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    • Crossness Incinerator to Tripcock Ness

      February 7, 2022 in England ⋅ ☀️ 10 °C

      Literally 200 yards from the Belvedere Incinerator built in 2012 is the Crossness Sludge Powered Generator, also futuristic with a curved chimney, which was built in 1998; they are separated by the Crossness Nature Reserve, and the building of the former so close to the latter was contentious at the time.  Dried sewage sludge is burned here to generate renewable energy.

      The Crossness Sludge Powered Generator is adjacent to the Crossness Sewage Treatment Works.  This was opened in 1865 together with the Crossness Pumping Station as a result of the "Great Stink"; this was an event in Central London in 1858 during which the hot weather exacerbated the smell of untreated human waste and industrial effluent that was present on the banks of the River Thames - the stench from the river had become so bad that business in Parliament was affected.  The Pumping Station, a Grade I listed building, is now decommissioned but still has occasional open days as a museum since it still houses the old Beam Engines that were used to pump London's sewage into a reservoir and then out to the Thames on the ebb tide!  On the opposite side of the Thames we have views of the works at Ford Dagenham; car production stopped here in 2002, but engine manufacture continues.

      The Thames Path now follows the riverbank with the outskirts of Thamesmead on our left; Thamesmead mainly consists of social housing built from the mid-1960s onwards on former marshland on the south bank of the River Thames on the old Royal Arsenal site that extended over Plumstead Marshes and Erith Marshes - part of the large estate was used as a location for the film "A Clockwork Orange".  We see some historic cannons on the path as we proceed.

      We soon reach what was a dangerous bend where the River Thames turns south-west towards Woolwich; there is a small red lighthouse here now and the promontory is known as Tripcock Ness.  We also see an old pill box and have a view of the Barking Creek Barrier, a tidal flood barrier constructed in the 1980s as part of the Thames flood defence system; Barking Creek joins the River Roding in Essex to the River Thames.
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    • Erith Pier to Belvedere Incinerator

      February 7, 2022 in England ⋅ ⛅ 8 °C

      From Crayford Ness the route leaves the river and goes along Manor Road, from Slade Green to Erith, and turns into Appold Street before reaching the Victorian Erith Pier and Pleasure Gardens; the proposed resort was shortly lived, however, due to the opening of the Southern Offall Works at Crossness in 1865 (see next post).  The pier continued as an industrial ships deep water wharf until the 1950s when the modern, concrete, boomerang shaped pier was built (the longest in London).

      We see the old Erith Causeway, 170m long and of historic interest (but due to be replaced soon because of its state of decay) and can look out across the Thames to Coldwater Point Lighthouse, on the side, marking the tip of Rainham Marshes in Essex, now a RSPB reserve.  We walk along the path past old wharves and new wharves, with chutes and cranes for loading the ships that stop close to the several large industrial estates on our left; this is all a lot more interesting to see than it might seem!  There are also many industrial sites on the other side of the Thames here.

      We round a large bend in the river and pass the large modern quay where waste is collected from ships and barges for the futuristic looking Cory Riverside Resource Recovery facility (RRR), aka Belvedere Incinerator; this UK waste-to-energy incinerator site was opened in 2012 on the outskirts of Belvedere, the next town on after Erith.
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    • Day 345

      Walk 3 - Crayford to Bexley

      August 3, 2021 in England ⋅ ⛅ 18 °C

      The walk from Crayford to Bexley is also part of the London LOOP.  On leaving the Waterside Gardens in Crayford, it is not possible to walk further along the River Cray due to industrial development.  Crossing the road we pass through the small Tannery Garden (there used to be a tannery and brickworks in Crayford) and onto London Road (Watling Street), forking left at the junction with Bourne Road until a garage is reached; the two posts either side of this are all that remains of Crayford Cinema and on the other side of the road is Shenstone Park.  Here there is a sculpture of cows (Cows about Crayford?) illustrating another aspect of Crayford’s industrial history; cow dung and the roots of the Madder plant were used to create red dyes for silk (there used to be a silkworks in Crayford too).  We walk down the edge of a playing field to reach the River Cray; it is a pleasant walk along the river bank and after a while we reach Hall Place; this is a beautiful Tudor house on the outskirts of Crayford and on the banks of the River Cray - we divert from the London LOOP route to explore the award-winning gardens,   .  

      Hall Place is a stately home; building started in 1537 for a wealthy merchant using, in part, stone recycled from nearby former monastery, Lesnes Abbey (in what is now nearby Abbey Wood).  In 1649, the house was sold to another wealthy City merchant who added a second wing built of red bricks, doubling the size of the house, but in highly contrasting architectural styles. Today Hall Place is restored to its original Tudor and later 17th-century designs and is managed by the charity Bexley Heritage Trust. There are 65 hectares of landscaped gardens and grounds, a topiary lawn, herb garden, tropical garden and long herbaceous cottage garden-styled borders.  It was lovely to walk round some of these.

