Royalty, remembrance and rain -London LOOP 13.

Hello dear readers and thanks for checking out the dozenth (is that a word?) day of my walk round the London LOOP orbital path.  If you’ve been reading the previous posts then just skip down to the read more button as the next paragraph is merely a cut and paste of an earlier one for the benefit of readers who have just landed on this post.
The London LOOP is a little over 150 miles of designated and way-marked public right of way which is just concentric to the M25 motorway and as always I start with a quick word of advice. This post is one of a series and it will make more sense if you start at the beginning to discover what lunacy had compelled me to undertake such a large project.

Thanks for clicking and welcome to this instalment.

Before I begin, I should warn you that this episode got away from me rather and this paragraph is by way of a postscript at the start. Does that make it a prescript? By way of fair and ample warning, this is a long post and would have been a lot longer had I not broken one day’s walking into two entries so unless you want to skip it completely I suggest you get a nice drink, put on your old slippers and do whatever else you need to get comfy. Whilst it is long I have had a wonderful time researching all sorts of fascinating subjects and hopefully you’ll find something to interest you here.

Yes I was heading out for the twelfth time on this rather lengthy walk which had begun over a year previously but the end was definitely in sight now. If you follow the excellent guide book by David Sharp and Colin Saunders, which is still available and well worth investing in if you intend to do more than a casual day’s walking on the LOOP, I had now completed 12 of the 15 sections they break the walk into. If you follow the rather good Transport for London website which was not available to me then I had now done 18 of the 24 sections they prefer. Either way, the numbers are pleasingly simple to a mathematical dunce like me as even I could work out that I had completed 80% of the route. Obviously, it is only three quarters by website reckoning but it was still good progress.

image001After a break of a couple of weeks during which I had rather perversely taken myself for a day walking on the Lea Valley path (blog entries to come), I took off again on Mayday. Not the early May Bank Holiday but Thursday the 1st of May and the weather was abysmal as the images will show. I have mentioned before that I am a stubborn brute and I had it in my head that day that I was going walking come rain or shine although there were long odds on shine by the time I got back to Banstead at about 1130 in the morning.

I have no pictorial evidence of it as selfies hadn’t really been invented in those days and I hate having my image taken anyway but I can say with complete certainty that I would have been wearing one of my Goretex shell jackets, jeans and my trusty old boots about which I have spoken fondly before. I know jeans are totally impractical in the rain and I do have proper quick-drying walking trousers and overtrousers which I never wear as I find them uncomfortable and sweaty and so I just put up with wet denim on my legs.

Here is a quick practical tip for anyone who may be considering getting into a bit of walking. Invest is a can of Fabsil which is not expensive and widely available. It may be available under another trade name in your country and there are other brands. I believe the name is a contraction of Fabric Silicone and that is exactly what it is. I spray everything with it, boots, shell clothing, tent and even my sleeping bag (in the days when I still camped) and it makes anything just about impervious to water. You don’t need a lot of it so the £4 can lasts a long time and is money well-spent.

Dry top and feet and wet legs is fine by me and so off I strode onto Section 6 (book) or 7 (website). As usual the day started off with a bit of urban walking because the start / end points are designed to be at public transport hubs but again I was into the countryside that you can see here within ten minutes . I crossed one of the fairways of Banstead Golf Course and was straight into the woods you can see in the background of one of the images. Ten minutes from the station, not bad eh? I often wonder how many other of the world’s great cities are similarly blessed with this relatively easy access to the great outdoors.

