1. Full Wandle trail
  2. Bermondsey Tour

This was the Saturday before the Queen’s funeral. The queue to view the coffin lying in state was a large, if unplanned, feature of both rides. It meant changes of plan both before and during the ride. Despite problems both rides went ahead and to time.

  1. Full Wandle Trail

Wandle Trail (plus “The Queue”) ride. 9am – 1.30pm 12 cyclists. Report from Ride Leader Amanda.

10 left London Bridge Needle, Weather was sun/cloud, warmed up nicely as we progressed. Lovely to see some still in shorts, prolonging summer riding as much as possible. We caught glimpses of the Queen’s lying-in-state queue along the river, and directed some to its queue to the start at Southwark Park.

Our first turn was along Bermondsey Road to pick up the C10 (Q1 as was) to Waterloo, the Quietway cycle route was exceptionally quiet today. We rode alongside the queue along Belvedere Road and caught up with it again over Lambeth Bridge, where we parted the queue. Returned back to the south bank over Chelsea Bridge. Through Battersea Park, (picking up our other two cyclists) we made our way onto the large clear sections of the Thames Path to the River Thames Wandle Start.

One-way system through Wandsworth High Street and into King George’s Park for our ‘Wandle’ riverside. Light traffic at Earlsfield, we managed the box section under the bridge nicely. It took us 2 ½ hours to arrive at our coffee stop shortly after. This took place at Merton’s Abbey Mill, the pottery mill/museum was open and the watermill was running beautifully. The museum and mill were part of the 19th century fabric printing industry including the William Morris collection. A half hour break here, enough time for a sit-down brunch.

We continued our wander along the Wandle, some beautiful sections such as Modern Hall Park, Watercress Park, Watermead Nature Reserve, Carshalton Ponds and the stunning Beddington Park, where the river widens and we walked across the high green bridge, lots of wow’s at the surrounding perfectly manicured gardens and river thriving with ducks and geese. A nice tour round old buildings and a huge dove cote, before a winding woody section brought us to Waddon Ponds and back to heavy town traffic. A last loop into Wandle Park to mark the end of the trail and the end of the River Wandle to view. This last little section has dense foliage covering it, but is refreshingly real and left to nature. (The end of the river goes underground from here and, has probably become part of the sewer system as many of the old London Rivers have.) Through Surrey Street Market up to East Croydon Train Station, where all left off, taking a variety of different routes as this station provides lots of options.

Lovely bunch of cyclists. Lots of chatting as we had little traffic to concentrate on. We had a nice time and, it didn’t appear to exhaust anyone. Thank you to Mike for back-marking – it was very much appreciated.

2. Bermondsey Tour

Report by Bruce, Ride Leader

This was going to be a ride to the Bermondsey Street Festival. This was cancelled. We set off to do a St Katherines and Bermondsey ride. Tower Bridge was open (to shipping) so no quick way to St Katherines. However, we managed to have a great ride around places of interest in Bermondsey.

And Bermondsey is full of interest. This area opposite the City was settled early in London’s history. It became a sort of “alternative” London where entertainments and industry frowned on in more respectable areas flourished.

First stop was Talbot Yard. We admired the blue plaque commemorating the Tabard Inn made famous as the start of William Chaucer’s Canterbury Tales. Then round several corners to an adjacent yard to admire The George Inn. This still looks much as the inns would have 700 years ago. With all the surrounding recent build it is hard to imagine yourself here in 1386, but you can try.

A major activity in Bermondsey was tanning. This smelly activity was not wanted in the City, but flourished for centuries south of the river. The large Leather Market building still stands on Weston and Leathermarket Streets. But no tanning has gone on in Bemondsey since 1997. Next Bermondsey Street. Did a ride up and down noting the London Glassblowing Centre, the Fashion Museum and White Cube Gallery. At the south end stopped at St Mary Magdalen. This church from 1690 is on the site of the 11th century Bermondsey Abbey. From the ancient to the relatively modern. At the rail bridge over Abbey St looked at the pictures of Spa Road Station. These commemorate the first rail terminus in London, opened in 1836. Along Enid St noted the many breweries, bars, distilleries etc that comprise the Bermondsey Beer Mile. The many uses of railway arches are well illustrated here. Interesting to see the diffusion of food and drink emporia, starting at Borough Market in 1996 (when retail began there), then surfacing in quanitity at Maltby St in 2010, and now evident in bakeries open and doing business along Enid St. Where will this all end?

At St James Rd crossed the new cycle/ped crossing to the smart pocket park created at the closed off entry to Blue Anchor Lane. Next into The Blue, the market place along Southwark Park Road. This small market has had some improvements in recent years, but the market itself appears to be struggling. Admired the modern sculpture of the Bermondsey Lion. Rode round to Drummond road and he old Peak Frean Biscuit Factory. This sprawling site along the railway is now used by a multiitude of small businesses. This is about to change as developers have plans to build lots of homes. They intend to open up a railway arch to provide an additional pedestrian/cycle route between this site and The Blue. Peak Frean opened here in 1866 and closed in 1989. They were responsible for some really nice smells wafting over the area!

Finished across Southwark Park where people were still arirving to join the Lyning In queue. We had crossed the queue on the other side of Southwark Park at the start of the ride and ridden alongside it from The Angel to Dockhead. Quiet astonishing. Back at Deal Porter Square on time at 12 after a ride that was not quite as intended, but clearly enjoyed. Retired for a coffee before heading home. Many thanks to David for doing his usual fine job as back marker. Route at https://www.google.com/maps/d/u/0/edit?mid=1OBRItCAy5rt9R1aAqJTXuXpqlonMi2s&usp=sharing.

More photos from Nigel

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