Friday, May 21

Friday afternoon bike ride

With the sun beating down on south east London there was no option but to get the bike out and set out on a largely traffic-free tour of east London. From Deptford I set off down the Thames path for Woolwich, leaving out the tip of the peninsula thanks to the closure of the path on the west side which will be shut for some months.
Close to the Thames Barrier I came across this gloriously melancholic bit of graffiti in a stretch of wall that seemed to have been made for it. The combination of urban industrial landscape and natural beauty on that bit of the river was wonderfully reflected in the art.

After crossing the river on the Woolwich Ferry I headed north to pick up the end of the Greenway at Gallions Reach - between the massive Tescos and the Britvic factory. Just before this there was a scary wrong turn where myself and my Raleigh Twenty found ourselves on the north circular, but it was only for a short stretch before picking up the bike path again.

The Greenway is a lovely route for cycling - long, flat, traffic-free - but I can imagine it might be boring to walk along as the only views at the eastern end in particular are the backs of rather dull houses. As you near the Olympic site the effects of 2012 money start to become obvious - nicely resurfaced, new signposting (the old signs are looking very dated by now) and bits of art scattered here and there.

I decided to give the View Tube a miss, it would have meant a longer detour or turning back on myself afterwards. Instead I cut down to Three Mills Island and then followed the Lea to Bow Locks (try saying that quickly!) and took the Limehouse Cut back to the Isle of Dogs. At Bow Locks this rather large brood was keeping Mr & Mrs Mallard very busy!

I was also very surprised to see a Tern performing some dramatic dives into the water of the Limehouse Cut, obviously picking out small fish. I've never seen that in a place I'd expect to see it, never mind in the east end of London!

I took the riverside path on the Isle of Dogs back down to the Greenwich Foot Tunnel where, despite the refurbishment works going on, I struck gold with both lifts operating! (it's close on 100 steps to carry your bike up or down if they are closed).


Raven said...

Oh wow, that graffiti picture was a fantastic find. I wonder who the artist was.

colleen said...

It was a perfect afternoon for a bike ride, wasn't it, and yours sounds perfect (apart from the North Circular detour).

I'm constantly surprised at how much you can find in this part of East London. There are Great Crested Grebes in the waterway along Marsh Wall if you enter the Isle of Dogs through that route, though I have not seen the Limehouse Cut terns.

knit nurse said...

Yes we have quite a few pairs of grebes in Greenland Dock, and I've even seen a kingfisher in Russia Dock Woodlands, which was a total shock to me!