We met around 9.am at the Café at Chislehurst for a quick breakfast, before setting off on our ride to some of our larger local parks.
We stopped at the pub in the park for hot drinks, and the extremely slow service at least gave us the chance to all thaw out. We couldn’t see across the lake due to the thick fog, although there were a few brave people out in their canoes.
Warmed through we carried on, this time to Oxleas Woods, where the climb up the hill soon had us shedding some layers. Winding our way through the woodland paths, the sun now shining brightly, we suddenly came to Severndroog Castle.
Severndroog Castle on Shooters Hill,is a 60-foot high triangular, brick-built tower designed in the gothic style by architect Richard Jupp. Severndroog is a nationally-listed Grade II building presently on English Heritage’s Buildings at Risk register. A Trust was established several years ago and plans are afoot to restore the building and open it to the public.
A look around and then we decided to backtrack through the woods to the café and have our lunch stop, as by now it was really warm.
As it was now such a lovely day, we decided to split the ride, as some people wanted to ride further and some needed to get home by early afternoon. So Nev, our ride leader headed back to Chislehurst with half of the group, while Steve set off towards Woolwich to pick up The Thames Path to Crayford with the other half.
The sun quickly disappeared and was replaced by swirling fog as we descended towards the river. So much so that we all stopped at the bottom of the hill to put back on jackets and gloves. As we cycled along the Thames Path, visibility was poor, we couldn’t even see the water as the mists thickened.
There were very few people about, the water was very still and it felt quiet eerie as we cycled alongside the Thames.
On past Crossness Pumping Station (we visited this a few weeks ago) we cycled, on to Erith, Dartford Creek and Crayford, where we returned to the road. Not for long though, as our ride leader Steve (renowned for his love of alley ways, and tracks through the woods) took us on some more traffic free paths.
Although I think the ride across the now wet grass in Footscray Meadows was a bit borderline!! We arrived back in Petts Wood by 4.30pm after another fantastic ride. Thanks to Nev and Steve for leading the rides today. Can’t wait for next weekend.