      We head back to our route and have to skirt the outside of Hall Place gardens to the railway line and cross under the A2 (aka the East Rochester Way) via an underpass where the local graffiti artists have been busy.  From here we walk along the edge of Churchfield Wood to Bexley (aka Old Bexley or Bexley Village).  Walking along the High Street into Bexley we cross the River Cray at The Old Mill; this was destroyed by fire in 1966, rebuilt in replica form and is now converted to residential use.
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    • Day 1

      Erith 2 - Riverside

      August 24, 2020 in England ⋅ ⛅ 19 °C

      We start at Riverside and Erith Pier; many years ago, there were plans to make Erith a resort because of its location - these did not work out, although it still has the longest pier in London as a result of this and it is popular with anglers. There is talk of a proposed ferry connection between Erith and Rainham in order to close the missing link of the London Loop, but what goes round comes round - there was once a ferry to Erith from the other side of the Thames which was mainly used by pilgrims on their way to Canterbury! Close to this plaque is an interesting sign showing that Robinson Crusoe stopped at Erith on his way home…

      Further along and through the Erith Riverside Gardens , we reach the place where the Swimming Pool used to be (I learnt to swim here - it was demolished in 2010 and replaced by flats) before reaching the older part of Riverside.
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      Ant Travels

      Back in time ? Or a new trip? Next week I’m doing the start of the pilgrims way!


      Nice one! Winchester to London - how many days?

      Ant Travels

      Just to Otford to complete it 4 or 5 days

    • Day 71

      Dartford, part 1; school and other

      November 2, 2020 in England ⋅ 🌬 15 °C

      Born in Erith and raised in Slade Green, but Dartford is where I spent my formative years as this where I went to secondary school; I passed the 11+ exam and went to Dartford Grammar School, DGS (my mum went to DGS for Girls round the corner) - famous alumni from DGS include Mick Jagger (see subsequent post). Although the school was founded in 1576,, the school house dates from 1864; this is where the sixth formers used to hang out at breaks etc and play the music of the day (prog rock and rock in our case). The school motto "ora et labora" means "pray and work" which I have only just found out from Google; I honestly thought it meant "play and work" - a maxim I have adhered to during my life, although not as a result of it being the school motto (which I thought it was!)

      My grandad lived with us in Slade Green for several years in the late 1960s and used to come to Dartford to go to The Malt Shovel pub to read his paper and drink real ale in the wood panelled tap bar there; unfortunately, the pub was closed when I visited on a Monday, but I have been there many times previously. It was, and still is, a Youngs pub and grandad and my uncle (his son, mum's brother) got me into real ale and I have been drinking it all my life.

      Some parts of Dartford have been modernised beyond recognition but other parts are still as they were; not far from the railway station, the Orchard Theatre has a modern clock tower by it and on the other side of town - passing through the historic centre (see next post) - we have the 1916 Dartford Central Library and Museum on the edge of Central Park.
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      Wolfgang und Heidi

      Andrew, we are looking forward to have a pint together in a pub !!!!


      .me too

    • Day 5

      Morning bird spotting on the Tahuayo

      September 20, 2016 in England ⋅ ⛅ 14 °C

      A bit of a late post but better late than never!!

      The morning of the 20th me and Rob got up early at around 5:30 to see if we could spot any hummingbirds from the hammock room, as this is when they are seen most often. And fortunately, we were lucky enough to spot one! We watched as it darted from tree to tree, so small and delicate as it hovered by the flowers. It was near enough impossible to photograph, although lucky for us it paused on a branch and had a little stretch of its wings, so we got a pretty good shot then.

      Today we set off early on the boat at around 6:30 to do some morning birdwatching before breakfast. The early morning light on the river and the lodge was beautiful and it was really serene at this time, especially with barely anyone else up and about.

      We set off along the river downstream and saw plenty of birds, especially hawks, sitting close up in the trees either side of the river. We saw a Squirrel Cuckoo, Yellow-headed Cacaras, White Ear Jacamars, Greater Ani, Swallow Wings, Black Collared Hawks and Kingfishers.
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    • Day 17

      Thames flood barrier

      September 20, 2018 in England ⋅ 🌬 20 °C

      Today I went down to the Thames Flood Barrier. I took a boat down to Greenwich and then down to the barrier. When I was in London 2 years ago I went down to Greenwich with a friend but was unable to go as far as the barrier due to time limitations. So this time I didn’t get off at Greenwich, just went down to the barrier and back. The trip down is still a great trip with lots to see. I’d forgotten just how plain London Bridge is and just how many bridges there are in such a short distance.

      One of the reasons I wanted to see the structure was due to the Doctor Who episode “The Runaway Bride”. I find so many references in both tv and books are from the UK that it is nice to see them in real life.

