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Long-Distance Walks with Mark Moxon

Capital Ring: Day 3: Grove Park to Crystal Palace

The Downham Woodland Walk
The Downham Woodland Walk

I woke up today with a dark cloud hanging over me, which is hardly the best frame of mind in which to tackle the longest day of the Capital Ring. Luckily this is an excellent walk that lifted my spirits and left me bouncing along... but first my black mood and I had to endure two miles of unrelenting suburban drivel, because although this section is a delight, the first hour is far from scintillating.

Beckenham Place
Beckenham Place

Beckenham Place

Beckenham Place
Beckenham Place

Happily, Beckenham Hill is, and soon after crossing the busy A21 between Downham and Southend, the Ring more than makes up for its shaky start. Beckenham Place Park is a delight, and if you're looking for a decent day's walk, you could to do worse than starting this section at Beckenham Hill station, which would cut out the dross of Grove Park and land you straight into the lovely countryside that characterises the rest of this day.

Crystal Palace transmitter
Crystal Palace transmitter

Crystal Palace

A sphinx on Crystal Palace terrace
A sphinx guarding Crystal Palace terrace

There's a slight hiccup when the Ring crosses the railway bridge at Penge East station, as suddenly the locals' skirts shrink to eye-popping length and their make-up doubles in thickness, but it's a relatively short hop through the urban backstreets of Penge, and you soon end up at Crystal Palace, which really is a wonderful place.