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South East London Parks Tour

Adam Bone from IBikeLondon guides us on a beautiful loop of parks and open space

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Enjoy quiet paths, back streets, woodland and parks on this lovely, but hilly, route starting by the River Thames.

THE ROUTE

DISTANCE: 39km (24.5 miles)

ASCENT: 289m

SUITABLE FOR: All bikes with a good range of low gears.

NEAREST STATIONS: Greenwich (both mainline and DLR services) and Cutty Sark DLR.

LINK TO ONLINE MAP: https://ridewithgps.com/routes/34432947

ROUTE GUIDE

GREENWICH

Starting the journey off at the glorious Cutty Sark, the fastest ship of its time. From Cutty Sark, head towards King William Walk, turning left at the entrance to the Old Royal Naval College. As you cycle straight through the main thoroughfare, you may well notice film and TV crews shooting another scene from a historical drama or action blockbuster. Exiting right onto Park Row, crossing straight over Romney Road at the traffic lights, you will come to the end of Park Row. You can then either opt to walk through Greenwich Park and rejoin the route at the bottom of The Avenue, or turn left and cycle along Park Vista, followed by a right up Maze Hill before entering on the cycle path through the park.

BECKENHAM PALACE PARK

Having spent a few pleasant miles weaving your way along the Waterlink Way, turning left when you reach Moremead Road, you’ll find yourself entering the park from the north. Until recently this was a public golf course, but thanks to National Lottery funding, it has been transformed with a new 283m open water lake (a recreation of the original water feature), cycling and walking tracks, and the Georgian mansion, with its vibrant arts and crafts, yoga, pop-up bar and vinyl store. After completing your lap of the trails in the park, you may find yourself needing a bit of a pick me up at The Homestead Café. If you’re very hungry by this point, their pizzas are highly recommended!

SOUTH NORWOOD COUNTRY PARK

South Norwood Country Park is 125 acres of lake, wetland and wildflower meadows. The Waterlink Way continues here. It’s a delight to have such an amazing and unique nature reserve in South London. Among the abundance of wildflowers, you’ll also be able to forage for goodies such as blackberries, raspberries, apples and hawthorn berries, the latter of which we’ve used to make delicious jelly. Stock up on water and snacks here as, after you exit the park, there are a few hills to still overcome.

CRYSTAL PALACE PARK

Leaving SNCP, you will pass the back of Birkbeck cemetery. If this causes you to ponder on such issues, there are public toilets a few miles down the road in CPP. Accessing Crystal Palace Park from its most southerly point, you will be immediately confronted by the infamous dinosaurs. After you’ve spent 10 minutes marveling at these magnificent creations, which have been here for nearly 170 years, just around the corner you’ll find Capel Manor College Park farm. You’ll be able to see sheep, alpacas, pigs, goats, Shetland ponies and rabbits amongst many other species. Once you have managed to pull yourself away from all of this, you’ll have the climb to the top of the park to conquer. Don’t forget to take a few breaths at the top to take in the fantastic views across South London and neighbouring counties.

DULWICH PARK

As just reward for your efforts to climb through the last park, you have a sweeping downhill to enjoy, as you head down Fountain Drive and College Road, noticing Dulwich College (founded in 1619 by the actor and entrepreneur, Edward Alleyn) as you fly by. If you’re in need of further sustenance by this stage, the cream teas at Dulwich Picture Gallery should be enough to satisfy. After which, you can ride across to the park on the opposite side of the road. Dulwich Park has numerous activities available including cycle hire, boating lake and café/toilets. You can also partake in horse riding, as there is a track alongside the park road, and stables located on Dulwich Common road. After all that, if you have the time, you can continue the route, heading towards Peckham Rye and Nunhead Cemetery, a conservation park, one of the Magnificent Seven cemeteries of London, with its decorated gothic Anglican chapel. Take care crossing the A2 at the always busy New Cross Gate.

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