Nov
2020

Local London walks

 Shorter local London Walks have been essential in Lockdown

 Under normal circumstances, I would not go out on so many London walks.  local London Walks hasn’t been top of my list, but under the circumstances I have made do and even enjoyed staying closer to home. 

As we approach winter and face short days, longer walks further afield are not practical. It doesn’t help that cafes, bars and places of interest are closed due to Lockdown.

 

Brockwell Park Beautiful Autumn day.

 

In between Lockdowns, I have made do with a lot of ad hoc walks.

London is a great place to walk about as there is always so much going on. It’s not the best place to avoid people though, even in LOCKDOWN.

 Those of you who know me, will be aware I live in Brixton so I spend a lot of time here. Using public transport at the best of times is a fairly awful experience, but there is only so far I can walk within London. I’m only an hours walk from the Thames so that’s a good thing.

Walking through one of Brixton’s Arcade leading onto Coldharbour Lane and the junction of Railton Road.

This is one of my favourite off the cuff pictures taken in Railton Road one fine summer evening earlier in the year. I’m a big fan of shadows.

 

In the summer when the threat of lockdown became a reality.

Sometimes you just want to sit down and have a beer.. The Craft Bar Brixton looking extremely empty.

I sometimes Like to sit in the Craft Bar after a late afternoon shop and look out of the window at the comings and goings of people in Brixton.

 

 I am just as close to Herne Hill and Brockwell Park, as I am to Brixton.

Once a decision has been made to go out for a walk in the park, life somehow looks better.

Looking out towards Herne Hill Flats from Brockwell Park. Looking fairly empty for a change

I had a lovely walk round the park with another walk leader, earlier in the summer. It was nice to see so many wild flowers.

WALKING TO CHELSEA IS A REAL BOOST TO THE SYSTEM, WITHIN AN HOUR I AM IN BATTERSEA PARK OVERLOOKING THE RIVER, AND THEN I'M CROSSING THE ALBERT BRIDGE TO CHELSEA. 

My favourite Bridge (Albert Bridge) and the telephone box just sets it off. Hope they don’t ever take it down.

This is one of my favourite spots, I love cycling from Brixton to Chelsea. I also often walk from Brixton to Chelsea. I am still a member of Chelsea Library and use it often.

 

Walking home from work, I sometimes walk through Ruskin Park, the ducks were very friendly and were hoping  I had some food for them.

 

I love the fact that the office I work in is on Love Walk. Love Walk Café on Denmark Hill

A famous painting as a mural in Camberwell. It’s a shame the graffiti below it is so ugly. If I had the gift I would spray something beautiful over that.

My short  lunch time walks mainly up and down the Grove are a life saver.

Beautiful Camberwell Grove

Camberwell is an interesting area, and I love walking about here in my lunch half hour. Camberwell deserves a blog of it’s own, but in the meantime, see below for some interesting Camberwell facts and stories.

https://supportandsustain.co.uk/uploads/3/4/4/7/34479834/travel_guide_to_camberwell.pdf

I love these signs that are appearing all over London.

 

A walk starting in Brixton to Crystal Palace then over to Forest Hill, this turned into a 10 mile walk, as we took a wrong turn when coming out of Crystal Palace Park. I often visit the small garden Centre in Penge, but thought better of it, as people seemed to be in the mood to queue for anything. Hordes of people were waiting for ever to buy a cup of coffee in the park.! I don’t have the patience for that.

Pounding pavements, we stop to read the road signs and all signs mean something . There is always history on every corner. (Anyone out there know of this history?)

 

Recently I did a 12 mile walk from Richmond to Wimbledon

It was great to be in a bit of open space and see the Deer. My walking partner was leading this walk and the battery on his phone had quit so we ended up a bit lost in the woods. My knees felt the strain as did my feet. Fortunately it wasn’t too cold or raining.

I have written  few blogs about walking in London that can be found in my archives or how about this one for a starter? .Brixton v Clapham

 

Until next episode  on 31/12/2020 Keep on Keeping on..

Oct
2020

Walking from Ramsgate To Margate

 

Normally I would say walking from Ramsgate to Margate is an excellent walk

On a good day walking from Ramsgate to Margate is a real treat. The walk started off reasonably well, The weather was a bit dreary and cold but as we started in Ramsgate and walked along the coast to Broadstairs there weren’t any real threats of bad weather. It had been a while since I had been on a coastal walk and was looking forward to it. 

