Walking the Green London Way, from Wimbledon to Richmond Park.

Four members met on January 28th 2024 (myself, Richard, Trevor and Eileen) to continue walking the Green London Way. I’d started doing this “around London” route in 2014, but had to stop due to family circumstances in 2016. (See here for the last in that series)

It was good to pick up where we left off. The weather couldn’t have been better – an unexpectedly sunny and warm day, providing lots of promises of spring on-the-way. We began in Wimbledon itself, as we walked to Wimbledon Common, looking at the huge variety of houses reflecting the different populations which had settled there as a result of the spread of coaches, trains and trams. We passed what must be one of the oddest listed building in London – a Victorian electricity transformer, and heard about the origins of the first World Tennis Championship (in 1877) including the prophecy (by the first champion) that “Lawn tennis will never become one of the great games”.

The main part of the walk took us across Wimbledon Common, by far the largest in London. It included a visit to Cannizaro Park. As in previous walks, we discovered how we could easily have lost access to this former estate, had it not been for the persistent efforts of ‘ordinary’ people who prevented the common being sold-off and enclosed in the 1870s. Today, even in winter, the variety of natural habitats, flora and fauna was obvious. The nightingales might now be long gone, but there was no dearth of beauty everywhere we went. The Windmill – once a quite dangerous place as well as a popular duelling spot, provided a welcome break.

The last leg of the walk took us through a forested area of the common. This proved to be a bit of a challenge. Writing this, I NOW know where I went wrong! I set off from the wrong corner of the car park and the wrong entrance to a golf club (there are a lot). Sorry folks. Fortunately (especially when the leader had forgotten to put a back-up map in her rucksack), the wonderful EFOG team work came into play when I finally admitted I was definitely lost! By combining knowledge from compass and map reading sessions, similar experiences, asking passers-by, and trying to interpret different phone ‘trackers’, we finally got back on track and reached Beverley Brook. Even so, we had walked an estimated 8 miles instead of 6 (the original maximum estimate). Hopefully, that won’t put off my 3 amigos (or anyone else) from walking with me again in future? I promise I will not forget the map again – and will bring a compass as well.

The next walk in this series, from Richmond Park to Kew Bridge will be on Sunday April 14th. “Will anyone be brave enough to come?” I ask. I hope so.

Pam,  31st January 2024