REMS Thames walk 2: Saturday 24 November 2012

11 December 2012

The Thames Path is a National Trail, opened in 1996, following the length of the River Thames from its source near Kemble in Gloucestershire to the Thames Barrier. It is about 184 miles long.

Thames walk

This second walk, about 8 miles long was from Greenwich to Waterloo passing Tower Bridge, London Bridge, the Globe Theatre and the South Bank complex of concert halls, theatres, cinemas and practically every restaurant chain that you have heard of.

The first two thirds of the walk were over what used to be dockyards and wharfs. Surrey Docks occupied a large part of the area. Most of the area has been filled in and planted with blocks of flats with more sprouting up all the time.

The planners of the Thames Path did the best that they could to keep the path beside the river, but there are many detours away from it. At Deptford Strand, Henry VIII established a great naval dockyard, which amongst other things contained rum storehouses. Later we passed through Surrey Docks Farm with its painted gates, models of animals and a homely little café. There are supposed to be live animals too.

Lunch was at the Old Salt Quay pub, where in good weather you can sit outside watching the river and its traffic go by. In Rotherhithe, we passed the Brunel Museum, which used to be the engine house for pumping water out of his tunnel under the Thames. The Thames Tunnel was the first to be built under a navigable river and was opened as a foot tunnel in 1843. It is now used by underground trains. Nearby is the old pub, The Mayflower, named after the famous ship which carried the Pilgrim Fathers to America in 1620.

The last third of the walk was almost all beside the river and passes the shopping and eating areas around Tower Bridge and London Bridge. After passing under London Bridge, we walked through an old quarter which contrasts with the modern flats and offices. We passed a replica of Francis Drake’s galleon Golden Hinde. After that we walked along Clink Street where the former Clink Prison is now a museum.

In the photograph, the statue we are standing around at Rotherhithe is called "Sunbeam Weekly and the Pilgrim's Pocket" and shows one of the pilgrims looking over the shoulder of a more up to date lad looking at his magazine and marvelling at how things have changed over the centuries.