Along the coast an easy stroll from Ramsgate to Margate via Broadstairs

rock on

Ramsgate to Broadstairs coastline

Heading towards the town Broadstairs, we don’t know what’s in store for us yet.

 

 The first port of call was Broadstairs

Being eager to get on with the walk- we didn’t hang about for too long. It had been a long time since I had visited Broadstairs and there is a wide range of new craft bars and cafes to choose from. The next walk in the area will end in Broadstairs.!

It was too early in the day to start sampling beers in craft bars, instead, we opted for a tea parlor. I tried the  Victoria cake-flavored green tea and a slice of vegan Victoria cake, I hadn’t come across so many different teas before and it made a nice change. Although I wasn’t as keen on the 1930’s jazz music! https://bessiesteaparlour.co.uk/menu/

Bleak House at Broadstairs 

This was the beginning of what turned into the bleakest walk I have ever endured!

 

Ramsgate Broadstairs and Margate come under the umbrella of the Isle of Thanet coastline.

Away from the main tourist attraction of the towns, there are over 10 little bays from Viking Bay at Broadstairs, leading to  Stone Bay & Botany bay heading into Margate.  As we walked from Stone Bay to Kingsgate Bay, the clouds came over black and heavy, the hail lashed out and the winds gushed up to mph against us. This was not in the BBC weather forecast.!

On a good day, the bays are good to swim in and Joss Bay seems to be the most popular.

Joss Bay has good facilities including toilets and a cafe and is suitable for families. If my memory serves me well I think it was Kingsgate Bay that I swam in, many moons ago. There was little chance of that happening today.

The beach is reputedly named after an eighteenth-century smuggler, Joss Snelling. He was notorious for importing a variety of contraband to the various beaches of the Isle of Thanet in the late 1800s. 

Before we get to Joss Bay there is an interesting lighthouse just off the coastal road. Fields either side of it are growing what looked like cabbages.

A Rich History at North Foreland Lighthouse.

Cabbage fields either side of the lighthouse, I think it’s cabbage!!

A quiet road from Broadstairs

Walking towards Joss Bay en route to Margate

 

The North Foreland Lighthouse has quite a history,

It was built in 1691 but previously a less efficient single candle in a lantern hoisted onto poles was set up in 1636!. It was the last lighthouse to be automated and is now controlled from Harwich in Essex.

https://www.trinityhouse.co.uk/lighthouses-and-lightvessels/north-foreland-lighthous

 

KINGSGATE BAY

A BLEAK DAY looking at Kingsgate Bay, just before the wind really picked up.

At this point, the weather changed and we walked across the cliff tops towards Margate 

Our scarves were firmly up over our noses, our heads were down most of the time. I struggled to take photos as 50 miles per hour winds and hailstone blew against us. This wasn’t fun!

50 mph wind and sleet

It got to the point where I could hardly stand to take a picture.

 

Any thoughts of having a fun evening in Margate were shattered. Better days out can be found in my coastal walks blog below; as well in my archives you can read all of my blogs from 2012. Coastal walks

Looking forward?

Better times are out there somewhere but who knows when all this Pandemic will come to an end. Could take years. Do any of you out there have any interesting experiences or worst walks you might like to share? Please do

@ julieconnelly@me.com

In the meantime. Here is a link to a PDF version of the coastal walk, Ramsgate to Margate Beach Roamer

 

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Sep
2020

Faversham to Whitstable

Walking from Faversham to Whitstable

The walking distance from Faversham to Whitstable is roughly about 10 miles. While heading through Faversham a historic market town in Kent, I felt that I had to come back and just make a day of it. There is so much history in the town, which I didn’t have the time to appreciate. I had a return ticket to Whitstable and that’s where I was heading.

Oyster Bay in Faversham at the edge of the Boat Yard.

 

After a brief walk through the town, we came to a boatyard

I  came across the walk on The Saturday Walkers group. https://www.facebook.com/groups/Saturday.walkers.club

You can find a whole range of walks available to download into PDF

The first part of the walk from Faversham to Whitstable was by far the best. Walking through the old ship repair yard out onto the Creek leading further out onto the swale. The landscape changed, it became remote with only the sound of wild birds and the sight of open sky to keep us entertained.

Old timber in the boatyard.

An old railway carriage is suitably rustic with wild weeds growing into it.

 

Anyone who has read my blogs will know I love old towns and I am especially fond of boats, docks, rivers, and industrial wastelands!

see my blog about the  Excel/ Docklands & Trinity Buoy Wharf

A boat somewhat past its sell-by date lies in the marshy creek broken but still alive as a sculpture in it’s crumbled splendor.

