Homegirl London’s Half Day Walk: Woolwich to Falconwood Capital Ring Walk. If you fancy getting out of the house and exploring the greener side of London, try this route. The Woolwich to Falconwood Capital Ring Walk is section 1 of 15 parts which takes you on a circular trail covering 78 miles. Highlights of section 1 include the Thames Barrier and a fine selection of parks, commons and woodlands in the Royal Borough of Greenwich.
Woolwich to Falconwood Capital Ring Walk Start
Before you start this walk download the PDF information which includes maps from the Transport for London Website. Travel to Woolwich Arsenal which is served by National Rail Trains and Docklands Light Railway. Homeboy and I arrived before our friend Rich and walked to The Cornerstone Café located at 9 Major Draper Street for lunch which I’d highly recommend. Homeboy tucked into fishcakes while I enjoyed the vegetarian pie and we shared a plate of salads.
Our Meal at The Cornerstone Cafe
The walk officially begins at the Woolwich Foot Tunnel, by the Southern end, which is next to the River Thames. This takes you in the direction of the Thames Barrier. The Woolwich Foot Tunnel actually goes under the river to North Woolwich and was built in 1912. You aren’t going under the tunnel, instead you walk past the ferry which takes cars and lorries across the Thames.
Woolwich to Falconwood Capital Ring Walk Highlights
As you walk along the Thames Path, you can’t miss the iconic Tate and Lyle Sugar Refinery across the river in Silvertown East London which opened in 1878.
Tate and Lyle Sugar Refinery
You will pass by two black cannons pointing out towards the River Thames. These remain for the Gun Drill Battery when the vicinity was a Naval Dockyard.
Two Black Cannons
The Thames Path becomes impassable so you need to walk through a housing estate and then an industrial estate. Before you enter Maryon Park, take a detour to the Thames Barrier which is spectacular. This is one of the largest moveable flood barriers in the world. It spans 520 metres across the River Thames with 10 steel gates to protect 125 square kilometres of central London flooding in the event of a tidal surge. The barriers are tested each month which is the best time to visit if you want to see them working. The Information Centre is located at 1 Unity Way, Woolwich, London SE18 5NJ. You will also find a café with toilets here.
Maryon Park (part of the former Maryon Wilson family estate) is your first green visual treat. This is a public park in Charlton south of the Thames Barrier which was formed from sand pits. Cox’s Mount is a point of interest which was used by the Romans as a hill fort and used to help ships on the River Thames adjust their compasses. Maryon Wilson Park and Gilbert’s Pit Local Nature Reserve are part of Maryon Park. Maryon Wilson has a lovely Animal Park with deer, goats, pigs, chickens and ducks.
Maryon Wilson Animal Park
Onward to Charlton Park which is open and flat. Charlton House is on the west part of the site. This Jacobean building has a tea room and gardens. Next is Hornfair Park, again this is quite flat and is used for various sporting activities. Then onto Woolwich Common which is a conservation area on the northern slope of Shooter’s Hill (named either after the gunnery practice on Woolwich Common or because of the highway men).
Next is Eltham Common at the foot of Shooter’s Hill which forms part of the ancient Oxleas Wood. Continue until you reach Castle Wood and you will see Severndroog Castle. This is a triangular shape which was built as a memorial to Commodore Sir William James who owned the land in the eighteen century and worked for The East India Company.
Just past the castle you will come across a row of benches on a terrace. This is the perfect spot to sit down and drink in the spectacular views across London (first picture in the article). Continue through Jack Wood, Oxleas Meadows, Shepherdleas Wood and Eltham Park North. At Eltham Park North you get a fantastic skyline view of London. On a clear day, you can The London Eye and many of the iconic city buildings. I loved all the greenery on this walk, you go from park to meadows to commons and woodland. A brilliant afternoon spent exploring London.
Woolwich to Falconwood Capital Ring Walk End
Just after Eltham Park North you will find Falconwood station in the London Borough of Bexley. The address is 1 Lingfield Crescent, London SE9 2RL. Trains go to various London stations – Charing Cross, London Bridge and Victoria. In the other direction trains go to Dartford. I noticed toilets inside the station should you need them. There are a few shops near the station which include a newsagent. You will also spot a couple of take-aways. I racked up a total of 10.8 miles (27,876 steps) walking on the day which included a walk around Woolwich Arsenal area and the detour to the Thames Barrier. I hope you can experience this walk, it was wonderful.
Author: Homegirl London. Photographs: Homegirl London. Thanks: Rich for recommending the walk and Homeboy for joining us.