      I’m glad I saw and heard Big Ben last time as it is undergoing renovations so all that can be seen is one of the faces. I went around to Trafalgar Square. There was an extra lion as part of the London Design Festival. It’s fluoro orange and people were encouraged to feed it words. It would then come up with poetry using your word. It’s very garish but was an interesting activity. I submitted the word united and it came up with

      United by the waters that have flown
      On the high barn
      (I couldn’t read the next verse as it was partially obscured by the lion’s teeth)
      That music of the great winds dim and white
      And the soft harvests of the starry sky
      This foreigner who dares to reach the world
      And saves the sun and stars are shadowy to
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    • Day 11


      May 14, 2022 in England ⋅ ⛅ 10 °C

      I got up early to get to the morning tide. I went to my favorite mud larking spot which is in Woolrich. I had gone there on Wednesday or something so I was going to make an early start of it today. I arrived and the tide was really low. That was not the problem the problem was everything was covered in sludge. Green nasty sludge. I thought okay that's weird maybe I'll try further down. So I walked about a mile and tell I ran into a gal that was walking towards me covered in sludge. I asked her where the entrance was. And she told me not to bother cuz it was all mud and nastiness and she got stuck. She also looked at me funny because I didn't have my mud boots on. I slipped them over my normal shoes. So she thought I was absolutely nuts. I asked her why everything was covered in sludge today when it was fine earlier this week. She said that she's been told that when the boats don't run like on the weekends the sludge forms because the water isn't moving as much to clear off the rocks? She wasn't really sure but that was her best guess. I insisted that I needed to know where the entrance was she told me it's further down by the cannons. I'm thinking cannons? Okay I guess I can't miss those. And she was right, further down there were a couple cannons ready to shoot whatever might come up the river. I put my stuff on and went down into the sludge. It was absolutely disgusting! Be damned if I didn't get stuck. After a bit of panic I was able to get back to the stairs and said screw it. I stowed my stuff and went back home and waited for the next tide.Read more

    • Day 3

      Westminster, Starbucks und vieeel Kälte

      April 29, 2018 in England ⋅ ⛅ 7 °C

      Eine Stadtführung, bei 6 Grad, in Kleidung für mindestens 20 Grad, ist kurz gesagt KALT ! Das war die Erkenntnis des heutigen Tages. Und wieder sind wir um eine Erfahrung reicher. 😅 Auch die interessantesten Geschichten von der Freundschaft Karl des 2ten mit dem Sonnenkönig konnten unsere durchfrorenen Gebeine nicht im geringsten erwärmen 🙈 So mussten wir fluchtartig Westminster verlassen und im nahegelegenen Starbucks Zuflucht suchen. Das tat uns und unseren Handys sehr gut. Nach einer Stunde Erwärmungstherapie konnten wir uns, mit vollgeladenen Akkus, der nächsten Herausforderung: „Covent Garden“ stellen ☺️Read more

    • Day 1

      Erith 1 - Town

      August 24, 2020 in England ⋅ ⛅ 18 °C

      I was born in Erith; it was then within the historic county of Kent, but has formed part of the London Borough of Bexley in South East London since 1965.
      In Victorian times, Erith enjoyed a brief spell as a riverside resort due its pier and the day-trippers arriving on Thames pleasure boats.  The town suffered heavy bomb damage in the Second World War, mainly due its position on the riverside near the Royal Arsenal at Woolwich. This bomb damage and a gradual decline in local trade prompted major redevelopment in the 1960s; in 1961, plans were put forward to redevelop Erith into a modern, sleek shopping and working environment.....
      One of the first films I saw with my mother was the 1963 version of "Jason and the Argonauts" - with its amazing dynamation sequences by Ray Harryhausen - at the Erith Odeon cinema (it is still one of my favourite films ). I used to go there and see A and B films for sixpence (6d) and did not appreciate at the time that the building was in the Art Deco style.  The Odeon became a large Bingo Hall before being demolished and rebuilt as flats and office units; the picture shows things as they are now on the same site.
      The old Erith High Street and its side streets are long gone and this area has been replaced by the Riverside Shopping Centre.  Walking towards the river, we reach the end of what was the High Street; the White Hart pub is still there (albeit a restaurant now with a Thames Barge mural on one side), as is the Erith Playhouse and the Cross Keys pub (also a restaurant now).  At the river, we see Erith Pier (more correctly Erith Deep Water Wharf) - the longest pier in London (see Erith 2 - Riverside); from here, it is a short walk up West Street to see the Church of Saint John the Baptist. Doubling back and proceeding up Walnut Tree Road we reach the old library - Grade II listed and in a state of disrepair - before reaching the main roundabout, which has a De Luci fish mosaic sculpture at its centre; behind it we see the tall spire of Christ Church.
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    You might also know this place by the following names:

    Bexleyheath, बेक्सलीहीथ, 벡슬리히스, بیکزلیہیتھ

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