Tag Archives: olympics

Wandering: Box Hill, Surrey

14 Jun

The recent extended Diamond Jubilee Bank Holiday weekend gave my friend Chris and I chance to get out for a walk, unfortunately the less than ideal weather conditions meant that it was only going to be a brief walk.

Short of time we decided to head to Box Hill near the town of Dorking, Surrey. Box Hill is just a short train ride from Horsham and situated on the North Downs. If we didn’t have time to get out onto the South Downs then the North Downs would have to do.

Box Hill is also going to be playing its part in the London Olympics. It is hosting part of the cycling road race (both the womens and mens races) and we were interested to see how preparations were going. The cyclists will be racing up and down Box Hill as part of the road race before heading back into London from whence they came.

They will no doubt appreciate the newly re-surfaced road, but the freshly erected signs will probably be no more than a blur as they whizz past, on the way from Dorking to the top of the hill.

Apart from the new road surface and signs there didn’t seem to be a great deal to indicate that the Olympics were coming. There has been a bit of clearance along the roadside, where spectators will be crowded, but apart from that you could be forgiven for not noticing the approaching furore.

Of course the cyclists will not have time to enjoy the view from the top of Box Hill over the town of Dorking, Surrey. A view made all the better for the presence of a trig point. Nor will they have to experience the steep and slightly treacherous descent down the side of the hill, which was nice and slippery after the recent rainfall. Unfortunately that all means they will miss the joy of having to pick their way across the River Mole on the concrete stepping-stones.

The closest railway station is Box Hill and Westhumble, Westhumble is the village to west of the railway line and Box Hill is east of the station. It is a delightful little station which although short on facilities has quite a reasonable service. It’s survival is probably down to its role as a gateway to the North Downs.

When we visited it was receiving the attention of railworkers, who were busy excavating the southern end of the station, presumably to enable extension of the platforms in anticipation of the increase in traffic that the Olympics will bring.

In a fitting tribute to forthcoming Olympic games the workers were taking part in a their own relay. Taking it in turns to push wheelbarrows full of stones and soil along the length of the platform the skip waiting outside the station.

Copyright © 2012 John Gasson.
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Unplugged: Capital Ring – Finsbury Park to Plaistow

27 Nov

It has been a while since my friend Chris and I went to London and walked a section of the Capital Ring, but despite the cold weather that is what we did today. When I say cold, it was only around freezing but still a lot colder than I am used to walking in. Despite the cold this has to have been one of my favourite sections of the walk.

We started back at Finsbury Park railway station and headed across the Finsbury Park and on to Clissold Park and Stoke Newington. Here the path took us through Abney Park Cemetery, which is a lovely cemetery which although it looks overgrown and neglected is actually a nature reserve and conservation area. There are some amazing memorials here and I could have spent hours exploring, one of the most prominent graves is that pictured below of William Booth, founder of the Salvation Army.

From Stoke Newington the path continues in a north-eastern direction to Springfield Park and the River Lea, the walk then follows the river roughly south-east. There was quite a lot of activity on the river (narrowboats, canoes and swans) and the path follows this until Old Ford Lock, where the path joins The Greenway.

The Greenway is another named path which is along the top of a sewer. I have followed many things over my years of walking, from disused railways to rivers and canals, but I think this is the first time I have followed a sewer. The sewer in question is the Northern Outfall Sewer and it is elevated above the surroundings, giving some great views.

The Greenway crosses the site of the London 2012 olympics and there are excellent views of the construction works in progress. The photo above shows the main olympic stadium to the north of The Greenway. Although it looks quite bright, the weather took a turn for the worse, it didn’t actually rain (or snow) but it did come over very dark and threatening.

Further along The Greenway there were some interesting views across to Canary Wharf (pictured below), acting as a reminder that we are nearing the end of the Capital Ring, on the bank of the River Thames. Hopefully in a couple of weeks we will be back up to London to complete the final section before Christmas.

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