription 'Stand now at this month with your back to the sun - you wake in the morning the day has begun'. It is a reference to the East/West Meridian line which runs along here.

No idea why this sculpture is here and I couldn't get close to it as there was a wire fence in the way.

I crossed another river and decided that this walk no longer appealed to me. I was getting fed up of walking next to a temporary wire fence.

Finally there was an exit from the path that led to an underground station at Plaistow.

This was not the most picturesque of walks . The construction of Crossrail , a new rail line from NE London to SW London which involves 26 miles of new tunnels beneath London,  has turned a vast section of the route into a building site. It might be better when the Olympic Park finally reopens all areas to the public but as yet too much of it is still fenced off and parts of the pathway closed with no alternative route.

Thursday, April 3, 2014

Jubilee Greenway walk 3

I started this next section  of the Jubilee Greenway walk at Camden. This is a vibrant part of London with its decorated shops and famous market at Camden lock alongside the Regent's Canal.

In the early 70s there were plans to build an urban motorway across this site but they were dropped in 1976. Up to that point the uncertainty of  what was going to happen in the area meant that no permanent structures could be built and a temporary market sprung up specialising in crafts and clothes. It was so popular that it has become a permanent feature.

For over one hundred and forty years this canal was used to bring coal from the Midlands, building materials and foodstuffs into London. The tow path was only accessible by businesses whose goods were stored in warehouses alongside the canal. Commercial usage stopped in the 1960s when in 1962-3 the canal froze so hard that no goods could be moved for weeks. By the time the canal was usable the cargo had been transported by road and business didn't return to the canal.

Nowadays there are lots of new apartments overlooking the canal.

The canal widens here into the St Pancras yacht Basin and St Pancras Lock

The granary building, now the home of Central St Martins and the University of Arts London as well as the King's Cross visitor's centre.
From here you can see all the regeneration that has taken place in the King's Cross area of London.

The ornate ironwork on the Thornhill Road Bridge which you need to cross to get back onto the towpath.

After going under another bridge the Towpath ceases. This is the Islington Tunnel and for quite a distance you have to follow the blue glass markers on the pavement taking you through the streets and parks. The markers follow the route of the tunnel beneath the streets.
Eventually you arrive at Chapel road market in Islington fromwhere you have to cross the very busy Upper Street near the Angel Islington underground station before coming out at the quieter and more genteel part of Islington.

This is known as Camden Passage which is well known for its antique shops and market.

Then it was back on to the tow path as  the canal re-emerged from the Islington Tunnel.

I found this next section of the canal from the City road lock to be quite beautiful with its mixture of old and new.

Many narrow boats were moored in this section

The sign can only be seen correctly as a reflection in the canal
 telling us that we are now in Shoreditch.

Acton's Lock

These gasometers will soon be a thing of the past. They were used to store large amounts of gas at low pressure. Advances in technology and pipelines means there is no longer a need for these large storage containers.

Not sure what this building is but I thought the large mushrooms on the roof were an interesting addition.

I have now reached Victoria Park and need to leave the canal at the next bridge and make my way home.