The Walking Year – 1066 Harold’s Way
Inspired by King Harold’s epic march to the Battle of Hastings, 1066 – Westminster Abbey to Battle Abbey
Greenwich to Lesnes Abbey
From the magnificence of Greenwich to the iconic steel hoods of the Thames Barrier shining in the sunlight, a broad walkway allows you to stroll next to a much wider river than before. Working wharves line the riverside giving an industrial air to the area and the occasional decaying pier or warehouse only serves as a reminder that London was once the busiest port in the world.
Imagine the scene with ships moored all along The Thames up to London Bridge, all the hustle and bustle of cargos from all around the world being unloaded, helping an older London expand to meet new needs. The wharves now lie mostly idle, larger ships need deeper water and the Port has moved to Tilbury, further down the river, but there is still the feeling of a history to follow in every step you take along the Thames Path.
The second part of this walk is away from the river, walking through parks and ancient woodland that have survived for a thousand years, a world distant from the streets of London. So beautiful are the trees and trails, and the solitude and inspiration they provide, that it is hard to imagine how close you are to the City.
- Start: Greenwich (Southeastern & DLR)
- Finish: Lesnes Abbey – Abbey Park Station (Southeastern)
- Travel: www.travelinesoutheast.org.uk
- Distance: 9.75 miles
- Time: 3 ½ hours
- Maps: OS Explorer 162
- Guide: 1066 Harold’s Way
This section relies heavily first on the Thames Path, from London Bridge to the Thames Barrier and secondly, the Green Chain Walk to Lesnes Abbey that continues towards Erith and Dartford. Both are well signposted but occasionally the instructions and waymarks are less clear, especially along the Thames Path. At the finish, it is a short walk from Lesnes Abbey to Abbey Wood Station with time for a pint in the Abbey Arms just across the road.
It would appear that The Abbey Arms has undergone a remarkable transformation over the last two years, reintroducing draft beer and food and from the reviews is worth stopping for that rewarding and satisfying pint. My last visit was in 2013 and I am looking forward to my next visit on a 1066 Harold’s Way re-walk sometime soon.
There are plenty of places to buy food and drink at the start of the walk in Greenwich, whether to eat in or to take away for lunch, but be warned, there is nowhere to buy food until the Thames Barrier, no shops until you reach Plumstead and the only public toilets are at the Barrier Café, Marryon Park and Lesnes Abbey.
- 1066 Harold’s Way http://www.1066haroldsway.co.uk/1066haroldsway
- CAMRA WhatPub: https://whatpub.com/pubs/SEL/10785/abbey-arms-abbey-wood
- Abbey Arms http://www.abbeyarmsabbeywood.co.uk/index