Sunday 8th June 2014
9 miles including station links
Toilets: New Inn pub, Hayes (participates in Community Toilet Scheme); Sandrock pub, Upper Shirley. Note that there are no longer any public toilets outside the restaurant/car park just after Addington Hill, as listed in our 2008 guide book, although you could possibly ask at the restaurant if you really needed to. There are no public toilets at Hamsey Green, and the Good Companions pub has been demolished. If you take the bus to Croydon as part of your route home, various pubs and cafes can be found there.
So we’ve already got up to section 4 of the London Loop. This was my favourite one so far, although it was also the hilliest and it was a hot day. There was plenty of greenery and woodland walking. Our guide book was published in 2008 and there have been several little changes to the route, so it’s always worth checking the website for the most up-to-date information. As with the previous couple of sections, the signposting has getting very frustrating. There are still far too many places where there are either no signposts at all, or signposts round the corner or just after when we actually needed them.
Anyway, after arriving at Hayes and making our way through the streets to rejoin the route, we passed through Coney Hall Recreation Ground. In the centre was a Greenwich Meridian stone.
We went through the grounds of St John’s church. At the back was a field of horses. We headed downhill through the field, from which there were lovely views back up to the top.
The route turned along Addington Road. Our guidebook told us to walk down this road and look for a gap in a hedge, but this no longer existed. Instead, there was a gate very near the corner of Corkscrew Hill, from where we could walk through the playing fields. After an uphill stretch, we headed along a pathway through Spring Park and Three Halfpenny Wood – ideal for such a hot day. Half way between the two, the boundary between Bromley and Croydon was marked by this stone.
After heading along Shirley Road, we stopped for a drink at The Sandrock pub. We’d already brought lunch with us to eat later, but the menu there looked really good so it’s definitely worth a mention.
The next point of interest was Addington Hills, from where we had extensive views over London. We could see Wembley Stadium, the City and Canary Wharf, and the hills to the north of London behind them.
The path then headed past a Chinese restaurant. Our guide book, and the downloadable leaflet on the London Loop website, mentioned there being some public loos outside, but they seem to have been removed. Either that, or you could try asking nicely at the restaurant.
At the bottom of the hill we passed the tram stop at Coombe Lane, before passing by the attractive buildings at Heathfield.
The directions at this point were confusing, with something having been fenced off and the route possibly having been changed. As with many parts of the London Loop so far, just one little sign would have made all the difference. No idea if we went the right way or not, but we soon found ourselves going through the pleasant woodlands of Littleheath Woods and Selsdon Wood, although we probably took a couple of wrong turnings due to yet more confusing signposting. I can’t even remember exactly where I took this photo of some interesting artwork.
The path continued past some fields…
…before finally emerging onto the road that led us to Hamsey Green. It was a brilliant walk overall, but the ending was a total anti-climax. The section ended at the site of the Good Companions pub which has now been demolished, with plans to turn the site into a supermarket. There were a couple of Indian restaurants, a Chinese takeaway and a local shop in Hamsey Green, but I didn’t note their opening hours. We took the bus to West Croydon with the hope of getting some more choice, and ended up eating at Pizza Hut because it was the best restaurant we could find at the time. A strange ending after such a beautiful day.