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Long-Distance Walks with Mark Moxon

London Loop: Day 2: Old Bexley to Jubilee Park

The River Cray
The River Cray is really beautiful on this section of the Loop

The second day of the Loop is by far the shortest, coming in at a leisurely 7.25 miles, but it manages to pack in some wonderful sights. You start off in a lovely little village, wander along a delightful rural river, pass a church with a spectacular graveyard, skirt through boring suburbia, climb a hill to a delightful pub, negotiate a huge road junction, wander through pretty forest, discover some historical monuments, and finally you arrive at the end with plenty of time for a pint or three. That's not bad for such a short walk, and if you're a masochist like me you can easily combine day 1 and this day to create a full day's walk of 16 miles. Don't push it, though; day 2 of the Loop is best savoured slowly.

The Church of All Saints
The Church of All Saints in Foots Cray, Sidcup

Through Foots Cray

Sidcup Place
Sidcup Place used to be council offices, but thankfully it's now a pub

Foots Cray itself doesn't take too long to cut through, though there is a rather long walk along the back of the houses and past the football pitch where the local football team, the Cray Wanderers, struts its stuff. It's not too long, though, and suddenly you come out into an open grassy area that can only be described as bizarre. To your left is a factory that looks like something out of a science laboratory; it's quite possibly the back end of St Mary's Hospital, but there's something distinctly chemical about its make-up. Just up from that you can make out the telltale flags of a golf course, the first of many golf courses that the Loop cuts through. And up ahead, under a couple of monstrous redwood trees, is a distant red brick building that turns out to be a pub, and a lovely little pub it is too. This is Sidcup Place, which apparently used to be council offices; this is the kind of office that most people would only dream of, and happily the council has left, leaving the building to give people pleasure instead of endless bureaucratic grief.

The moated manor house in Scadbury Park
The tumbledown brickwork of the moated manor house in Scadbury Park