Not far into the woods was a “crossroads” of paths but it was well signed as you can see and I was interested in the signs. You don’t get too many giving long-distance directions, they are more of the “Point X is two miles that way” variety but this one clearly told me that I had come 29 miles from Petts Wood which you will remember a few instalments back and had 30 to go to Uxbridge Lock which would be my journey’s end. On present averages that was about three days walking which would give me a 14 days total for the whole LOOP. I thought that was respectable for a 54 year old man who hadn’t trained for over 20 years so with that in mind I set off again with a spring in my step to see if I could knock off a few of those miles on that dismal day.

image006After about 20 minutes of managing not to get lost in the woods it was back to a soggy suburbia and a sign proclaiming that I was entering the Borough of Epsom and Ewell, home of the Derby as I discussed in the last piece. It also informed me that the Borough is twinned with Chantilly in France and I can’t help but wonder if the residents of this rather genteel Borough have a dollop of vanilla infused cream in their coffee which they drink from cups set on a lace tablecloth. Go on, work that one out!

image009A bit more roadside walking brought me to the oddly named Nonsuch Park, currently home of Nonsuch Mansion, a 19th century building used as a wedding and conference venue but built in the grounds of what was formerly Nonsuch Palace which was a remarkable place.

The Palace was built by our old friend King Henry VIII and building was begun on 22nd April 1538 which was the first day of the 30th year of his rule.  The whole project was an exercise in the extravagant vanity of that profligate monarch. Firstly, he had a complete village, including it’s Church, destroyed because he liked the site. Still, he had a bit of a reputation for destroying Churches so I suppose it was not going to further damn his soul at that point if, you believe in such things.

image012Speaking of such things (clever link there I thought) we come back to the name Nonsuch. Henry decreed that this was to be the finest palace in Europe and that there was to be “none such as it” anywhere else. The name stuck.

By the time of it’s eventual completion it had cost around £25,000 to build which is an eye-watering sum. I did a bit of digging and obviously it is not a precise science but the most conservative estimate of the current value of that sum is over £100 million. Using another measurement known as relative output / economic cost (don’t bother, it’s complicated) that already huge figure rises to an almost incomprehensible £5.8 billion.

Henry wanted his grand “country pile” at this location because it was near one of his favourite hunting grounds and we have already seen how fond he was of that pastime. Contemporary paintings show that when it was completed it was indeed a magnificent structure although the spendthrift Sovereign did not live to see it as it was still a building site when he died in 1547 whereupon Queen Mary sold it to the Earl of Arundel who finished the job.

After that it had a bit of a chequered existence in a very turbulent period of English history. The Royals regained from Arundel’s family in the last decade of the 16th century but they didn’t keep it long as the Parliamentarians took it when they defeated the Royalists in the Civil War and installed one of their Generals there.

With the Restoration it returned to King Charles II who promptly gave it to one of his many mistresses, Barbara Villiers, Countess of Castlemaine who was, amongst many other things, an inveterate and not very successful gambler. Despite frequently pilfering the Privy Purse (the King’s money) she still couldn’t make ends meet and she had the palace torn down in 1682 so she could sell of the remains as salvaged building materials and there is now no trace left of the once unrivalled building.  You can see how muddy it was underfoot on that supposed Spring day.

I must admit that whilst researching this portion of the post, of which I knew only the bare outline before, I had to smile. Charles fathered at least five children by his Mistress. Her last child was acknowledged by Charles but was probably sired by her second cousin John Churchill, later Duke of Marlborough and distant ancestor of Sir Winston. Given all this it amused me greatly to find out that her official position at Court was “Lady of the Bedchamber”. Quite.

I am sure the park is lovely on a fine day but it wasn’t seen to best advantage that day and I strode / waded on. After crossing the ridiculously busy Ewell bypass (please do use the pedestrian crossing) I was into Ewell Village itself and the wonderful St. Mary’s Church. Sadly, like most churches it was not open but the graveyard, which drew me like a moth in much the same way pubs do, was interesting.
There may have been an earlier church in Ewell but the first documented vicar is in the late 13th century. The evidently God-fearing folk of the village have certainly made up for it since as this is one of four places of worship within about 500 yards of each other now. The original church was of flint and chalk construction which is so common in Southeast England but by the middle of the 19th century it was in a bad state of repair and the local nobleman, the Rev. Sir George Glyn gave land and £500 to construct a new one. We’ll meet the Reverend gentleman again shortly.

image025

Started in 1847 to the design of Henry Clutton of Whitehall (obviously an important man) the “New Church” was completed the following year and this is the building you see today. It included many of the fine fittings of the previous Church including the peal of six bells which were re-cast and two more added.

