WALKS for AMBLERS

Keith
                        MasonThe Amblers will walk up to five miles at a medium pace.



Group Coordinator: Keith Mason (click to contact)       
When

One walk per month advertised in advance here plus additional ad hoc walks, which will be called at short notice by email to group members when the weather looks good.

Where

One walk a month will continue the circuit of the Capital Ring, a 72 mile series of linked trails around London. Ad hoc walks will be fairly local to Islington but with some public transport (to the start and from the finish).

Introduction
The Amblers walking group is for those who would like to walk at a moderate pace and stop along the way to admire the view. Walks, usually with a cafe stop, are up to 5 miles at a modest pace, lasting around 2½ hours – a little less strenuous than the Shorter walks group. At present we have two strands: monthly sections of the Capital Ring on weekdays – see upcoming events ; and ad hoc local Sunday afternoon strolls close to Islington, advertised about a week before by email.

Please read our walk guidelines for this group here.

In addition to this Group if you don't see what you like here, you might want to look at our other walking groups. See our full groups listing here.

Our Next Ambles
Dates and details of our next walks are below. More will be added in time. Walk leaders indicated by initials: Keith Mason (KM) and Carol Taylor (CT). No sign-up, just turn up on the day.

Monday 20 May, Capital Ring section 4, Crystal Palace to Streatham (KM). Details here.

Wednesday 12 June (Date Change!), Capital Ring section 5, Streatham to Wimbledon Park (CT).

Monday 22 July, Capital Ring section 6A, Wimbledon Park and Common (KM).

There are also monthly Sunday afternoon local walks in the area. Details of routes and meeting points will be emailed to all members about a week before each event. No need to sign up but you must read the guidelines before you go.

Recent Walks
April, Manor House to Tottenham Hale: On a glorious day hinting at the approach of summer, sixteen of us took a Sunday afternoon stroll through the parks and pathways east of Islington, including Woodberry Wetlands, Clissold Park and mysterious (but recently much improved) Abney Park cemetery. Some walkers dropped out at the halfway point but the rest continued along culturally diverse Cazenove Road to a lunchtime stop at Springfield Park, a pleasant surprise for many walkers, a green oasis with a newly restored cafe and great views across the Lea Valley. The final stretch was along the Lea Navigation, absolutely buzzing with walkers, cyclists and rowers in the bright sunshine.

April, Capital Ring section 3B, Beckenham Place to Crystal Palace
(CT): A chilly and overcast start, with some rain when three of us set of from New Beckenham Station. We headed for Cator Park, along the leafy streets with lots of bluebells, and a well-signed route. Cator Park was very pleasant with some unusual shaped trees. We then headed for the Alexander Recreational Park, crossing the railway at East Penge. We admired the large houses, gardens and trees just getting their leaves along the way. We headed into Crystal Palace Park and straight for the cafe to warm up but it was packed out with Mums and toddlers and nowhere to sit, outside was not an option. We then proceeded along the southern route past Guy the Gorilla and the Dinosaur park. We stopped for coffee at the Station cafe. Afterwards the sun broke through and two of us wandered across the park in search of the 'Bowl', an open-air stage. We were now enjoying the warmer weather and rejoined the Northern route back to the station. Details here.

April, Highgate circular via Alexandra Palace
: On a very pleasant day for walking, sixteen Amblers and Leisurely walkers took a north London stroll, starting from Highgate station. The first section was meant to be through Highgate Woods but the City Corporation in their wisdom had decided to shut it because of high winds, so we continued, glimpsing over the fence the trees starting to spring into leaf. We continued along the northern section of the Parkland Walk, a revelation to some, with its magnificent views over the city to the south; then on into Alexandra Park, where our leisurely members stopped at the garden centre cafe. The Amblers carried on for the more challenging second half, pausing for drinks and crepes on the rather windy terrace of Alexandra Palace.  We then descended through the park, where the farmers' market was in full swing, then took the tree lined Greenway through Crouch End playing fields and the ancient oak-hornbeam Queens Wood, where a gentle climb took us back to Highgate station: about 4.5 miles in all. 