Faversham Creek where the walk really starts.

I love the desolation in this picture, I don’t know why exactly, I think it just feels open and allows the mind to wander- far away from the world of computers, words and rules. Creeks seem to create an atmosphere and I’m sure there are many a tale to be told of adventures and history at Faversham Creek, of which I will explore in my day in Faversham Post later in the year.Two sheep huddled in the bramble, I think they are trying to get some shade; it was unseasonably hot.

A sculpture along the seafront as we head into open sea front at Seasalter near Whitstable.I love this homemade sculpture situated along the sea wall as we walk into Seasalter just before Whitstable

As Andy Warhol said Images are worth repeating. I mention him as I had recently been to his exhibition at The Tate and repetition was his trademark.

 

Arriving at Whitstable

It was hot and the Old  Neptune Bar on the seafront was crowded. We headed off around the back to a bar called The Smack. I wasn’t keen on it as we had to sit in the back garden with the sun beating on our heads. After walking 9 – 10 miles we wanted some shade.  My favorite place in Whitstable is The Handsome Sam, a great bar where you can drink locally brewed, beers, ciders, and wine.

https://www.facebook.com/thehandsomesam/photos/a.946863342010437/1043607299002707

 

Newcastle Upon Tyne In lockdown,

Yet another plan ruined. My next port of call was to visit South Shields, Northumberland, and Kielder forest. A long weekend with a couple of long walks, and catching up with friends and just spending time in the North East which I always find relaxing. Alas, it wasn’t meant to be. Instead, I have to contend with something closer at home. More on that next month probably in the Kent area.

 

 

 

 

Aug
2020

A DAY OUT IN HASTINGS

Walking from Bexhill to Hastings

I had intended to get off at Hastings and head up to the hilltop to the Castle in Hastings.  That was the plan. On the day, due to the humidity and length of the journey,  (  We had taken the slow train from victoria) and were glad to get off the train earlier at Bexhill on sea, to walk down to the seafront for a straight and flat walk to Hastings.  We still had our day out in Hastings, although we managed to avoid any serious hill walking.

3 figurines, a cyclist, a vocalist, and a cricket batter!!!

I have over the years had loads of days out, walking in hastings with some serious hill walking;as well as  walking from Rye to Hastings- Hastings to Rye and comparing Hastings to london etc, see an old post here.

Hastings/London

Walking along a quiet path by the seafront.

 The castle in the distance. Normally I would be up there straightaway.

 

There are many interesting buildings in Hastings.

I could just do a blog on some of the many interesting buildings. Here is one of an old house near the pub First in Last Out.

 

I love the colour scheme & design of this shop window with the flat above it. 

 

 Hastings pubs

 The first in Last out is an interesting pub, just a little bit off the main high street in the old town. I wasn’t sure how busy the place would be and had eaten a packed lunch on the beach. It did the trick and left enough room to sample a few local beers. The First in Last Out is also a brewery. (FILO)https://www.thefilo.co.uk

The first in last out had a good selection of Germans beers. I didn’t sample the menu on this occasion but will do next time.

It was fairly crowded in the old town, but the pubs managed to control a certain amount of ‘social distancing’. It was too humid to do much walking. At the end of the day, the walk came to about 9.5 miles so not bad

 

Spend more time in the wild

Abbie Barnes has got it together with a team to make videos of some of her wild walking. Going out into the wild has always been my desire but I seem to be destined to fight battles at my place of work, and other such endeavors.

To be fair to myself,( and sorry to those who have heard me bleat on about it.) I had planned to go on a hillwalking retreat in Scotland and it was cancelled due to the corvid situation. I  have been forced to mooch and mope a lot! but somewhere over the rainbow, there is a pot of gold and I am looking out for it.

Funnily enough, part of the Rob Roy walk was very close to the hill walking retreat in an area called,  Balquhidder, Lochearnhead.  last time I was up there I stumbled across Rob Roys’s grave; when out walking!

ROB ROY WALK SCOTLAND this is a rather long video but gives you a good viewing of the area.

Making videos is something I plan to start doing, as complimentary to my blog. A lot of people prefer video to text and I understand that but my blog isn’t strictly about walking, so any video will be a side feature.

 

Over the Rainbow in Wales
I have wanted to go walking in Wales for ages, and a friend of a friend advertised their place on Face book.  A secluded vegetarian/vegan guest house in Cardigan Bay, only 3 miles from the west Wales coast. I need to plan something for next spring. Although Plans seem a bit pointless right now, it’s on the list.