Unable to enter and having stood in the rain long enough in the graveyard I carried on in the hope there must surely be a pub in Ewell somewhere. There was and we’ll be in there in a moment but I fear there is going to be another excursus first on one of my pet subjects about things going round in circles or “the interconnectedness of all things” as the late Douglas Adams brilliantly put it. Skip down a few paragraphs if you don’t want to listen to my musings.

Whilst researching the Church I was looking at the website which I have linked above and one image caught my attention. It was a group of Morris dancers, obviously taken at some Church fete or whatever and I recognised them as the local Ravensbourne Morris, who we have met before on this walk a couple of posts ago both at Caeser’s Well in Keston where they dance up the Beltaine sunrise on Mayday and the nearby Greyhound pub where they have been dancing out every Boxing Day for decades. They are named for the Ravensbourne River which rises in the Well and flows into the Thames at Deptford Creek. A mate of mine, who I used to play in a folk-rock band with, is a long-time member.

Before I started writing this series, I was walking and writing up another long-distance path in London called the Jubilee Greenway and that series starts here.  The Greenway passes over Deptford Creek and, again, I wrote there about Ravensbourne Morris.
Enough of all that, it’s time for the pub but I had to negotiate and record a couple of interesting buildings first.

image028The first of these is Well House which has been Grade II listed since 1954 although, despite having the accumulated knowledge of the world at my fingertips (i.e. the interweb thingy I am using here) I can tell you nothing else about it other than what is shown on the plaque, the fact it is now partitioned into semis and the registered offices of Southern Fruit Brokers is at number 11.

What I can tell you about is Sir Arthur Glyn and Margaret and their forebears who I have researched on the excellent Epsom and Ewell History Explorer website which has kept me reading far too long as it is so interesting. It is really no wonder it takes me a minimum of two days to do every single entry on this blog and that I am constantly behind!

Glyn ArmsThe Baronetcy of Ewell was created for Sir Richard Glyn in 1759 and I have to say that the family coat of arms looks to me remarkably like the double headed eagle on the Albanian flag but that is just the way my mind works.  This image is Wikicommons and is © Lobsterthermidor.

I’ll give you a quick rundown on the Glyns as I know all about them now!

Richard was born in 1711 and followed his Father into the drysalting trade i.e. dealing in chemicals and dyes. He did well and became Sheriff and then Lord Mayor of London. Sir Richard founded a bank which eventually became part of the Royal Bank of Scotland. I wonder if Fred “the Shred” Goodwin knew that when his unfettered greed and cavalier attitude nearly sank the RBS in 2008.

On the death of the first Baron in 1773, the title passed to his son George who married Jane Lewens and fathered two children, one of whom died in infancy. The first-born, another Richard, purchased a commission in the Army and did well rising to Major in only two years but he did not enjoy his rank long as he was killed in battle in Haiti in 1795 at the age of 25. I didn’t even know we had fought in Haiti, every day’s a schoolday. The fact that the unfortunate young Major served in the Dorsetshire Regiment is interesting as it shows an early family association with that County in the West Country which continues to this day.

Jane had died in 1790 which left the Baronet widowed and heirless, so what to do? Re-marry of course and his second bride was less than half his age when they married in 1796 and he was 57. Apparently there was a bit of life in the old dog yet and the couple had three children, the second of whom was Lewen who succeeded the Baronetcy on George’s death in 1814 although he was only 13. Sadly, Sir Lewen did not enjoy good health and suffered from epilepsy from which he died in a private lunatic asylum in Somerset at the age of 38 and childless. How barbaric to put an epileptic in an asylum but that is just the way things were then. Due to the lack of an heir the Baronetcy passed to his younger brother George on his death in 1840.

