Physical activity is one of the best ways to get some mind space and generate some feel-good chemistry in the brain. Feeling fitter and getting a dose of endorphins are not the only reasons I find myself craving a walk. Exploring the city I live in makes me feel closer to the community and navigating through a new place forces me to flex some brain cells that have fallen asleep in the age of GPS and wi-fi.

Waterlink Way

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Waterlink Way route marker

This weekend I finally got the chance to walk through the Waterlink Way in South East London. I got the idea after finding a London Walker’s Tube Map on the Londonist blog. To start gently I picked one of the shortest walks on offer. Lewisham council has a handy map which is enough to navigate this very well-marked route. It combines a number of shorter routes, which wind through lovely local parks, play areas and for most part follows a stream giving it a less urban feel. The paths were busy with cyclists too since the route coincides with Sustrans Route 21.

 

Riverview Walk

This part of the walk has some lovely short sections which follow the stream where the sound of the city disappears and with all the dog walkers around you can really get that small town feel with everyone saying hello to each other. The section ends on a more industrial note emerging through the bridge arch onto the car park of Wickes. It’s not hard to navigate as it is clearly and frequently signposted around here and soon enough the next section starts at Ladywell Fields.

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First section of the walk starting at Lower Sydenham – Riverview Walk

Ladywell Fields

A well-kept local park with tennis courts and bowling green carries on next to the stream and connects up to other green spaces. On this section of the route we saw an athletics field, a basketball court, numerous playgrounds, skate park and a swirly set of stairs – no excuses for the locals to stay on the sofa! The route winds through some busy urban areas toward the end of this section, where the streams runs parallel with the train line. The silver lining of losing the greenery for the concrete is the occasional spot of street art that pops up along the way.

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Ladywell Fields and surrounding areas

 

Brookmill Park and Broadway Fields

For a nice end to the route – some well-kept small local green spaces, with plenty of sports facilities and manicured flower beds. The route ends by Deptford Bridge DLR station, however markings can be followed a little further to Greenwich. We settled for the middle ground and stopped at New Cross for a pint at Amersham Arms. A good day’s walk and plenty of new experience and feel-good vibes generated. Inner solar battery got a little bit of charge!

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Brookmill Park and the greenery in early spring

If you know of any routes, however wild or urban, local to London or further afield, drop me a line – I’d love to hear where else I could explore.