Capital Ring 5: Streatham Common to Wimbledon Park

6 April 2008

If the London Loop is the M25 for walkers, then the Capital Ring is the North and South Circular Roads for walkers, linking together green spaces to be found around London, to create a 120-kilometre inner circular walk to complement the 240-kilometre walk that is the London Loop.

Today's walk picked up where I left off in December at Streatham Common, and from there continued generally west to reach Wimbledon Park. It included a fraction of the official stage 4 that was accidentally omitted in the last walk, and then all of stage 5.

As we walk from Streatham station to Streatham Common, Henry looks smart in his waterproof coat. Snow can be seen being blown fairly briskly across the picture.

As the weather has been warm recently, with temperatures reaching 18C on Friday, snow is rather an odd event, particularly in April. It snowed for the first two-thirds of the walk, but there was no real accumulation on the pavements so the going was fairly easy. This is Streatham Common where we rejoined the Capital Ring proper.

Thames Water's Streatham Pumping Station, built in 1888. This old building is no longer used as a pumping station, but does house treatment and monitoring equipment linked to the new pumping station next door, which pumps up groundwater and has a link to the London Ring Main.

Snow-laden trees next to the pumping station

As I'd forgotten to bring maps or directions for this walk, the familiar Capital Ring signs were a great help in finding my way, coupled with the trusty GPS.

Henry runs off to find a friend on Tooting Bec Common

Another friend. There were a lot of dogs out this morning having a walk in the snow.

Henry in the snow

A snowman on Tooting Bec Common

Snow-covered trees always look so beautiful

A snowy Henry, stradling the line between the lanes for two-legged people and bicycles.

Balham's parish church of SS Mary and John the Divine, built in 1808.

Wandsworth Common. Henry found quite a few doggy friends here too, but kept losing track of where I was and haring off in the wrong direction. Here he is relaxing, chewing some snow-covered grass, while behind him snowmen cover the Common.

A Southern train approaches Wandsworth Common station

Across the road, we continue through Wandsworth Common, the signs on the left showing us the right way among the many choices

Henry inspects one of the ponds on Wandsworth Common

The boardwalks allow closer inspection of the ponds

A family of snowpeople as we leave Wandsworth Common

Wandsworth Cemetery

Following Magdalen Road alongside the cemetery. The thaw was now advancing rapidly, and all the trees were busy dumping clumps of snow onto innocent walkers below.

Crossing the River Wandle on its way from Waddon and Carshalton to the Thames. After this we crossed the Durnsford Road Recreation Ground and a walk along Arthur Road, at the top of which was Wimbledon Park station and the start of our journey home.

On the walk to Streatham Common in December, I commented that today's walk looked "unbalanced between road and green walking", and in pure mileage terms it was, but the road walking was quiet and easy, and the snow made the road walking different from normal. In any case, the "green" sections had more impact in practice than the map suggested and this was an enjoyable walk. But stage 6 with Wimbledon Common and Richmond Park looks a gem.

Zoom in for more detail, or see map in larger window: Ordnance Survey | Open Street Map | Google Maps

Total distance: 10.4 km [including diversions and station links - 9.5 km on the Capital Ring]  with 56 metres of ascent in 2 hours 8 minutes.



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Unless otherwise stated, all images copyright (c) Stephen and Lucy Dawson