In 1977, the London Boroughs of Bexley, Bromley, Greenwich and Lewisham created the South East London Green Chain. Today, it links almost 300 open spaces – from playing fields to ancient woodlands – and has ensured wild areas are preserved amid the urban sprawl. These provide homes for a wealth of wildlife, including foxes, voles, woodpeckers and even ring-necked parakeets. This walk is well marked – simply follow Green Chain (GC) signs.
From Crystal Palace station, walk east through Crystal Palace Park, past the sports stadium and leave the park via Penge exit, near the café; walk along Penge High Street, under railway bridges. Turn left down Kingswood Road, then right on Station Road. At Penge East station, cross the railway bridge.
1. 1.5 MILES
Turn right down Lennard Road, then left on Maitland Road; walk through Alexandra Rec Ground. Exit far right, turning right down a lane, then right on to Trewsbury Road. Turn left down a lane with a school on your left. At House Road turn right; then left onto Lennard Road. Turn right into Cator Park; follow signs through the park. Turn left at a road, then right at a mini roundabout.
Take the tunnel under New Beckenham station, turn left down Copers Cope Road and then right down Brackley Road. Turn left down Worsley Bridge Road, then right on Stump’s Hill Lane. Follow the signs into Beckenham Place Park – one of the few remaining areas of ancient woodland in
Walk past the golf course to the clubhouse. Turn left, then right, and follow the GC signs left around the fairway. At a junction of paths, follow the GC sign for Verdant Lane. The path winds through the park; at the north edge veer right towards the sports ground to emerge onto
Old Bromley Road.
2. 4.5 MILES
Walk on to a big junction. Cross Oakridge Road and go through a park gate to follow Downham Woodland Walk. Parts of the walk date to 1805. After a mile, emerge on Undershaw Road, turn left down Woodbank Road, right down Whitefoot Terrace and straight down Reigate Road. Turn left into a park to join Railway Children Walk; author Edith Nesbitt lived near here in the 1890s.
Cross the railway bridge and carry straight on. At the road, turn right, then left down Coopers Lane. At the end turn right then left onto Marvels Lane. At the river, by a GC sign, turn right down the lane and carry on to enter Chinbrook Meadows.
Emerge from meadows and turn right, uphill. At the cemetery, turn right, then left down the narrow lane. At a junction of paths, turn left, signed to Chislehurst.
3. 7.5 MILES
Enter Elmstead Woods and turn left alongside a fence. Take the first right, signed GC, and walk through the woods. Follow the sign left and carry on through woods. At the road, turn left, then right at Elmstead Day Centre. Walk through the wood, and turn left at a path. At the road, turn right into Chislehurst.
Mostly park paths and streets; a few potentially muddy sections through woods.
HOW TO GET THERE
By public transport:
Crystal Palace and Chislehurst train stations connect to central London (approx 25 minutes).
The Rambler’s Rest
Mill Place, Chislehurst
☎ 020 8467 1734
Greenwich SE9 5QE
☎ 020 8294 2548
Open Mon, Tue, Wed and Sun, mostly 10am-5pm. Adults £8.30, children £4.20.
Ordnance Survey Explorer Map 161
Grid ref: TQ 332 705
PO Box 22119,
London SE18 6WY
☎ 020 8921 5028