Capital Ring Walk: Beckenham Hill to Penge West

I was looking at the train and bus schedule, both wanting me to walk 15 minutes, to get to this morning’s starting point. I wasn’t feeling it yet, so I went back to bed for an hour so the idea would be more agreeable upon my second time waking.

I’ll choose the bus to change things up. It should be more scenic as it goes slower between frequent stops and has more pickup times. I walk into the kitchen to find evidence of last night’s ruckus — a fresh baked, a little burnt, and half-eaten 9″x11″ custard.

Beckenham Place Park is emptier when I arrive at 915am than when I was here yesterday around 430pm. This area used to be part of John Cator’s lake but is in the process of becoming a wet woodland, via periodic flooding, that will provide food for birds and bats in this ecosystem that is rare in London.

Another area that’s been around a while, the ancient woodland, is full of wood anemone, native bluebells, and wild garlic and will hopefully remain with plenty of dead standing trees that hold insects to feed the woodpeckers for hundreds of years to come.

The lake was excavated in the fall of 2018 so that it could be deepened. This allows the water to be colder and increase its oxygen content, with the help of an aerator. The lake is filled via pumping from the water table, rainfall, and a well to maintain its ten Olympic swimming pools’ capacity.

I pass a mulberry tree that is over 200 years old, the last of its orchard, and a species that is relatively rare in Britain today. It was imported for silkworms but used to treat ringworm. I’ll stop at the Homestead Cafe for a beetroot latte and a slice of butternut lime cake — new flavor combos, yes please.

Cator Park is the last stop of the day; from here I still have at least an hours walk and my legs are tired from the fourteen-ish miles they trekked yesterday; also I’ve already seen Crystal Palace Park. I’ll take Penge West back to Norwood Junction and pick up some groceries.

I’ll have lunch in the room, talk with Caleb, and spend the evening writing two post drafts. Today might seem short, but I spent over three miles walking through a part of London I wouldn’t have otherwise explored, so that’s a win for me.

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