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Long-Distance Walks with Mark Moxon

Capital Ring: Day 1: Woolwich to Falconwood

The signpost at the start of the Ring, at the entrance to the Woolwich foot tunnel
The signpost at the start of the Ring, at the entrance to the Woolwich foot tunnel

Much like its big brother, the Capital Ring starts off in a fairly gritty mood. I've clearly been unlucky, because every time I've walked along the estuary end of the Thames – on day 1 and day 15 of the London Loop, for example – the wind has howled and the clouds have lurked, and there's something rather lonely about the grey waters of the Thames in this part of the world. As it winds away from the southern end of the Woolwich Foot Tunnel on the first few steps of its 75-mile length, the Capital Ring does little except confirm this experience.

Urban Parks

The front of Charlton House
The front of Charlton House

Once you get away from the river and across the busy A206, you plunge into the Ring's first urban park. While the London Loop contains some proper countryside walking, the Ring is more about linking up London's urban green spaces, and some parks are better than others. The first park you cross, Maryon Park, is nothing to write home about, but the second, Maryon Wilson Park, is much more enjoyable. It has a children's zoo with deer, pigs and ducks, and some relaxing benches and weeping willows that make it a good spot for a break.

Shooters Hill Woods

Severndroog
Severndroog

If, like me, you enjoy wandering through urban woods, then you'll love walking through Eltham Common, Jackwood, Oxleas Wood and Eltham Park. For the first time since Woolwich, the sound of traffic is almost reduced to a whisper (though, that's a London whisper, of course – surely nowhere in London is that remote). The walking is easy and pleasant underfoot, and it's easy to lose yourself in the rhythm. It's great.