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Image: Vermuyden’s Drain near Chatteris in Cambridgeshire
Publishing problems resolved
All four guidebooks are now available on Amazon and can be obtained from all good bookshops. They are printed on demand so may take a few days to be delivered. These are new editions of the books and include all the changes that have occurred on the route since the first editions were published.
When you go on the book pages on Amazon and Waterstones you will find the current editions available at the top and displayed underneath the now out of print first editions which are shown as not available. This is confusing but apparently it is not possible to delete the first editions being displayed which strikes us as quite odd as they are no longer available.
Amazon is still offering some of the first edition books at silly prices but that is just what happens in the second-hand book market apparently
Road Works at Lewisham
We have now managed to visit Lewisham and found out where all the changes that are being made have got to. The route from the front of the DLR across the River Ravensbourne to Lewisham Road is still blocked by building works. There is a solid wooden barrier where you have to go right and then you have to walk all the way round in order to get to the railway bridge which you pass under and so on to Lewisham Hill (page 60). The map on page 61 shows a large round about which has dissappeared with the new road layout.
West Essex Golf Club
We have changed the route through the club slightly and have now placed some waymarks with the club's permission. Having climbed the broad path (which is more like a road at present whilst building works are going on) (Book 2, page 16, last line) you now keep ahead through a gap and follow the path right and keep going with the golf course on your left. After about 200m you turn right onto the bridleway (page 17, line 3)
Work Depot near Cambridge Services
The extensive work continues on the A14 but we have no reason to think that it will make walking near the service area particularly difficult (Book 3, page 4).
Abbey Mills and Greenway
The work on the Greenway (Book 2, page 6) is coming to an end but there are still problems with the access steps up to the Greenway after you have gone under the bridge with the huge cast-iron pipes above. The wall on the right is unsafe but because it belongs to Transco the council is having problems getting it made safe. The steps are still closed, so, if you do want to see the pumping station, before you go under the bridge follow Abbey Lane round left, go past the sorting office and enter the grounds of the park on your right. Go ahead then when you reach the bottom of the steps turn right up the ramp. Stay ahead to find the sun dial and view the pumping station. Continue ahead along the Greenway to find the steps down which should be open by now. If not you will have to retrace your steps to go under the bridge, keep on to the junction with Roberts Way, go ahead through gap onto Channelsea Path and turn left.
Any of you who saw the programmes on TV this July about the new super sewer maybe interested in this link - https://www.tideway.london/the-tunnel/construction-sites/abbey-mills-pumping-station-stratford/ which shows what is going on at Abbey Mills.
Willow Farm - Chatteris - update.
The footpath behind Willow Farm (Book 3, page 17) continues to cause considerable difficulties for walkers. We cut down the nettles in June with the help of the owners of Willow Farm and cleared a good path through then. However, the nettles especially are very vigorous and we have just been informed that they have, indeed, re-grown! The problem has been reported again to the council who tell us that they can only clear the vegetation twise a year. In the meantime, wear long trousers, find yourself a large stout stick, take some secteurs with you and give yourself time to beat your way through. It is just a short section but you will remember it. Please take care climbing the steps up the bank to the road, walking across the bridge on the side of the busy road and scrambling down the bank on the other side where the steps are unusable and the easiest way is just by the buttress of the bridge.
Sand le Mere
Construction of the new defensive embankment across the Tunsatll Drain (Book 4, page 48) that has been planned for a number of years has still to start and the plans have been radically altered. Instead of the embankment being about 700 metres inland it will now be immediately next to the Withernsea Road, the best part of a kilometre from the shoreline. The structure will thus be smaller and, presumably, cheaper to build and it gets over the problem of acquiring land from unwilling farmers. During construction the path will be diverted but once completed the route of the GMT will be unaltered until such time as the sea breaches the present embankment, probably at exactly the place where the Greenwich Meridian crosses at the end of the trail. The path beside the drain will then be engulfed by the sea, but probably only intermittently as it is anticipated that sand dunes may well form and protect the land around the drain which will, however, become salty marshland. We cannot see how the present path can survive and it will, presumably, be diverted, how it is impossible to say.
Phoebe Taplin and her friends have been enjoying walking the GMT in stages since last year and have reached Chingford. As a keen walker she has been writing a new guide to the Harcamlow Way, which shares part of its route with the GMT and we are happy to recommend the first part which was published last year. It is a colourful and well produced guide called Scenic Walks in Hertfordshire and Essex ISBN 9781841655734.
And Phoebe’s comment about the Greenwich Meridian Trail? - “We have been walking ------ along the GMT and enjoying it hugely. It is a really beautiful and interesting route.”
Those of you who have never walked The Downs before should be aware that sloping wet chalky-paths can be very slippery indeed. Even chalk-paths on the level should be treated with care if they are rutted and uneven. Wet chalk can make for a surface that is as slippery as black ice.
We would just like to remind you that the road to the old Lewes Racecourse (page 12, line 4) is a private road and the owners are in dispute with the local council about the crossing next to the old course. The owners do not object to walkers on the GMT crossing the road but do ask that you do not stray off the marked route.
Brian Offin has reminded us of something that we have known for some time. On page 66 the directions exhort you to enter the quadrangle of King’s College but that is no longer possible without purchasing a ticket to enter the chapel. We believe that it is still possible to go to evensong without paying.
Simon MacDonald recommends the Turkish restaurant in Waltham Abbey for a good meal at a reasonable price.
We continue to receive reports about the footpath at Willow Farm that runs for a short distance next to Vermuyden’s Drain (page 17). It is only a couple of hundred metres long but is always overgrown with nettles in the summer. The path has a fence on the left and drops down to the drain on the right so there is no way of getting round it. Please be warned, do not wear shorts and find a stout stick to beat down the nettles. We have reported it to Cambridge County Council in the past and they have cleared it but, we guess, that the path is so little walked that the nettles just keep coming back. (See above for the latest news)
In March (page 22), John Hobbs recommends that you try the real ale and good food at The Rose and Crown on St Peter’s Road, the B1099 going right at the junction of The Causeway and the High Street.
A feature of our recent way-marking and updating trip is the all-round improvement in the footpath signs in Lincolnshire. We do not remember them being so numerous and so clear. It certainly made our task of placing waymarks very straightforward.
Stockwith Mill (page 14) has closed, sadly. It was a nice place to have afternoon tea.
There has been a small diversion to the path leading into Tetford (page 18). Keep on the path and it all becomes clear.
Tetford now has a Meridian Marker, placed there for the Queen’s Diamond Jubilee. It is just a few metres down the road by the church, on the left-hand side.
Latest updates - September 2018