London Summits Walk refreshed

I have reviewed and refreshed this, the first of my home-grown circuits of London. As well as the text editing to take in new features (such as the new infant forest at Enfield Chase) and necessary diversions (such as the use of Putney Bridge rather than the structurally unsound Hammersmith Bridge to cross the River Thames), I have recast the route into 23 sections, rather than the original 59. They will still not match everyone’s daily division, but each section now falls between 10km and 18km in length. Of course, the potential exit points within each section are still in the text.

The information leads off from the route home-page, with the same URL as before.

A word about the image. It is a cottage in Hanwell which has a tale of ecclesiastical hubris (leading to tragedy): the full story is in the notes for section 14.

Setting out from the Elizabeth Line

The Elizabeth Line has brought more of London into focus for walking. To begin at the beginning, I walked between the first two stations westbound — Abbey Wood to Woolwich. The route follows the Green Chain and its link route to Plumstead Common, then drops all the way down Burrage Road to Woolwich. Start on the south side of the station (Wilton Road entrance), and pass beneath the road flyover, following the fingerposts on the Green Chain Link. Within minutes, you are in the parkland and woodland of Lesnes Abbey Woods, and woodland alternates with common all the way to the top of Burrage Road.

About 9km with 150m climbing. Take provisions, and in autumn, wear a hat with enough cushioning to soften the blows as countless acorns and beech nuts fall out of the tree canopy.

Post-canicular site improvement

The housekeeping stretched beyond the heatwave, beyond the storms which followed, and into the autumn. I upgraded all of the major routes to make sure that each subsection in the mapping of the routes came in under 2km, about half an hour at a leisurely pace (though the timing still reflects the Naismith standard of 5kph). Narrative texts were revised and anchored to the map numeration.

These upgrades meant a complete revision for the three London circuits (London Summits Walk, Coal Tax Circuit, and Ring around the Underground, as well as the nine radial walks of the Get out of London! set.

The “story so far” for the huge Circumcardinal Walk was revised to the same conventions, and the narrative has been prepared for the remaining sections (like minutes being prepared in advance of a meeting), The same process was applied to the Chiltern Railway Walk and the set of Railway Days Out of London.

The idea of pre-writing the routes is decidedly not to skip the actual walking, but to immerse myself in the route, making the write-up a task of editing and embellishment, but also, through the use of maps, satellite images and Streetview, giving me a much greater insight into what might turn up en route. These documents will not appear on the site until I have walked and checked the individual routes.

In all, I wrote or edited almost 1500 A4 pages of text, and updated all the relevant pages on this site — quite a marathon.

Now, where are these dusty old boots I used to wear?

Canicular site improvement

It has been far too hot to get out onto my routes, so I have spent a few days improving the site. I have upgraded the pages on the Ring around the Underground, the Coal Tax Circuit, the London Summits Walk, and the nine radial walks which fill the stable of Get out of London! These improvements have produced separate links for the directions and map for each stage of the walks, and have incorporated a brief description of each stage. Route directions have been updated to reflect changes in detail.

The maps link to the OS Maps Online site. The subscription to this site is a no-brainer for any walker in Scotland, England, Wales and the Isle of Man, since it gives full overlay of routes on the always-updated 1:50000 and 1:25000 scales. In turn, this means that one may walk with A4 sheets tailored to the day’s walk — I fold the sheet down to A7 size (a little bigger than a credit card) and it makes navigation much simpler than carrying and constantly unfolding a full-sized map (which may not have the latest changes).

In addition, I have split the Ring around the Underground into four sections in order to keep the pages to a reasonable size. The radial routes were already of manageable size; the other routes were already subdivided.

The Circumcardinal rises again

After a lull, I was able to push into the fourth octant of the circumcardinal walk. The exhilarating climb out of the valley from Hemel Hempstead saw the kph slump below the hoped-for, but then there was a good succession of field-and-forest walking to Sarratt. The drop and climb in and out of the Chess valley (note — the north side of the valley is by far the steeper) completed, the walk from Chenies to Chalfont St Giles via the tip of Chorleywood (that’s the edge thereof, no aspersion on the ambience intended) was more of what had gone before. The Shire Ditch south of Chorleywood (pictured) was a good starter for the final push over Newland Park to Chalfont St Giles.

The Chiltern Hills are quintessentially “good walking”, and when I was passing through, I encountered four instances of the Duke of Edinburgh’s Award scheme: two sextets of enthusiastic girls, a group of four surly lads, and two leaders.