If you want to get the best out of this section of the Ring, try to do it on a clear day, because by far and away the best aspect of the walk from Crystal Palace to Streatham are the views. This is one of the hilliest parts of London, and although it makes this walk rather more tiring than 3.9 miles might sound on paper, it's worth the effort. In cloudy weather with poor visibility, though, the suburban nature of the walk might not be that thrilling, as it's the vistas peeping through the houses that make this such an enjoyable yomp.
The Ring doesn't hang around, either, as from Crystal Palace station it heads straight uphill to Belvedere Road, where you can see 19th century houses with glass rooms built on top of them, designed to make the most of the expansive view to the southeast. It's pleasant walking, if a little tiring, and all the time you can see the Crystal Palace transmitter poking its head above the tiles, as if in competition with the NTL South Norwood transmitter to the south, which also crops up on the horizon throughout the day.
There's not a great deal that excites about the first couple of miles through the suburbs of Norwood to the long and noisy section along the A215, but as soon as the Ring turns left along Biggin Hill, you're in business. Just down the hill, on the right, are some luscious allotments, but the killer is the view south over Croydon; it might be urban, but you can see the North Downs in the distance, and if you've done day 5 of the London Loop, the view should bring back some memories.
The views just keep on coming, too. After a short dip through yet more tiny remnants of the Great North Wood (which you also visit on day 3, and which gives its name to Norwood), the Ring ducks back into suburbia, but it's suburbia with yet more wonderful views. You'll go past houses that make the most of this fact, with elaborate (though somewhat tasteless) balconies facing south into the sun, but it's not long before the Ring turns off into a park called Norwood Grove, and what a lovely place it turns out to be.
Tucked away in the centre of the park is a slightly dilapidated house – also called Norwood Grove – but the surrounding gardens are far from shabby. With commanding views over Croydon and some pretty landscaping off to the east of the house, this is a great place for a breather, but make the most of it, because the rest of the day is a slow descent back into urban London.
From Norwood Grove the Ring heads west, past woodland and into Streatham Common. On your left, as you pass the car park, is the Rookery garden, which is worth a quick detour, seeing as the gardens are laid out in steep terraces that are quite unlike the rolling grass of the common. Even if you've had enough of the ups and downs of the day's walk, it's worth wandering to the edge of the top terrace, if only to take a peek down to the ornamental gardens below.
And that's about it; the Ring then crosses Streatham Common and heads down to the tumultuous A23 (Streatham High Road), where the trains await to whisk you back home. Today may be short, but like all the short legs of the Ring, it's pretty sweet.