  Route on OS maps here.


March, Capital Ring section 3A, Grove Park to Beckenham Place (KM):
Nine of us set out across the leafier suburbs of south London on a 4¾ mile walk. We crossed the tracks where the Railway Children was filmed at Hither Green, then through the huge interwar Downham Estate, well designed by the LCC on garden city principles. We followed the mile long Woodland Walk that passes through the estate, a remnant of the Great North Wood. Soon after this we entered the 96 hectare Beckenham Place Park, once the country seat of John Cator, a noted 18th century Quaker MP. We explored the ornamental gardens and fine porticoed 18th century house, and visited the efficient cafe in the stable block, before the final stretch to Beckenham Hill station. Details here.

March, Ad hoc local walk:
A small select group headed south from Finsbury Park, via the Gillespie Park nature reserve, then through some little known cut-throughs to Highbury Fields and Aberdeen Park to join the New River Walk in Canonbury. We followed the ornamental linear park as far as the Angel and continued to the final destination of the New River at Sadler's Wells. Crossing Rosebery Avenue and Spa Fields we came to Clerkenwell, where we visited the remains of the St John of Jerusalem priory with its medieval chapel, gatehouse and museum, before exploring the back streets of Smithfield and arriving at our destination, Farringdon. You can see this route on OS maps (with extension to Blackfriars) here.

February, Capital Ring section 2, Falconwood to Grove Park (CT):
Twelve Amblers set out on section 2 starting at Falconwood, led by Carol. We crossed the railway into Eltham Park South, stopping briefly at the cafe. We continued to Butterfly Lane and Conduit Head, built in the 16th century to supply water for Eltham Palace. After following a few roads we crossed into Tilt Yard Approach leading to Eltham Palace, where we admired the buildings and bridge from the front gate, following on to King John's Walk with its stables and many ponies and donkeys. The ground was very muddy so we didn't cross the field to the view point. However, as the hedgerow was in winter mode we got good views across central London from the path. We decided to carry on to Grove Park Station since the path along the River Quaggy, although very muddy, was passable. At the end of section 2 we walked to the station where some stayed for refreshments and most of us caught the train back to London Bridge. Details here.

February, Camden and Regent's Park:
This was our second ad hoc weekend walk for the Ambler and Leisurely groups.  Eleven of us had a gentle stroll on what turned out to be a brilliantly sunny morning.  We set off from Camden Road, through the newly extended Camden Lock area then along the Regents Canal. Climbing Primrose Hill for the magnificent and ever changing panorama across central London, we then crossed into Regents Park. There was a distinct feeling of early spring with snowdrops and plum blossom in evidence as we continued by the boating lake to a stop for coffee at the Inner Circle cafe. Then via the Japanese garden and the Broad Walk we returned to Camden along Parkway, about 4.5 miles in all.  Detail of route here.

February, Capital Ring section 1B, Falconwood to Woolwich:
Eleven of us completed the first section of the Capital Ring (albeit with some variations — and in reverse!). We followed a five mile route starting in Eltham Forest, bare but magnificent in the dead of winter and with expansive views of central London. Then we continued up the hill through Oxleas Wood, for a break at the welcoming cafe there. Continuing past Severndroog Castle folly to Shooter's Hill, we entered the wide open prospect of Woolwich Common, dropping down past the Barracks to Woolwich itself — which seems to have become something of a U3A Islington walks hub lately — where of course some of us stayed for a very satisfactory lunch at the Dial Arch pub. Details here.

January, Archway to Kenwood:
This was an experimental walk jointly for the Ambler and Leisurely walkers, which proved popular as 18 people turned up on a cold but clear day. Starting from Archway station we climbed Highgate Hill as far as Waterlow Park, which we crossed, passing Highgate Cemetery, then through the mock Tudor Holly Lodge Estate, entering Hampstead Heath by the Highgate ponds. Then we climbed Parliament Hill to pause and admire the view, before descending to Hampstead Green, where the Leisurely walkers left us after about 2½ miles. The Amblers continued a further 2 miles, north across the Heath to the Hill Gardens with its magical pergola and then on to stately Kenwood House for lunch.

