1. A Celebration of Elm Trees
  2. Peckham to the South Bank

A Celebration of Elm Trees

Once again the weather was better than the forecast and 16 riders set off from Peckham on a ride to celebrate our local Elm trees. The urban myth is that elms disappeared from England in the 1970s due to Dutch Elm disease. The truth is that a lot of elms survived and many of these are now thriving, all across south London. We were hoping to see the elms in fruit – these “samaras” are bright green and make the trees conspicuous in March/April. Sadly, it’s been a cold spring and many of the trees were behind schedule.

First stop was Nunhead Grove for a large solitary elm, then into Nunhead Cemetery where the elms were being coy. The biggest elm we saw was the famous Dutch Elm in Ladywell Fields by the Ravensbourne River – a magnificent specimen.

We re-traced our route and headed for Peckham Rye Park, where a large elm tree was obligingly in flower.

The avenue of disease-resistant elms just south of Sexby Garden was not yet in flower. However, we got a bonus at Herne Hill where the flowering cherries along Winterbrook Road were splendid. Thes “best ever” a local resident said.

There was time for a coffee stop at the top of Brockwell Park (that hill always catches me out) and back through Ruskin Park, with views of central London.  Our last visit was to Warwick Gardens in Peckham, where local resident Penny Metal has found and photographed over 550 types of insect (www.insectinside.me). Several folks left the ride early so it was a smaller group that arrived safely back at Peckham just before 1pm. Route map at https://www.google.com/maps/d/u/0/edit?mid=1H749j8jFHeBD0qvndKLHns0PKMJTWfQ&usp=sharing

Peckham to the South Bank

15 riders headed out of Peckham Square with Bruce leading. Uneventful run down Sumner St, then Glengall Rd to Cycleway 10. Brief stop at Trinity Church Square. Trinity Church is these days a rehearsal and recording space for the London Symphony Orchestra and the London Philharmonic Orchestra. At Blackfriars Rd joined Cycleway 6 to Upper Ground and through to the South Bank. Bit of a stop here to enjoy churros. Several riders decided the South Bank needed more exploration and left the ride here. The rest of us continued along Upper Ground and Belvedere Rd to Westminster Bridge. Used the cycle lanes and crossings to navigate the big roundabout then along Lower Marsh to the Old Vic. Started to head back properly by turning on to Webber St, then C6 souhwards and the SW bypss route around he Elephant to Heygate St. Turned into Sayer St then paused at Wansey St to observe the varied style of buildings. The new shiny blocks, the attempt to create a street of bow fronted houses and the in-your-face orange block at the Sayer/Wansey junction. Planning? Or just anarchy? But interesting! Final stretch up along Brandon and Portland Streets, past East St Market (busy as ever) and into Burgess Park. Main E-W path blocked at “the bridge to nowhere”. No easy diversion so ended up across muddy grass and squeezing past bushes – sorry about that, everyone, promise to do a more thorough recce next time. Back to Peckham Square dead on midday as planned. Thanks to Tony and Jane for back marking. Route map at http://shorturl.at/eiF38

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