Walking the High Weald

Talking the Walk

3 Castles Blind Vets Pt 2

The second part of the story, from Goudhurst to Bodiam with tales of Papal spies, murder, furnaces and forges, Mad Jack Fuller and aliens in Roberstbridge


A Path Worth Walking

1066 Harold’s Way

Be inspired by King Harold’s epic march to the Battle of Hastings.

Diversions, amendments, additions and re-routes to ‘Walking 1066 Harold’s Way’ will be published on the website, the blog and social media and hard copies will be free to download, with the exception of 1066 William’s Way which will be available at a discounted price from History Walks.


Thank you to all those who plan to walk 1066 Harold’s Way next year – 2019.

This year I have re-walked, revised and updated ‘Walking 1066 Harold’s Way’ with a view to re-publish during 2019.

Little has changed apart from a new bridge at Greenwich, a slight re-route around Sissinghurst and a couple of good pubs that have sadly closed but, importantly, the route remains fundamentally unchanged from Westminster Abbey to Battle Abbey.

However, the new edition of ‘Walking 1066 Harold’s Way will include an extra section from Battle Abbey to Hastings Castle (1066 William’s Way) creating a true Capital to Coast Walk, adding ten miles to the journey and completing the story of the Battle of Hastings.

The Thames Path along the Embankment has diversions because of the work building London’s new ‘super sewer’ and with all new riverside development between Greenwich and the O2 Arena, there is a trek around the backstreets which is a little tedious to say the least.

The Tideway project is scheduled to last until at least 2022 but there is hope that the Thames Path, after Greenwich, will be reinstated next year.

If you need further information or to clarify the route, please e-mail me at historywalks@aol.co.uk

Happy Walking






Walking 1066 Harold’s Way: Path Diversions

Walk 1: Westminster Abbey to London Bridge – The Thames Path

Victoria Embankment

The Victoria Embankment dates from 1870 and covered the new sewer for a healthier London, a cleaner Thames and the new District Line Underground. Gardens and walkways were created and the new road relieved the notorious congestion on The Strand and Fleet Street.

Now those historic improvements are being upgraded with ‘Tideway’, London’s new super sewer, and those same gardens provide diversionary relief for the parts of the Thames Path that are subsumed by the project’s digging out of new tunnels, some 60 feet below the river.

Diversion map 1a v2The first diversion is on the approach to Charing Cross Station, where the path is blocked.

Signs request that you cross the road to the junction with Horse Guards Avenue and instead of walking along the road, it is an opportunity to stroll through Whitehall Gardens that were laid at the same time as the Embankment Gardens.

One statue is of William Tyndale, famous in the early 16th century for his first translation of the New Testament in English but the other two statues pay tribute to a different world and a different stage with Sir Bartle Frere, a rather controversial 19th century colonial administrator and General Sir James Outram who took part in the relief of Lucknow and with a reputation for chivalry. They all stand resplendent in this hidden oasis.

The building behind the gardens has more than a touch of French style and is the Royal Horseguards Hotel. Its dining room opens out onto a terrace that overlooks the river and perfect for watching the New Year’s Eve firework display on the Thames but as you can imagine it is fully booked for the foreseeable future. Next door, One Whitehall Place was once the headquarters of the Secret Service during the First World War but the spies and their secrets have moved further upriver.

Leave the gardens and cross Northumberland Road where it is worth taking the time to climb up to and walk part way over the Hungerford Footbridge for a view along to Westminster where little has changed since Monet painted his ‘View of Westminster’ in 1871 and, although Big Ben is cloaked in scaffolding and the Tideway excavations pound away below, it is still good for a photograph.

Back down the bridge to continue 1066 Harold’s Way

Blackfriars Bridge

The Embankment Gardens, lined with statuary and shaded by trees, provide a moment’s respite before the return to the river but it is not long before ‘Tideway’ forces another diversion from 1066 Harold’s Way and the Thames Path.

Diversion map 2a v2After Temple Station and the green gardens of all the Inns of Court, there is a need to cross the road to walk over Blackfriars Bridge rather than under it, before re-joining the path to London Bridge.

Close to the bridge, the embankment path is blocked. Cross the road and turn right and bear left again to walk up the ramp to Blackfriars Bridge.

At the top, cross the ramp on the right and walk towards the bridge to cross Blackfriars Road behind Queen Victoria’s imposing statue.

Down the steps, that lead towards Blackfriars Pier, and re-join the Thames Path and 1066 Harold’s Way towards London Bridge.

