This section of the Capital Ring goes from Grove Park to Crystal Palace. There are some really good views and it is a pretty easy route. I liked this section of the capital ring, mostly because it finishes with dinosaurs. There aren’t enough walks that have such a good finish. Having said that, there is quite a lot of litter in the first half of this route, so that makes it seem less beautiful.
The Capital Ring itself is a loop that allows Londoners to wander around the city through parks, pretty residential areas and forests. The first part of this section near Grove Park is pretty suburban, but it gets greener and greener as you wiggle through South London. This walk is also part of the Green chain walk so follow signs for either route.
If you start at Grove Park station, you can either walk through the residential streets to the start, or wander along Quaggy river to get back to the main trail. Near the beginning of the walk (after crossing the railway) there are good views of the city through suburbia.
There is a woodland walk (called the railway children walk) between the houses which is pretty cool. If you are walking with children, they might love to sit on the wooden train that is next to the path.
After you reach Beckenham Place Park, it is easy to follow the route. Part of the park is a golf course, but it also has pretty trees and flowers along the edges. There is also a squirrel statue with a creepy face! We found some loos at the edge of the car park, but they were all boarded up when we visited.
Once you leave the Beckenham Place Park, you need to go straight through the car park and left along Southend Road. The next part goes through residential areas for a while. The path winds its way through some small parks; Cator Park, a school green and Alexandra recreation ground. You’ll be able to see the mast at Crystal Palace the whole way, so it is pretty obvious that the route keeps wiggling.
Right before Crystal Palace, there are two pretty railway bridges (built in the mid-19th century). I thought they were beautiful, all covered in moss.
Crystal palace park itself is really pleasant, (although there is no actual palace.) I loved wandering past all the dinosaurs. As palaeontologists have learnt so much more about dinosaurs since these were created, they are not particularly accurate anymore. But it is still fun to see them, and it is interesting to compare them to more modern versions that are more like birds than lizards!!
– Of course, this has to be the dinosaurs. This is the best part of the Capital Ring for children.
– There is quite a lot of rubbish around the first half of this walk.
– I saw a huuuuuge rat in the water by the dinos, carrying off a slice of bread. Remember if you feed the ducks, you might also be feeding the local rat population! I caught a photo of him above…you might have to click on the photo to enlarge it and see him!
The signage is not always amazing on this section. We found it really helpful to have the google map downloaded to our phones for when there are no signs. Anyway, the map for this section is here and the map for the whole walk is here.