The longer I leave it between posts, the further behind I fall with posting about these walks. I currently have 5 to write up and now that the weather is improving I imagine I will be getting out even more.
On the 12th of March I organised a work meeting at the Horniman Cafe. It seemed like it was to be a good day, so when my colleague asked me where we should meet, I instantly thought about getting away from the house and into some green space.
I left the house a little early (on purpose) and decided to walk to the Horniman, but take a sudden and last minute diversion up Eliot Bank. This hill has been intriguing me for some time. There is something about these residential streets that makes you feel like you are trespassing without an invitation, when in fact they are still public highways.
I headed up the steep hill opposite Honor Oak Road and the museum to find out what lay at the top. The area is called "Forest Estate" and the buildings at this level are all 60's/70's apartment blocks. They must have a pretty good view although I am not sure of the longevity of anything built at that time.
Once you reach the top there is a central green with tall buildings facing North, and smaller family terraced housing around the other sides. This is a nicely secluded spot, and certainly was quiet compared to the traffic on the road below.
Just off this green is a side road called Knapdale Close that skirts behind the impressive Forest Grove building (accesible from Taymount Rise - see my separate walk) and down to the back of the Shackleton Close Estate (whose buildings, see here on the left, I now learn, are designed in a 'Streamline Moderne' Art Deco style).
Following the main road from the green you pass an attractive building called Phoenix House which I believe is a health clinic of some sort (nice building to house it in) to one of the worst maintained roads I have seen in London. I guess this is one way to ensure that this does not become a 'rat-run' to Crystal Palace for daily commuters.
[Edit 12/04/2007: A Flickr.com member called Mayor Steve left me this message concerning this road:
"Sorry to be pedantic but as I understand it this is not on Lewisham's priority list because it isn't a Lewisham road! Its an unadopted road which is the responsibility of the residents living there.
I have no idea or evidence that this was THE Mayor Steve we all know, but sure sounds like I annoyed someone at the Council]
The road emerges on the roundabout at the top of Sydenham Hill, so I am skirting with the borders of SE23 here, and as my colleague will eventually wonder where I am, I decide to head back down the hill - all 12% (+ tilt) of it.
The route down is down Sydenham Hill, then down Sydenham Rise. The triangle that this creates, with London Road, currently has a lovely little playground much loved by my daughter. However, it has a reputation as an old 'plague' burial ground. I believe that this is without substance, but this is a question I need to get "my mate Steve" to confirm for me.
After my meeting at the museum, I used the opportunity to sneak up the roads around Surrey Mount. There are some houses here, between the museum and the Tesco garage on the corner of Honor Oak Road, that back onto the museum. Nothing much to report (I had hoped to find Frederick Horniman's House, but I gather that was demolished) but my quest is to walk ALL SE23 streets in 2007, so must do my best.
I did not have the time to climb up inside the buildings on Eliot Bank as I would have liked, but I have been told the view is great. This was another walk that opened my eyes to parts of Forest Hill that were totally new to me and connected the dots with other walks on other routes. All in all, a short walk, but a good one.
[Edit 8 April: If all works as planned, this link should take you to a map of the route courtesy of Google Maps]