We have already met the Rev. Sir George at the church as he was the man who had the new building erected. He married Emily Jane Birch and they had four children, one of whom died in infancy and one at the age of three. It appears even wealth and position were no defence against the awful child mortality of the 19th century. Emily Jane died in 1854 and George in 1885, having retired in 1881 after over 50 years as the rector of St. Mary’s.

The elder of the two surviving children was another George who, at the tender age of 18, married his own cousin Henrietta Amelia Glyn. This surprised me when I read it as he was the teenage son of a cleric and I had thought that such relationships were against Church teaching not to mention civil law but on checking it I was wrong as I frequently am. Then, and now, you can marry your own first cousin although I still think it is a bit off myself.

The cousins had five children, the fourth of whom, William, died tragically young whilst on military service in Malta. On the death of the Reverend Glyn his son George became the fourth Baronet but died of pneumonia six years later in 1891. George seems to be a bit of a family skeleton in the closet as he is believed to have had some sort of mental problem even though he was educated at Oxford as was his half-brother Sir Gervas Powell who succeeded him as the fifth Baronet. He was only 28 at the time and a medical student. Sadly, he too proved to be mentally unstable and in 1906 was pronounced unfit to manage his own affairs by no less a personage than the King’s Master of Lunacy. What a title and what a position to hold in the 20th century.

image027With the death or Sir Gervase, the Baronetcy passed to Sir Arthur Glyn who had lived with his sister at Well House since c. 1902 and which building started off this whole essay. He had broken with family tradition and gone up to Cambridge rather than Oxford where he qualified as a solicitor. He was well liked and was very much the “Lord of the Manor”, involving himself in all aspects of local life especially education and he had a particular liking for taking children on rambles despite not having any of his own. He had never married after a short-lived and failed engagement and his sister Margaret, herself a spinster, was also childless and so, on the death of Arthur from pleurisy, the Baronetcy was merged with another branch of the Glyns in Gaunts (Dorset) where the family had long associations as mentioned before. Margaret lived another four years and died in 1946 and with her also died the Glyns of Ewell.  It is fascinating how the history of one family can become so entwined with that of a particular locale.

I realise that the Glyn family history is probably of no interest to the vast majority of the few people that read this blog and that it has little or nothing to do with the London LOOP but I am writing this in mid May 2020 and entering my third month of house arrest due to the Coronavirus pandemic. Quite frankly it is causing me to lose whatever vestiges of sanity I still retained and this blog and online solitaire, which I am sadly addicted to, are about the only things keeping me half sane. I know I am prone to digression even in what passes for normal times in the 21st century but I am conscious that my peregrinations are getting worse, as this post clearly demonstrates. I am working on the principle that I am not doing anyone any harm and it keeps me happy, so what’s the problem? It is not as if it is an academic thesis or anything.

image029Right, that was Well House and I knew there must be a pub nearby but not so quick, Fergy.

The good people of the local Rotary Club had put another of their commemorative plaques on a rather nondescript little building adjacent to Well House although in this case they should have checked their facts a bit more thoroughly with the excellent Epsom and Ewell History Explorer that I mentioned above as the details are flawed.

Ewell had purchased a fire engine in 1770 but the building did not come until later. As well as being the “fire station” the building had a dual function, as hinted at by the barred window, with the other half serving as the local lockup.

image030In truth, the whole facade of the Watch House is just that – a facade. It dates to my lifetime, 1963 to be precise. In a fit of madness that only a British local authority could be guilty of they ripped off the 19th century stucco, complete with the legends “Watch House”and “Engine House” and replaced it with what you see here which is assorted grade rubble from the Council Yard.

The reason? You probably aren’t going to believe this if you are not British and know what Councils are like, but it was to make the building look more historic! Once again, you really could not make it up.

Come on, there had to be a pub somewhere nearby and indeed there was, an absolute beauty called the Star on the roundabout at the bottom of the Cheam Road and I was in there in double quick time. It was as wonderful inside as it was outside and exuded “old world” charm as befitted a 16th century building although it had only became a pub in 1904 after serving as a Post Office and a bank. It was clearly very much geared towards food and good food at that if the menu and prices were anything to go by. Even after all these years I distinctly remember explaining to the barman that the reason I was out walking on such a foul day was that I was undertaking a 150 mile pub crawl. His expression was priceless.