David Clarke



Treacle Pudding, Apple Pie and Spotted Dick

Knxbridge Cafe v3

It does what it says on the tin

It’s a halfway house for walkers that need a sugar fix before the final five and a bit miles to Sissinghurst.

Yes, it is a café but worthy of inclusion in Beer Notes as a great place to stop with all the usual café specials to tempt you. Although it has a great reputation for that ubiquitous full English breakfast I find that walking on a full tum presents its own problems, especially with hills to climb.

But more of interest, and just to add a little energy of course, are the treacle pudding, apple pie and spotted dick all served with custard and all washed down with tea in a mug.

The Knoxbridge is a clean and wholesome well-kept café, friendly and with excellent service. Light and airy, formica tabled, ketchup and brown sauced it buzzes to the hum of regulars and visitors but be warned, it closes at 3 in the afternoon and all-day Sunday.

Best get a move on then.

Beer Notes will be published in 2019 as a ‘must have’ accompaniment for the discerning walker on ‘Walking 1066 Harold’s Way’ – the long distance walk from Westminster Abbey to Battle Abbey and Hastings Castle inspired by King Harold’s epic march to the Battle of Hastings 1066.


I could cry in my Craft Beer

IMG_20180725_141909Once the Brewery Tap for the old Meantime Brewery.

The Old Brewery is so close to the finish of the walk, from Westminster Abbey to Greenwich, that it would be remiss not to include it in Beer Notes. It should be the perfect place to stop, just through the first gates on the right, after the Cutty Sark, and up towards the Palladian World Heritage Visitor Centre – it is some setting.

The entrance to Greenwich’s Old Brewery Pub and Restaurant is along the colonnade on the left or, through the Visitor Centre where the doors open up to an eating hall that could have been part of the University. All industrial chic with copper barrels and pipes and gauges on one wall that invoked memories of its past life as the Meantime Brewery Tap, when it brewed its world renowned ‘craft beers’ on site.

Walking between the tables leads to a rather sparse room with a bar, a basic drinks server that did little to welcome me with no chairs or tables in which to sip a quiet pint.

It is not quite what I expected after a longish hot walk.

I am not a fan of craft beer (it is normally served too cold for me and reminds me of those distant days drinking Tartan Bitter before I knew any better) but the beers that Meantime brewed at the Brewery Tap were acclaimed and on my bucket list to try but I’ve delayed too long.

Bought out, sold out, Meantime is now part of a conglomerate and the Brewery Tap is Young’s with Young’s Best, a Hawkes Urban Orchard Cherry Cider and normally a guest on offer together with the rows of craft beers and lagers that leave me ‘cold’.

But the secret of the Old Brewery is the outside courtyard. Umbrellas and tables and a continental feel on this hot day with snacks, from the standard Young’s menu, ordered from the bar and perhaps this is the reason for all those cold beers.

Towards the river and through to the colonnade, there are more tables and chairs set for dining and overlook the lawns where once there was a perfect view of the river before Zizzi’s and Nando’s took root during 2012, best to look inwards.

Weekends are busy and full, being so close to the river, and it is a time when seats and tables are difficult to find with people eating and drinking, sharing wine, enjoying an elegant restaurant to while away an afternoon. Such a scene is reminiscent of some fashionable Parisian hotel in St Germain and a few remembered ‘just retired’ lazy days in the summer of 2004 and similarly, the Old Brewery is perfect for what it is and gives just the right sense of occasion.

A pub, not really, despite my predilection for Young’s – indeed, the website makes no mention of beer but food, rum days, Pimm’s days, whisky days and they all seem a better fit for the  Old Brewery than catering for groups of hot walkers eager to talk about a good day’s walk.

I may need to walk a little further for my pint!

Beer Notes will be published in 2019 as a ‘must have’ accompaniment for the discerning walker on ‘Walking 1066 Harold’s Way’ – the Old Brewery, once the brewery tap for the old Meantime Brewery, will be No 16.



The Old Brewery is less than 100 metres from the route of 1066 Harold’s Way.

Food:    Yes      Accommodation:         No

The Pepys Building, The Old Royal Naval College, Greenwich, London SE10 9LW

Tel: 020 3437 2222                 https://www.oldbrewerygreenwich.com/

PS: As a footnote, the Thames path between Greenwich and ‘the Dome’ is a series of diversions that avoid all the new building on the riverbank. For Meantime fans, the diversionary route takes you past the new Meantime Brewery, shop and tap with space for tasting but remember that there is a way to go before Lesnes Abbey and I am sure that the weight of full beer bottles increases the more miles you walk.

