Westminster Abbey to Greenwich

A taster for 1066 Harold’s Way, from the start of the walk, Walk 1 at Westminster Abbey to the finish at Greenwich and a photo album to share the sights of walks to come or reflect on memories at the start of 1066 Harold’s Way.

It is early October in London. Imagine the noise, the smells, the people and the army. Was it wet or was it dry, sunny or cloudy or was an autumnal chill rising from the nearby river? Imagine King Harold, flushed with success from victory in September at Stamford Bridge and ready to face a new challenge against Duke William of Normandy. Harold’s army had already marched over 600 miles, to York and back, and Harold now needed to take his weary troops south to fight yet another battle to save Saxon England – the Battle of Hastings, 14th October 1066.

I love the smell of London and the sights and sounds of a fresh new morning and I still feel a guilt that I should really be at work. The luxury of a coffee and a Danish at a pavement cafe and whilst others rush, I can think about the day ahead and the miles to walk to Greenwich and on to Battle. It will be a pilgrimage rather than a race, unlike Harold.

First London Bridge, then below Tower Bridge there are the remnants of the once great London Docks that stretched for miles along both sides of the river, St Katherine’s Dock, Limehouse Basin, Russia Dock, Greenland Dock and dominating the skyline – Canary Wharf. Now there are flats, development and re-development.

History is still preserved in The City, Rotherhithe, Deptford and Greenwich. Queenhithe was London’s dock even before William built the Tower and was there when Harold passed on his way. Across the river is Execution Dock where pirates, thieves and mutineers were hanged and the opium dens of the old Chinatown. There are famous pubs to while away the hours and wharves that launched the ships of Captain Cook, the Pilgrim Fathers, Nelson and Drake. Recreate the scenes painted by Turner and Canaletto and take time to stand and stare at a London of a different age.

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