On a day when two walks were offered to alleviate the excesses of Xmas consumption, twelve members chose the shorter option and gathered at Lower Sydenham station for a waterside walk through south-east London.

Initially, the group followed the Pool River through a green corridor until it joined the River Ravensbourne on its journey to the Thames. Passing under the South Circular Road, we entered the site of the old Catford Greyhound Stadium, now replaced by blocks of flats. Continuing through Ladywell Fields and past University Hospital Lewisham, we looked at St Mary’s Church before stopping for lunch. Some of our number sampled the beer and cuisine at the Ladywell Tavern while others had a picnic or went to a local cafe.

Suitable refreshed, we headed uphill to the 174 foot high peak of Hilly Fields for its wide-ranging views of London. This green area, once a farm, was saved in the late-nineteenth century by the intervention of Octavia Hill, the co-founder of the National Trust. Back down in the back streets of Lewisham, we rejoined the Ravensbourne and wended our way through Brookmill Park and Broadway Fields to Deptford Bridge, the site of a 1497 battle in the Cornish Rebellion against Norman taxes.

Finally, we headed for Deptford Station, via a bustling market and a distinctive post box artwork, where a few of us made a detour to a renowned pub the Dog & Bull pub for some fortifying mulled wine before heading home.


Photos courtesy of Patricia Burbidge and Kim Chowns