Giggle Mug

Cutty Sark.jpg

The boats unloading at Ballast Quay have long gone and the cobbled streets and terraced cottages, that would once have been at the centre of all the hustle and bustle, are quiet.

After a hard day’s labour or maybe at the end of the week after being paid, the Cutty Sark would have been as popular in 1795 as it is today, drinking behind its large bay Georgian windows and spilling out into the cobbled street late at night.

There has probably been a beer house on the site since the early 18th century, but it changed its name from The Green Man to The Union in 1810 from which time the present building dates. When the Cutty Sark found its final berth on Greenwich Quay, the pub was quick to change its name once again to honour this cherished ship.

It is a Grade II listed building and Neil Rhind has written a very interesting and rather more complete history of the Cutty Sark Tavern than I have room for in this blog. He can be read on the internet at http://www.ballastquay.com/the-cutty-sark-tavern.html.

The Cutty Sark is less than ten minutes from its namesake, moored on its green house, and is well worth those extra few yards especially if you are staying in Greenwich overnight.

The ground floor bar is dark wood panelled, dark wood floor boards, dark brick, low ceilings and low lighting. There are cosy corners, heavy dark tables, easy chairs and part of the ceiling by the bar can be likened to an upturned boat.

It has that feel of what a river pub should be like and whether it is a pastiche or the ‘proper job’ it works and is possibly one of the best stops for that ‘end of walk pint’, especially on a warm day sitting at a bench by the river wall and allowing the rhythm of the water to ease the aching feet.

It is a Young’s pub with Best and Special on offer as well as Sambrook’s Wandle and By The Horns Brewing Company’s Giggle Mug Amber Ale and Stiff Upper Lip IPA to wash down food from the usual Young’s Pub Menu.

The chairs might creak a little, the tables might wobble but I thoroughly enjoyed my pint at The Cutty Sark.

Beer Notes will be published in 2019 as a ‘must have’ accompaniment for the discerning walker on ‘Walking 1066 Harold’s Way’ – The ‘simple’ Cutty Sark will be No 19.

The ‘simple’ Cutty Sark  (Pubs of London 1976)



The Cutty Sark is on the route of 1066 Harold’s Way.

Food:    Yes     Accommodation:         No

4-6 Ballast Quay, Greenwich. SE10 9PD    Tel: 020 885 83146    www.cuttysarkse10.co.uk


Ripe melon, apricot and pineapple


The ‘plain comfort’ of The Yacht

Less pretentious, calmer, comfortable and with space to drink and no pressure to eat.

Easy chairs and tables by the windows that open on to the same Thames view and river life as the Trafalgar next door but the Yacht is unburdened by the history and tradition of its neighbour. Whitebait is also on offer as a starter, but no wire baskets here and at almost £3.50 cheaper it is worth sampling. Even the piped music seemed to blend into the background.

Rebuilt yet again after bombing in WWII, the Meridian Line runs through the pub.

Tradition has it that a seaman’s mission stood on the present site of The Yacht and that the premises were licensed in the early 1600s. Charles II and succeeding monarchs were frequent visitors to the tavern while Greenwich remained the fashionable centre of Court life. Bombed during WW II, The Yacht was built in modern design to command views of this busy stretch of the Thames and close to the centre of Greenwich, the Cutty Sark and the National Maritime Museum.

This is a Greene King pub with a Greene King menu of pub food and a couple of specials and Greene King beers to savour. As a session beer, GK IPA is always a treat at 3.6% and good for that post walk re-hydration, bitter and hoppy and worth a second pint before the train home.

As well as the IPA, there was Truman’s Zephyr (4.4%) which is described on the Truman’s website as ‘A brash and bold ale packed full of juicy new world Australian hops. Bursting on the nose and palate with ripe melon, apricot and pineapple, this beer has a pithy grapefruit finish balanced with a delicate caramel sweetness.’ Fine in a fruit cocktail but I’ll need a taste before I pass judgement – next time I pass perhaps!

There was also a curious World Cup Special that must be a little past its sell by date at the end of July.

All Greenwich pubs are likely to be busy at weekends but on my Wednesday lunchtime I had a very relaxing pint sat by the window and overlooking the river with just enough customers to create a little buzz.

Beer Notes will be published in 2019 as a ‘must have’ accompaniment for the discerning walker on ‘Walking 1066 Harold’s Way’ – The ‘plain comfort’ of The Yacht will be No 18.



The Yacht is on the route of 1066 Harold’s Way.

Food:    Yes      Accommodation:       No

5 Crane Street, Greenwich. SE10 9NPTel: 0208 858 0175     http://www.yacht-greenwich.co.uk