This is the first section of the Capital Ring. This walking route starts in Woolwich and winds its way all the way around London and tends to stick to picturesque and quiet areas, rather than normal tourist sites. I’m not sure what made the writers decide to start at Woolwich, but this section has lots of nice things to see, so it is worth making this part of a stroll around the capital. You’ll need to wear wellies, walking boots or shoes that you don’t mind getting a bit muddy!
The best thing about this walk is you don’t really need anything to get started. The entire walk is pretty well sign posted, and there is a google map to show you the way for the moments when you have mislaid the signs. We downloaded this map to our phones and navigated the whole route using that. Or if you prefer to print a map, try this one from the TFL website.
Woolwich Foot Tunnel To Falconwood – the basics
Distance: 11.2 km
Public transport: Woolwich Arsenal station and Falconwood rail station
Best sights along the way: Thames Barrier, Charlton House and Severndroog castle
Loos: Severndroog castle
Woolwich Foot Tunnel To Falconwood Map
There is so much building work along the Thames at the moment that you have to take a less-pretty detour at the beginning of the walk after you leave Woolwich. However this doesn’t last long, and then the rest of the walk is through parks and woods. You wander close to the Thames Barrier, which can look really pretty. Once we did this part of the walk backwards, so finished by watching a sunset over the barrier. That is probably the best way to see it!
Once you walk away from the Thames this section is almost all within parks or green spaces, starting with Maryon park and Charlton park. This also means you get to see lots of gorgeous flowers.
You get to see deer in Charlton park! It’s a bit sad that the chickens get more fenced in space than the deer…but at least you get to see both.
The path goes through Hornfair park and up through Eltham common until you reach the awesome looking triangular Severndroog castle. A couple of years ago, this castle was a ruin. But now it has all been done up so you can look inside, climb to the top floor and visit the tea room. Their ice-cream is pretty good, and there is plenty of room to sit outside and eat it.
You get to keep walking up hills so there are some amazing views of South London through greenery. We have always taken the stairs (as they have the best views!) However there is also an alternative route that follows the green chain walk if you’d prefer to avoid stairs.
The forests sections are a pleasure to wander through with lots of mud! From Jackwood (where the castle is located) you follow the path through Oxleas wood, Shepherdless wood and Eltham Park North. You can finish by taking a train from Falconwood OR just keep going (either to join the next section of the capital ring or the next section of the green chain walk.)
You can find links to the next sections of the Capital ring here.