Yet again, it was another place I could happily have sat all afternoon and dried off but there was more walking to be done so it was one pint and back on the road. I bade my farewell to the friendly barman and promised that I would return another time. I never managed to and now I can’t by which you have probably guessed what I am going to say next. Yes, another dead pub. I was lucky I went there when I did because the Star has a bit of a history as I have just discovered. I was checking on the place this morning as I was writing this and found out it was closed so I did a bit of researching for my mate Glenn at the XXXX Lost Pubs website to save him the bother. Let’s be honest, I have nothng better to do at the moment under CoVid house arrest.
The Star, which had also been called the Loose Box and the Grapes over the years, had closed in 2012 and re-opened in 2013. I can’t find out exactly when it finally closed again although I have done a bit of sleuthing and it must have been between August 2015 and September 2016. The latest news as of two weeks before I write this in May 2020 is that it has planning permission for the ground floor to be converted into a medical clinic but there are no takers. Frankly, I am not surprised as it was on the market in 2012 for a cool £1 million. Expensive real estate for a Doctor’s surgery.

image033I didn’t manage to get too far as just up the street was the “Famous Green Man” and I had to follow my own rules so it was in there for a pint. There was nothing wrong with it at all, it just suffered rather in comparison to the Star which I had enjoyed so much. Another swift one and walked on along High Street until I came to the rather magnificent gates you can see here which mark the entrance to the grounds of Bourne Hall.

The rather fine canine you can see atop the gates is apparently a Talbot Hound, a species of hunting dog that became extinct in the 16th century but is the forebear of the modern beagle. This particular beast is reputed to have saved one of the Barritt family from drowning and so here he is. I’ll tell you about the Barritts directly. There is a lovely story that the tail was once damaged and was temporarily replaced by a cow horn supplied by Mr. Cracknell the local butcher. Looks just the right shape to me. Unsurprisingly, the gate is locally referred to as the “Dog Gate”. What else would you call it?

Just inside the gate I spotted a War Memorial which is unusual for a number of reasons and it was time to remove headgear and pay my respects as always before taking the images you can see here. Do not go looking for it at that location now as it has been moved to the site of the Watch House we just passed.

The memorial is unusual in that it is not a memorial in the accepted sense of the word as it was not erected after the Great War but was rather a sad work in progress throughout the hostilities which explains why the names are not sorted alphabetically or by rank but were carved by the stonemason as each new batch of casualties was reported.

There are 80 names here (St. Mary’s records an additional two) and I have discovered that the population of Ewell in 1911, the last census before the war, was 24,300. My research also shows that there were approximately 2,100 men between the ages of 15 and 39 i.e. those liable to fight (I know 15 is young, it is just the way the figures are collated) so the 80 fallen represent almost 4% of the men of “breeding” age in the village. It is no wonder the population remained flat for the 1921 census.

The railings are also unusual in that they were erected in 1816 to commemorate the defeat of the French at Waterloo the previous year in another bloody conflict on Continental soil. Tragically, even with the history of these two episodes of massive bloodshed in Europe it wasn’t to be the last time, as we know.

You know what is going to happen now, don’t you? Yes, I am off on another mission to research Bourne Hall so if you don’t want to know about it then just skip down a bit to where you see the image of the next LOOP direction board and you’ll be safe.

If you are still here, thank you and settle in for another major piece of local history about an area I have visited once in my life and may never revisit but I have just spent the best part of four hours reading all about. I do not say this for effect but I really do think I must have some form of OCD or similar condition the way I get into something and worry it to pieces. It doesn’t affect me adversely as I can please myself regarding my time so it is not a concern and I am certainly not going to bother the over-worked NHS for a proper diagnosis.

