End of the Line 4: Woolwich Arsenal to King George V
South-east London is so unregarded that the tube doesn’t go there and the DLR tentatively puts a one-station extension over the river and into the area. But Woolwich Arsenal station allows the walker to connect to a series of dramatic views and unexpected finds, unparalleled elsewhere around London.
Admittedly, the initial stretch doesn’t seem that promising, but once you join the well-signed Green Chain Walk everything changes. Well, it does once you’ve done a bit more urban walking, but that takes you up on to the heights of Shooters Hill (the highest spot in south London at 433 feet/132m), with its glorious vistas of forest and city, and then the even more glorious Oxleas Wood and Meadow, saved from a road being driven through it in the 1990s by a vigorous local campaign.
From there, the Green Chain Walk is green all the way to Thamesmead, passing through the unexpected expanse of East Wickham, quiet Bostall Woods and the even more unexpected remains of medieval Lesnes Abbey, founded in 1178 by Richard de Luci in penance for his part in the murder of Thomas à Beckett.
Then it’s through Thamesmead estates enlivened by the surprising number of horses grazing the council sward and on to the Thames Path, heading west past the site of the sinking of SS Princess Alice in 1865, when the paddle steamer was struck by a collier and cut in half. Over 600 people died, drowned in water thick with the raw sewage pumped into the river just upstream. Cross over the river via the Woolwich Ferry or under it through the white-tiled Woolwich Foot Tunnel for the short walk to King George V DLR station.
Walk here: From Woolwich Arsenal DLR station take Woolwich New Road to the junction with the A205, then turn left, joining the Green Chain Walk. Continue following the Green Chain signs through to Plumstead Common, then follow the signs to Shrewsbury Park and Oxleas Wood. From Oxleas Wood, follow Green Chain signs to Bostall Woods, and then to Lesnes Abbey and finally Thamesmead Riverside. At the river, head west on the Thames Path to Woolwich, crossing the river via ferry or foot tunnel, and then follow signs to King George V DLR station.