South-east London has some great urban countryside, and some very decent pubs when you track them down. I had one new Guide pub on Shooters Hill (the A2) and an old favourite on nearby Plumstead Common to visit, but to make a 15 miler out of it I added in Charlton. Unexpectedly, it was quite brilliant.
The Thames path from Woolwich Ferry gives you the views of London I missed on the powerboat trip last month. The parkland around the Thames Barrier complex is as compelling a case to visit as the Barrier itself. I had vague ambitions to walk across the Barrier, but remembered I’d only seen that done on Spooks.
Just before entering Maryon and Charlton Parks I found a companion piece to yesterday’s Royal Oak north of the river, the Truman eagle still standing but the interior a scary shell.
Maryon Park is a delight, steep walks around the old sandpits giving a variety of views and early summer smells, making this the walk of the year so far.
Charlton itself is Beer Guide entry free, and What Pub hardly suggests anything else worth a visit. Neither Antic or Wetherspoons have made it this far east.
Shooters Hill looks a little different from the description in “A Tale of Two Cities”, but the Bull is a real survivor, and I suspect the Rosey Nosey pumplclip was around in Dickens’s time.
The Bull is a classic real ale local. Two rooms, chatty landlord, papers to read, beer of the month (Long Man Pale, NBSS 4). That the first beer of the week was that good is testament to proper cellarmanship, and high ale turnover over a range that included two Moorhouse staples.
While West Ham’s future looks bright (until the new fans start complaining about only getting 4th place), Charlton Athletic are in a real mess that the Landlord was happy to explain in detail. It could be worse mate, you could be a City supporter.
I then decided to revisit an old favourite in Plumstead Common, via some more great views east on the Green Chain walk.
The Old Mill is another cheery local, with an excellent pint of Hop Stuff Stout (NBSS 3.5), though not quite in the same league as a life-changing Harveys (NBSS 4.5) I had there the first time. Great to see it back in the Beer Guide..
..though seemingly at the expense of Albert’s in Woolwich’s sparkling new town centre (I mean that, the town was absolutely buzzing at 3pm on a Monday afternoon). South East London CAMRA are to be congratulated on their Beer Guide selections, putting quality over sentiment. Be good to see this classic back in the GBG soon though.