In this instance my source material is not the excellent EEHE mentioned above but another local history group called the Epsom & Ewell History & Archaeology Society whose fascinating newsletters for the period 1968 – 1999 are on this web page which has just cost me another couple of hours reading portions of it.  It appears the people of Ewell are very into their local history.  The particular piece on Bourne Hall was painstakingly put together by Mabel Dexter and I have merely composed a precis of her exhaustive research.

The story of Bourne Hall begins in 1721 with the birth of a carpenter’s son called Philip Rowden in Hampshire who, in the best traditions of Dick Whittington, went to London to seek his fortune.  History  does not record whether or not he had a cat!  He did well and by the age of 30 was a Freeman of the prestigious Vintner’s Company in the City of London. He would eventually rise to be Master.

In the second half of the 18th century there was a vogue for the rich and powerful to buy up huge tracts of land within reasonable travelling distance of the London and build large stately homes on them. I suppose we should regard them as the first commuters, a practice which continues in Epsom and Ewell to this day.

By 1770 Rowden had bought up just about all of what is modern day Ewell and set about building his “country pile” where he lived until he died childless in 1795. In a rather gruesome note in his will he ordered that his pair of coach horses be executed immediately on his death. Slightly more humanely, he ordered that “six poor men and six poor widows do assemble at my house on the Sunday morning next after my funeral and from thence attend my family to church to hear Divine Service and at such time I direct my Executors to give unto them five shillings apiece”. The next year Rowden’s estate was sold by his estate (another one I could not resist) and was purchased by one Thomas Hercey Barritt.

Barritt came from a Cornish family who had gone to Jamaica when Oliver Cromwell stole their lands following the Civil War and they had done rather well. Using his wealth he immediately began a remodelling of the entire property, extending the main house, constructing outbuildings, landscaping the gardens and creating the rather grand entrance pictured above. The coat of arms are an amalgam of the Barritt crest and that of a family called Garbrand, more Jamaican colonials, who had intermarried with the Barritts. Subsequently the house, which had unusually remained unnamed in Rowden’s time, became known as Garbrand Hall.

To keep the peasantry out of his fine new estate, Barritt built a substantial red brick wall all around the park and the remains of it are still visible.  When Barritt’s wife died in 1841 he sold the house to Henry Batson who, in turn, sold it to George Torr in 1859. That’s four owners in less than 90 years.

Torr was an engineer and conducted business manufacturing animal charcoal which I had never heard of and frankly don’t much fancy looking up. He had premises in Greenwich and Whitechapel, where I live, and so I had to look him up in yet another digression. It appears that Mr. Torr was an extremely generous man who gave a fine Willis organ to St. Mary’s Church where we were a short time ago although the organ was sadly lost to fire on 1973.

It also appears he must have had no sense of smell because apart from the animal charcoal business he also had a manure works in Whitechapel and in 1861 he donated some adjacent land for the building of a ragged school in what is now called Durward Street. No longer ago than yesterday when writing this, on 15/05/2020 to be precise, I was queuing the requisite social distance from everyone else to get into my local supermarket and I was looking down Durward Street. This was not for it’s aesthetic qualities, which are limited to say the least, but because I know what happened there and, like so much else, it intrigues me.

Durward Street was not always called that and was formerly known as Buck’s Row with the school being unsurprisingly called Buck’s Row School although it is now yet more “yuppie” flats. If you have an interest in criminology and specifically “Ripperology” you will know that Buck’s Row was the site of the first Jack the Ripper murder where Mary Ann Nichols was brutally murdered and mutilated on the night of 30th / 31st August 1888. I promise you I am not going to utter a word about things going round in circles. I don’t need to, do I?

image043The benevolent Mr. Torr died at the young age of 52 in 1867 and his wife, daughter and adopted daughter continued to live in the Hall. The widow Torr was very keen on gardening and was particularly noted for the quality of her chrysanthemums although the hard work was done by her gardener Mr. Child who won many awards. One feature in the grounds was the waterwheel you can see here and which, for no particular reason, I erroneously imagined to be modern. It is in fact 19th century and was used to supply water to the greenhouses which is presumably where the flowers were cultivated. There was certainly no shortage of water the day I was there.