December, Capital Ring, Section 1A, Woolwich to Charlton Park:
Our walk this month was in much calmer conditions and took us from the start of the Capital Ring at the Woolwich ferry, to the Thames Barrier and then up through a series of parks in a deep and wooded valley, to Charlton House, a very fine Jacobean mansion built for a Stuart prince. From there we skirted Woolwich Common along Haha Road, turning back down the hill to Woolwich itself and the seasonal comforts of a welcoming pub. Details here.

November, Capital Ring, Royal Victoria Docks to Woolwich Arsenal:
On a wild and windy but mostly sunny day, this month's amble took us on a historical tour of the East End, starting at Royal Victoria Dock, opened in 1855 and central to London's international trade until the 1960s. After a period of dereliction the area has since been redeveloped with lots of construction still under way. Starting by the GLA's new City Hall, designed by Wilkinson Eyre, and the Thames cable car, we walked through the vast halls of the Excel Centre then joined the Capital Ring's section 15 through Beckton, along pleasant tree-lined avenues in full autumnal colour. Turning back to Prince Albert Dock, we had coffee by the University of East London, then crossed to the Thames, via Royal Victoria Gardens to the Woolwich free ferry, from where the Thames Barrier is visible. This marks the end of section 15 of the Capital Ring and the start of section 1. Our boat, the Dame Vera Lynn, took us efficiently across, and from there it was a short walk to the former munitions site of Woolwich Arsenal, now carefully redeveloped for mostly residential use. From there, the Elizabeth line whisked us back to central London (after a short well-earned rest for some of us in the rather splendid Dial Arch pub). Details here.

October, Capital Ring, Hackney Wick to Beckton:
Continuing with section 14 from Hackney Wick, a chilly start but we soon warmed up along the canal towpath. The sun appeared and the day warmed up; we met a few other groups along this section. We left the canal and proceeded on to the Greenway passing West Ham Stadium and soon stopped for refreshment at the View Cafe. Afterwards continuing on the Greenway, a very level path on top of one of London's sewers, we stopped to admire the splendid Victorian Abbey Mills pumping station. Soon after passing Newham University Hospital we left the Greenway to cross the A13 over a rather daunting footbridge. We entered Becton District Park and spotted a couple of colourful jays enjoying the sun. We opted to not head off to the Royal Albert Docks DLR as more refreshment was required, we went a short distance further (on section 15) to Becton Park DLR and the only cafe around. Being in such an isolated spot they did have drinks but only a small selection of pastries: although we had hoped for something a little better we all devoured them while watching the planes at City Airport across the dock. All six of us enjoyed the walk and those who were step counting decided we had done around 7+ miles. Details here.

September, Clissold Park to Hackney Wick:
we continued our trek along the Capital Ring picking up from where we left off in August. Benefitting from the traffic calming measures in place along Church St we meandered through Stoke Newington taking in Abney Cemetery. Unfortunately the main entrance/exit of Abney Cemetery is under renovation so we could only do a short tour of the overgrown resting place. From there we weaved our way to Springfield Park then picking up the River Lee followed it south through Hackney Marshes. We stopped for refreshment just before the Olympic Park and and then turned off to reach Hackney Wick. Details here.

August,
Capital Ring, Highgate to Stoke Newington: after climbing the steep path from Priory Gardens through Highgate Spinney, we (three of us) crossed over to the south part of the Parkland Walk. This was once part of a railway line and is now a very pleasant walk to Finsbury Park. It was a lovely sunny day and this part of the walk provided plenty of shade. We viewed the deserted platforms, artwork and Green Man en route. Arriving in Finsbury Park we made for the cafe for refreshment and viewed the lake. After our break we continued through the McKenzie gardens and followed the New River walk, which was mercifully dry underfoot, round to Green Lanes. Then it was a short walk to Clissold Park, where the last of the group left. Details here.


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