Wednesday, 10 July 2013

Section 3 Grove Park to Crystal Palace 5th July 2013

Dan and I set off to travel to Grove Park to walk Section3 of the Capital Ring,and started from where I left off at Grove Park Station.
On leaving the station there are Capital Rings signs,one pointing to Beckenham Place Park so I followed this after a few hundred metres,something didn't seem right and I consulted the handbook and indeed we were walking the wrong way. Soon we were back on track,so a word of advice follow the handbook instructions as the signs seem to show short cuts as well as following the path!
After a while we cross the Baring Road A2212 and along a footpath called 'Railway Children Walk' after the famous book by Edith Nesbittt who lived nearby.

We then passed into Hither Green Nature Reserve,where we saw more Green ring necked parakeets.
We walked the 24 steps up the bridge crossing over the railway line,and then through what the handbook called a landscaped area.Obviously out of date as this was just a grassed area with holes dug for gas works surrounded by barriers.We exit onto a road pass Downham Fire Station and along some roads,some with views across London.

At the end of the road we crossed to enter the Downham Woodland walk, a narrow strip of woodland that stretches for just over a mile.

 This was once part of The Great North Wood that stretched 7 miles along the hill to Croydon and Deptford before London expanded and swallowed it up. After crossing a few roads and exiting and re-entering the wood we emerge and enter Beckenham Place Park.

This was once the private estate of Beckenham Place. We follow the path and cross the River Ravensbourne.

We continue on and walk alongside Beckenham Place Golf Course into ancient woodland. We climb up steadily towards Beckenham Place.

We arrive at Beckenham Place ,which now seems to be the 19th hole for the golf course. We stopped for drinks and snacks before continuing.
John Cator had the Mansion, Beckenham Place, built in 1773.  The portico was added in 1787 from Sir Gregory Page Turner’s mansion at Wricklemarsh Park, Blackheath. Cator had bought Wricklemarsh in 1783/84 for £22,500 when Turner was in financial difficulties.

 John Cator represented Wallingford, Berkshire in 1774 and was a Sheriff of Kent in 1781. He was elected MP for Ipswich in 1784 but was unseated for bribery.

 The Mansion was leased out by  the Cator family from about 1835 to a succession of tenants and in turn has been used as a Boys’ School from 1902 to 1905, a Sanatorium from 1905 to 1934 and then as the L.C.C. Golf House. The L.C.C. purchased the land in 1928 and in 1934 the Golf Course, which previously had been private, was made open to the public

We continue through the park and out onto Southend Road A2105,walk down for 200 yards over into Stumps Hill Lane. Ahead is Kent County Cricket Club Grounds,with views to Crystal Palace beyond.

 At the end of the road we turn right and pass St Pauls Church.

At the end of the road we cross some roads to Park Road where we usae the subway to walk under New Beckenham Station.

We emerge on the other side onto Lennard Road,a long straight road which we will be on and off on 3 occasions on our walk. We take an alley between 173 and 175 into Cator Park,
Formerly the Kent House Pleasure Gardens,we cross two streams The Beck and then Chaffinch Brook.

We are now back on Lennard Road and up and down a few other roads before reaching Crystal Palace Park.
First stop was an ice cream as it was now incredibly hot, we plan to finish our walk here and not continue onto section 4 as its too hot and there is loads to see here.

The path now follows The dinosaur Trail.

The Crystal Palace Dinosaurs, also known as Dinosaur Court, are a series of sculptures of dinosaurs and extinct mammals located in Crystal Palace, London. Commissioned in 1852 and unveiled in 1854, they were the first dinosaur sculptures in the world, pre-dating the publication of Charles Darwin's On the Origin of Species by six years. Designed and sculpted by Benjamin Waterhouse Hawkins with the help of Richard Owen,they were Grade II listed buildings from 1973, extensively restored in 2002 and upgraded to Grade I listed in 2007.

Continuing we walk towards the Tv Transmitter. Television transmission has been taking place from Crystal Palace since at least the 1930s and two TV transmitter towers — Crystal Palace Transmitter (640 ft) and Croydon Transmitter (500 ft) — stand on the hill at Upper Norwood, making the district a landmark location visible from many parts of the London area. The towers may appear similar in height and design, but the Crystal Palace mast, constructed 1956, stands on a slightly higher elevation. The current Croydon tower was built in 1962.

We reach the area of The Crystal Palace Exhibtion once stood.

The Crystal Palace was a cast-iron and glass building originally erected in Hyde Park to house the Great Exhibition of 1851. Following the success of the exhibition, the palace was moved and reconstructed in 1854 in a modified and enlarged form in the grounds of the Penge Place estate at Sydenham Hill. The buildings housed the Crystal Palace School of Art, Science, and Literature and Crystal Palace School of Engineering. It attracted visitors for over seven decades.

Six sphinxes, arranged in pairs, stand on the South Wing, the South Transept and the North Transept of the Crystal Palace terraces. They are among the few remnants of the magnificent glass structure which succumbed to a tragic fire on the night of 30 November 1936.
The sphinxes are full-sized copies of an original housed in the Louvre, Paris, which dates to Egypt’s 12th Dynasty ruler, Amenemhat II (1929-1895 BC). These impressive replicas have welcomed visitors to the Crystal Palace since its original opening in 1854.

 The Crystal Palace Transmitter, at 219 m tall, is the fourth tallest structure in London, behind the Shard, One Canada Square and Heron Tower.
We made our way over to the Water Sculpture, no information could be found on this.

We walked a little further and came across The Maze.

The Crystal Palace Park circular Tea Maze is not only London’s largest maze, but also one of the biggest in the country, being 160ft in diameter and occupying a total area of nearly 2000 square yards. It has been fully rebuilt by the London Borough of Bromley as an exact replica of the original that fell into disuse during the Second World War.

I foolishly said that this maze was easy as at first we were just spiraling towards the centre, then there were dead ends, choices of path and we were lost!! 

 After some work we made it to the centre and the escape gate out!

We walked on till the Paxton Bust.
Donated by public subscription and unveiled at a Fete in June 1873, this was to mark the 20th year of the Palace and to show appreciation for the master architect. The bust originally looked towards the Palace building over the central pool (now the car park) but has been re-sited and turned to survey the park. 
Sir Joseph Paxton (3 August 1803 – 8 June 1865) was an English gardener, architect and Member of Parliament, best known for designing The Crystal Palace.

We walked onto the National Sports Centre. The National Sports Centre at Crystal Palace in south London, England is a large sports centre and athletics stadium. It was opened in 1964 in Crystal Palace Park.

 They were preparing for the forthcoming London Youth Games.
We then walked onto the Overground station of Crystal Palace for the journey home.