Tuesday, 6 February 2007

January Sunshine

January 15th

The sun was shining on a beautiful day, so it was a day to head UP! Up the hill with the camera in the hope that the view would be good. The great thing about winter sun is that we get less of the humid haze of the warm days, so you can see better and further.

This walk started along Devonshire Road, parallel to the railway. The first thing that strikes me on this road is always the appearance, in the middle of otherwise unremarkable Victorian terraced houses, an old post office - red brick, large windows, fancy scrolls and set back from the road. Of course, it is closed now (when did this happen?) and it is now the offices of a local building firm who must be doing quite good business. At least we have preserved some of the heritage of the area.

Walking along Devonshire Road you come across a whole mixture of styles and sizes of houses, from 4 story terraced to 50's semis, older semi detached houses with elegant small gardens and trees growing up the front, then a series of council flat buildings. That's Forest Hill! That's London!

Left at Ewelme Road, up the steep hill, meeting Honor Oak Road (again, so I need a new route today) and along here. The views are already spectacular. London and Kent spread out on a vast plain to the East and South East from here. We seem to be the last vantage point.

Walking along this road I come across Hamilton House, another lovely Victorian (or is this one Edwardian?) construction that must, at one time, have been a great house. Like so many others, this has been converted to a rest home. It is good that they are kept intact rather than partitioned for flats, but I am never sure that the interior arrangements of such buildings are suitable for 21st century London living. I wonder what that is like?

I head on and come across a gate between houses with what appears to be an avenue of trees either side of a path. It is obviously not used any more, so it intrigues me, but there is no access, so I bide my time till I can check it out on Google Maps (these are GREAT!).

I take a left up Canonbie Road, and am rewarded with a great view North to the City. Unfortunately I need more of a zoom lense, but the photos are OK. There has been a lot of climbing to this point, and the plan was to cross along the top of the hill to the Horniman, but I need to go down first. On the way down I find a link to Wood Vale from Westwood Park I wasn't aware of. I take a quick detour down there to see the shops I have heard about but not visited. Outside of the butchers (apparently very good by the way) is a strange site of an old fashioned New York cab. Weird! Fascinating!

Now back along Westwood park to the side/back entrance to Horniman Gardens. This actually then links to a path that runs outside the gardens and is a beautiful secluded walk on a sunny day, but again not to be recommended on an evening.

At the end of this, almost on the South Circular, is access to the Horniman Railway Nature Trail ( a topic for a future walk) where I get a nice shot of the sky over Sydenham Hill. Back along the South Circular, and home.

It was a longer walk than planned, but I made a few discoveries on the way and it was good for the heart.

This is one worth doing again!

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