In 1882 Bertha, the daughter of the family, married and moved away and after that the breakup of the estate was almost inevitable as it was too big for the ageing widow Torr.  It was sold in 1896 and went through a number of owners until our old friend Margaret Glyn bought it in 1925 which probably saved it from development in the post-war housing boom. There were even plans drawn up to fill in the lovely lake you can see above. This is the headwater of the Hogsmill river of which nore anon.

Although Mrs. Glyn owned the estate now, she continued to live in Well House as we have seen and the Hall became a girl’s school. About this time the name was changed to Bourne Hall as the Garbrands were long gone although why the new name was chosen is unclear. A bourne is an intermittent spring which dries up in summer and is usually found in chalk or limestone areas such as this. It is used in many English place names like Wimborne, Camborne, Bournemouth etc. not to mention that Ravensbourne River again. In this case it is probably a generic name for the Hogsmill which I promise I am coming to soon.

Miss Glyn had sold the property to the Council before her death in 1946 although it continued as a school until 1952 when the lessee ran into financial difficulties and when the poor pupils arrived, complete with luggage, for the Autumn term in 1953 the place was shut which caused some consternation. The Council now had to decide what to do with Bourne Hall and there were various suggestions but it was in a parlous state by then, which had caused it’s downfall as a school due to the cost of repair, and so it was torn down in 1962.

image040At least the grounds had been saved and the Council wished to utilise them for some form of public building, ideally including a library, museum, social rooms and other facilities. They employed the architect A. G. Sheppard Fidler and what he designed was futuristic to say the least as you can see in the image. I am not the first to have said it but to my eye the new Bourne Hall looks like nothing so much as a circular spaceship come gently to Earth in these rather old-fashioned formal gardens. It is evocative of H.G. Wells “War of the Worlds” although this particular structure is entirely benign and not given to rampaging about Britain causing havoc. Some of the building is “underground”with an artificial hill built up around it and it is not intrusvie or overpowering as a modern conventional building might have been.

image042Had the website been available to me then I would have known that I had now completed Section 7 by their structure of the walk and it is one of the shortest at three and a half miles. This is indicated on the sign in the image which will probably be a very welcome sight to those who have skimmed down the page from earlier. I had just about warmed my muscles up by then and I was raring to go but I am going to do something I do not normally do here.

Despite only having walked that meagre distance in less than three hours, you can see how much I have written about it and this is possibly the longest individual post I have ever composed. In the interests of neatness I am going to break here even though the next episode will be a continuation of the same days walk.

In that post we will get on with Section 8, go wading in the Hogsmill (we do get there soon, I promise), get soaked again and dry off in some strange pubs so stay tuned and spread the word.

Author: Fergy.

Hello there and welcome to my blog which is the last attempt of a retiree and child of the 50's to overcome advanced technophobia and create a memoir of my rambles having had three commercial travel blog sites pulled from under me in just over a year. A learning curve like Everest! I am rapidly approaching a senior citizen bus pass and realistically I have more days independent travelling behind me than before so I intend to "do it while I still can" and am trying to cram in as much as I can now. Apart from travelling, I love playing music (guitar, vocals and a bit of percussion) as the profile pic suggests and sport, although my active participation is now restricted to the very occasional game of pool. I read voraciously, probably a legacy from my dear late Mother who was a librarian and encouraged me towards books from an early age. I'll read just about anything although I do have a particular interest in military history of all periods. I live alone in fairly central London where I have been for over 30 years since leaving Northern Ireland which was the place of my birth, youth and early manhood. Partially by necessity although more by love of the art I adore cooking and I can and do read recipe books and watch food programmes on TV / online all day. Nothing fancy and none of your nouvelle cuisine nonsense, just hopefully tasty, proper food. To my knowledge, I have not poisoned anyone yet! No doubt other little personal facts about me will emerge during the course of my writings here so stay tuned if you are at all interested.

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