Following on from my challenge to actually walk around London on the London Loop Path, I’m now walking around London again to support for London’s Air Ambulance Charity this time by walking the equivalent length of the London border.
Miles for Missions is a challenge to complete 116 miles between June 21st and midnight 20th September, to help raise vital funds for this lifesaving service.
London’s Air Ambulance is the charity that delivers an advanced trauma team to London’s most seriously injured patients. Your donation will help save more lives by keeping the helicopter in the air and the rapid response cars on the road, ready for when they are needed most. By providing intervention as quickly as possible after injury, London’s Air Ambulance Charity aims to give patients the best chance of survival, and best quality of life, after trauma.
The final 10 miles or so, of my circumnavigation of London following the London Loop path for the most part following the route of the Hogsmill River.
For the last 30 years the Hogsmill has always brought to mind the almost canal like section in Kingston, notable for it’s shopping trolleys and other dumped rubbish midstream and less than active surroundings, however at the start of the route in Ewell it’s a beautiful country stream.
The route of the Loop follows the Hogmill north through a series of nature reserves and is surpassingly rural despite passing though Suburban London.
Only on two occasions at Old Malden and at Kingston does the path separate from the river, and to be honest as a result there are few points of interest along the route until you reach Kingston and the finish for me in Bushy Park.
I began to recognise more and more of the route North of Malden Manor where the path takes you below the busy A3 and into Berrylands.
Passing by the Knights park Campus of Kingston University was very much home territory, I always though this was the part of the institution the “Cool Kids” went to unlike us Geeks at Penrhyn Road !
The section of the path though Kingston itself is poorly signposted so you really need to follow the route as best you can from the map, although for some reason the “official” route takes you on the other bank of the Hogsmill from the Coronation Stone – Kingston’s must see point of interest.
The Coronation Stone s believed to have been the used for the coronation of seven Anglo-Saxon kings in the tenth century, although at a different site, the ancient church of St Mary which no longer exists.
A few hundred metres from the Stone, the Hogsmill meets the Thames, and for me it’s only a mile or so across Kingston Bridge to my starting point back on the Chestnut Avenue in Bushy Park.
So my lockdown adventure is complete, it took a little longer than expected as a resulting of the last stay at home regulations but I really enjoyed seeing parts of the London Suburbs I had not visited and to really understand just how fortunate we are that London has such a discrete boundary, the result of planning in the 1950’s mean there really is a Green Belt around London.
If you would like a copy of my actual walking route the kml file is here, which was used to produce the following movie in Google Earth for your enjoyment !
And so we come to the penultimate section of the loop, a short eight miles on a Sunday afternoon leaving another roughly eight mile section to complete.
Starting back at Coulsdon South station the route climbs back up onto the North Downs through suburban 1930’s housing before crossing running alongside the first of many golf courses on this section at Woodcote Park.
The views from this reality high ground North towards the City of London are quite spectacular, and I have a soft spot of the downland pastures here.
I can imagine the Lavender Fields at Mayfield would be quite the site and smell in a couple of weeks time, but the cool April and early May mean the fields offer only a hint of whats to come.
A long straight bridlepath runs just to the south of High Down Prison before the route turns north missing the town of Banstead and starting to head North for the reminder of the route.
Crossing Banstead Downs Golf Course is almost and hazardous as crossing the busy A217, it was a busy day for Golfers !
The last few miles are mostly walking through roads of upscale housing, large detached houses which you would describe as Stockbroker Belt housing !
And so onto Ewell through the lovely Nonsuch Park, the grounds of Henry VIII’s last Palace project and the end of the section at Ewell West Station.