Thames Path – Day One – Woolwich to Greenwich

A couple of months ago we were out with friends and one of whom was describing how he was walking along the Thames Path and how relaxing and enjoyable he had found it. Helen and I thought that this sounded like a great idea and so set about planning our own journey.

It turns out that there is lots of information available online with details of the route and things to see and places to stay on the way. There is also an excellent book with detailed plans and maps which we purchased. In the end, we decided that we’d done enough planning and needed to move to the execution phase!

And we’re off!

We had decided to walk from the head of the river to the source which meant starting in the east of London. Luckily, since the opening of the Elizabeth Line, we could get a direct (albeit slow) train from Reading to Woolwich, the start of the walk (well, according to our book anyway!).

We headed off in dry and conditions which were very pleasant for walking. I have to say that today’s route was probably more interesting than attractive as we walked along looking at London’s industrial past.

The first place of interest was the Thames Barrier, somewhere I’ve long wanted to visit. While it is obviously designed to be functional I like the way that it has been done in a very beautiful way with each pontoon looking like a silver sail.

This being a Sunday the visitors centre was shut but the toilet was thankfully open!

Will no one rid me of this Troublesome Dome?

Those Eastenders viewers amongst you will be familiar with the horseshoe bend in the Thames in which, since 2000, the millennium done nestles. It’s a large structure which is instantly recognisable and given its size visible from quite a distance. We first spotted it after leaving the barrier and then could see it all the way to Greenwich.

We took a detour off the path to go to the Dome for a drink and a sit in the sunshine having our packed lunch.

One of the things I particularly enjoyed were the large number of public artworks dotted along the route. Some were small, one just a sign saying “Here 24 859”, others huge in scale. Outside the entrance to the cable car crossing the Thames was a huge man and little further round a vertical slice through a boat. In all there are over 30 pieces, many by well known artists, making up what is called The Line, a reference to the meridian line.

Greenwich Prime Meridian

Our destination was Greenwich and the official stopping point was the foot tunnel but how can you go to Greenwich and not do the attractions? Given that we were at the end of a 7 mile walk at this point we didn’t have much energy left to do it all so we walked up into the park to take in the views looking over London and to stand on the Meridian Line. After this we were done and so we have added this to the list of things we want to return to including, somewhat surprisingly, walking over the roof of the Dome!

Tomorrow we continue the walk to the London Eye.


Day: 1

Start: Woolwich

End: Greenwich

Distance: 8.63 miles

Cumulative: 8.63 miles

To go: 180

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