Plaistow – Woolwich Arsenal Walk – 15.08.2010

Plaistow,  our starting point for the walk.  This area has a history of having links with the notorious highwayman Dick Turpin (he has cropped up in my blogs before!) as well the football player Bobby Moore!  Although we didn’t stay to explore the area this time.  We were using the “Greenway” walk  towards Beckton.

It was a very strange little route.  For a long time I thought it may be an old railway line to the docks, but I have researched this and can confirm that in fact it was constructed on a old sewer! (At least that would explain the smell!!)  It was still pleasant enough to walk along.  We noted that some of the gates had been replaced recently and the pathways had been renovated.    The path then came to a junction,  and making an educated guess when we crossed the road, we managed to rejoin the “Greenway” which was not quite visible from the path we had just left.  Sadly, this part of the path not been looked after – in fact it is in a bad state of repair.

From 2010 – 15.08.2010 – Plaistow – Woolwich

We noted a sign to “Beckton Alps” – which pointed over a small bridge –  was completely blocked off – such a shame.  We had seen people in the distance on top of the “alps” they must have climbed to the top from the other side!  Why was it called Beckton Alps?  Well from 1989 to 2001 a dry ski slope operated there! Although research indicates that the name may predate this particularly as this is said to be the highest artificial hill in London!

Walking down the path, past Britvic Factory (pity we couldn’t pop in for a  drink we were getting thirsty) the path ended again but with no signs as to left or right!   We made a decision as to which direction to take and we found ourselves looking at a shopping centre and Beckton Gas Works.   So what is so exciting about a Gas Works?  Well did you know that Stanley Kubrick filmed Full Metal Jacket here? Turning an abandoned East London Gas Works into Vietnam?  Did you also know that James Bond For Your Eyes Only opening scene was also filmed here!  I could go on!

Although the looking at the Gas Works was  interesting, we had to return to the path we came off !   It was not long before the path came out on to the roadway,  which had an very odd looking bridge, in fact it reminded me of something that should have been in an old Flash Gordon movie (there was no explanation, however, as to what this bridge was! – all I could find was something about Design for London??)

From 2010 – 15.08.2010 – Plaistow – Woolwich

We had no choice but to go in one direction – as the path was blocked off over the bridge.  It was a little confusing when we reached the roundabout, however, as when we looked at the signs either side of the road, said North Woolwich – pointing both ways! :-O   Logic said to keep going away from the direction we just came from! In fact we ended up rejoining the “Greenway” / Capital Ring by the East London University.  It was here we sat in front of the Royal Albert Dock and ate our sandwiches and watched planes take off from London City Airport.   Despite the noise was rather relaxing!!

Eventually we decided to take up our walk again.  Crossing the “Sir Steve Redgrave Bridge” – Sir Steve Redgrave is Olympic Gold Medalist Rower which the bridge was named after – it was rather a scary bridge to be honest in places – since the wind just whistled through – I was half expecting tumbleweed to blow across the bridge at any minute!

From 2010 – 15.08.2010 – Plaistow – Woolwich

I quite amazed by the lock gates that when then came across – they were bigger than the ones I had seen on the Grand Union Canal or on the River Lea! – I can only imagine the size of ship that could be using these docks!  The path was tad confusing at this point so we had to improvise a little bit – until we reached Royal Victoria Gardens.  Interestingly it had a very strange item on display there.  Which I can only describe to look like a large Microscope.  In fact it was  “Steam Hammer” –  which was taken from blacksmith’s shops from the Royal Albert’s dock – which would have been on the site of the London City Airport.

We had reached the Thames path, and it was nice to find a lovely to find a quote which I can Partly identify with if I have a bad day I go for a walk…” (the full quote is in available on my photos!)    A disused station caught my eye – North Woolwich Station to be precise – now why would that be interesting? In fact this was used to be the Great Eastern Railway Museum – which sadly closed at the beginning 2009 – so I missed it by a year! -but I am aware some of the exhibits have been distributed to the Epping & Ongar Steam Railway which is being restored! I walked over the the railway last year click here if you missed it!.

We had to leave this side of the Thames behind, as the “Greenway” walk continues across the Thames. This means we had to hitch a lift with the Woolwich Ferry. A brief journey but lovely nevertheless

From 2010 – 15.08.2010 – Plaistow – Woolwich

Following the road to our journeys end may not have been the most exciting route that we had planned, but had did have a little surprise in store.  As with many other places we have walked Woolwich is undergoing a lot of revnovation, it was nice to actually see at least one of the place that did not have any boards in front of it – The Royal Arsenal.  Addmittedly most of the area being redeveloped for luxury flats or for businesses – but the Royal Artillery Firepower museum still remains.  I was surprised to learn that an artillery of some sort has been on this site since the 16th Century – by order of Henry VIII ….

Leaving the Arsenal behind, we turned towards the station, and passed the recently restored gates. When we were back at the station, I noted that if we had looked properly last time we came out of the station we may have actually noticed the gates :-)!!

All my photos for this walk can be found if you click on the following –

2010 – 15.08.2010 – Plaistow – Woolwich



3 responses to “Plaistow – Woolwich Arsenal Walk – 15.08.2010

  1. Pingback: 2010 – 10.10.2010 – Barking – Roding Valley Walk « Karen's Sponsored Walks Around Cornwall & Scotland

  2. Pingback: Woolwich Arsenal – Belvedere Walk – 02.10.2011 « Karen's Sponsored Walks

  3. Pingback: Harrow on the Hill – South Harrow Walk – 03.03.2013 « Karen's Sponsored Walks

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