The next walk will be Faversham to Whitstable, I haven’t done this one yet. I have printed out the instructions from The Saturday walkers club website, they can be found on FaceBook.

Until then, a video from the retreat that never was!

 

 

Jul
2020

I want to walk the world!

 

I aspire to walk the world across the hilltops! 

My plan was to start with a hillwalking course in Scotland. I wanted to develop my hillwalking skills and learn more about the great outdoors; skills such as  map reading and as well as perseverance in the face of adversity! My desire to walk the world has gone on hold. It will have to wait! 

The retreat I had planned to go was called Dhanasoka  It is a Buddhist retreat, and located in an old hotel facing a loch. it is a beautiful and tranquil spot.

Beautiful Lake

Increasingly frustrated from all of the cancelled events of the year, I looked for walks closer to home but wanted to walk somewhere new.

 One of the walk leaders in The South Bank Walking Group suggested a route I could do which was not off-limits. A manageable distance from Brixton/Herne hill.

 

Walking from Eynsford to Shoreham (Kent)

Walking from Eynsford to Shoreham Kent.

 

The walk started at Eynsford which is a pretty village in Kent, with a river running through it.

My first observation was that it was popular for cyclists.  One of the Ramblers had emailed me a  summary of the walk-in hand.  The first part was straightforward enough, we found the Roman Villa.

We then forged ahead and came to Lullingstone Castle.

I’m not a big fan of visiting castles but will mention it anyway.  It is a historic family mansion frequented by Henry V11 (he got everywhere that one!) and Queen Anne, it also home of the World of Garden of Plants.

http://www.lullingstonecastle.co.uk

 

Following the walk ‘instructions’! left us perplexed at times.

 

‘follow the path from the centre by going near a hedge, to begin with!’Which path, what hedge? 

We backtracked to Lullingstone Park where we saw the Lavender fields.  At this point, I knew from my brief research that we were about two miles to Shoreham Station. We got there in the end and very lovely it was too. https://www.castlefarmkent.co.uk/pages/visit-us

East Dean to Seaford

Arriving at East Dean village, I headed to the Tiger Inn to use the available loo. The sign in the toilets read, 

“Today is the tomorrow we worried about yesterday and all is well.” 

I thought it was apt, as my anxiety had been difficult managing and I wasn’t sure about coming down to the coast.  Should I be doing this, aren’t we still in a pandemic? I don’t know anymore, I wore my mask on the train and sat alone.

Walking from East Dean to Cuckmere Valley is the easiest route which includes the Seven Sisters. I still clocked up over 8 miles. The downs were fairly empty, compared to the parks of London anyway. That was a welcome sight 

Sheep far up on the hilltop among the clouds.

Three sitting looking at the view out at the Seven Sisters

 

 It’s an easy walk from East Dean Village to Cuckmere Valley, and the walk includes the ups and downs of The Seven Sisters.

I always feel happy when I have reached Malcolm’s gate, the gateway to the seven sisters cliffs.

 

More Coastal walks

A good stretch for the old legs, and a view for the eyes

Heading back towards Cuckmere Valley

Cuckmere Valley

 

EXCEAT

I have been walking in this area for some years and always been confused as to why some people call the area around Cuckmere Valley, Exceat. Now I understand what they are referring to.  I eventually did my research to see what the story was.

Exceat as a village in East Sussex no longer exists but was located by the Seven Sisters Visitors centre in the Cuckmere Valley, between Friston and Seaford.

Some people still say Exceat for the area where The Seven Sisters Visitors centre! is situated. The village was founded in Saxon times hidden away from the weather in the valleys. The black death & subsequent raids by the French, led to the village being abandoned  & the area became part of West Dean. For more info on the area start with the link below.:

 https://www.sevensisters.org.uk

In my neighborhood

At last some sense from Lambeth council regarding the traffic in my neighborhood.  It has been officially recognised that there has been a 300% increase in speed since COVID 19compared to last year

The council has set up a low traffic neighborhood scheme diverting traffic away from Railton Road and adjourning roads off it. Anyone living in the area is being encouraged to join the action group. This is for a trial period of only 9-18 months and to make it permanent the council must by law, consult with all of us.www.LowTrafficActionGroup.org to join(highly recommended if you want to live in a great area: email: hello@LowActionTrafficGroup.org


Until next time I should do at least one coastal walk in August.

Until then keep on keeping on.