Monday, 26 November 2012

London Loop-West Wickham to Hamsey Green 7th November 2012

Its been a while since my last LOOP walk due to the kids on half term and then I was knocked off my bike going into work. So today 7th November 12,I get to do another West Wickham to Hamsey Green.
I travel to Hayes Rail Station,not to be confused with Hayes and Harlington Station which is nowhere near(close call and Im glad I checked ).

After leaving Hayes Station I cross the road and walk up Station Hill and I'm soon alongside the edge of Hayes Common.

 I take a path alongside a wooded area that leads me into Warren Wood Close.

I emerge out by The Hayes Metropolitan Police Sports and Social Club, which I believe they are keeping for now,I know the one at Chigwell is to be sold.

Hayes Met Police Club
 I now enter a narrow alley called Pole Cat Alley,that swoops up and down steeply until I arrive at a main road.

As I enter out onto Coney Hill Road I turn left and cross the road into Gates Green Road where I join the LOOP by West Wickham Common and the Corporation of London board.

A little further along the road I take a footpath between houses,this was once part of a web of church paths leading to West Wickham Church.This path crosses two roads before I head up Church Drive.

Church Drive
I now go through some gates into a playing field and follow the path pass a nursery.

I cross a busy road and over and up towards St John the Baptist Church and over to my left a manor House Wickham Court.

At the bottom of the steps I realised I hadn't seen the Meridan line marker mentioned in the guidebook,so I doubled back to the playing fields by the nursery and found the marker.Quite how I missed it the first time is beyond me ,its right next to the path!

Now with the marker found and seen I head back up the hill to the church.

I now take a well trodden path across the field past some horses down to a busy roundabout.This path is likely to age back to Saxon times when the first church was built on the hill.

I stop by the roundabout and glance back towards the church.

I cross Addington Road and into Sparrows Den Playing Fields and head pass the pitch and putt towards the woods.

As I enter Spring Park I take a path to the right of the Corporation of London board.

This path climbs steadily up for quite some distance before leveling and going off to my left.

I come across a waystone marking the border of Bromley and Croydon boroughs.

As I leave Bromley into Croydon this is also where Spring Park become Three Halfpenny woods.

The path bears right and climbs again and then crosses out onto Shirley Heath.

Shirley Heath

I enter back into a thin woodland before emerging alongside a busy road.

Shirley Church Road
Views to Crystal Palace
One of many lovely houses on Shirley Church Rd
I now cross the road into Shirley Church recreation Ground,a wooded area with a path that goes around a school. I eventually emerge onto Upper Shirley Road by the Sandrock pub.

I cross the road over into Oaks Avenue and little way down turn left into another wood.

I now walk up a steep ascend up a gravelly path and steps to get fine views over the Addington hills and into London.

View to Crystal palace
The views are North over Croydon,you can see Crystal palace and Canary Wharf.It is said you can see Winsor Castle or Epping Forest.I could see neither,maybe on a clearer day!

View to Croydon

View of The Shard

I continue along pass a cafe through some woods down to Coombe Lane Station.A Tram Station.

Coombe Lane Station.
I cross the tram-line and turn left alongside the track through some trees.

Now I emerge from the trees and cross the road into Heathfield Gardens and left onto a lovely driveway.
 Heathfield Estate at the top of Gravel Hill was left to the people of Croydon by Raymond Riesco in 1964. In the 40 years that Mr Riesco owned the land he changed it from a run down farm to model Estate set around a Mansion and beautiful ornamental gardens.

Heathfield House to the left.

Now up the steep stairs into a car park,I turn left out of the car park and downhill.
I come up to a sign saying no entry,but this can be ignored as I have right of way!

Heathfield Farm

I now enter Bramley Bank a London wildlife Trust reserve and walk through more woods,keeping to the left of the trees.

Once I exit out onto some roads,I walk straight ahead.Quite a bit of road walking,so much so I thought I was lost for a while,until at long last another sign and I'm soon entering Selsdon Wood.

After quite a bit of more woodland walking I emerge out into Puplet wood before eventually onto Main road,which joins at Elm Farm.
Elm Farm

Elm Farm
 I cross the road and take a track left of the farmhouse.
The track drops steeply before rising again steeply!

 I cross a very muddy field full of cows hoof holes filled with water before emerging onto a lane past houses and out onto Hamsey Green and the end of the walk.
 I cross the road to catch the 403 bus back to East Croydon station.The good companion pub is now closed soon to be demolished so it seems.So don't bank on a drink here!

 Back in East Croydon for the train home.This must be the first Loop section where I haven't got lost or made a mistake! Book says 8.5 miles plus .5 for station links,but with my walking back to find Meridan line probably about a 10 mile walk.