New Year’s Day Walk 2018

Whipps Cross Leytonstone

Whipps Cross Leytonstone

Up through the backstreets of Upper Leytonstone emerging on Whipps Cross Road. Early pangs of mid-afternoon hunger are sated at the Lakeside Diner with a sausage baguette. I was only coming out for a local wander, now I need to walk this thing off.

Forest Rise Walthamstow

Around Whipps Cross – recorded from the 14th – 16th Centuries as Phips Cross/ Fypps Cross and literally referring to a cross erected by the Phips family. I cross Woodford New Road to patch of boggy rough ground and pass along St. Peter’s Avenue to Forest Rise. The dead tree stump I photographed in 2010 is still there – thriving in the afterlife.

Hale End Road

Hale End Road

Why did I have the urge to pass through Hale End? I have no idea but as I approached the North Circular crossing I realise how my relationship with the environment was formed by growing up within the acoustic footprint of the M40 – constantly humming out a white noise refrain throughout my childhood from the flyover that curved around the edge of the village. You passed beneath it to go on walks with my Dad in the woods heading up into the Chiltern fringe, and again it loomed ominously overhead walking to the doctors in the next village with my Mum dripping dark liquid down its vast concrete pillars. We viewed glorious sunsets on the other side of the 6 lanes of traffic from a pub garden we often used in my early years. It was an ever present. These motorway/aerterial roads link me to deepest childhood – particularly at sunset as now.

IMG_5164 IMG_5165

Down a street of picture perfect suburban semis in the beautifully named Sky Peals Road. WG (I think the WG means Woodford Green but I have no clue as to why).

Forest Drive Chingford

Then along Forest Drive Chingford, Christmas lights twinkling at the bare forest trees over the road.

River Ching

I cross the River Ching – a candidate for my favourite tributary in the whole of London (I don’t think the Fillebrook counts as I believe it runs into the Dagenham Brook) – and when you consider that the River Lea alone has 30 tributaries (ok some are in Hertfordshire) that is quite an accolade.

Highams Park

Highams Park was the perfect place to end this New Year’s Day walk with its cosy parade by the station and the level crossing. I went into the Tesco megastore and bought some new half-price headphones and a packet of pens.


  1. Duncan   •  

    On Sunday (New Year’s Eve), a group of us did a bike ride that took us from Loughton to the Chingford Mount cemetery via first the Forest and then the back streets and roads of E4. We then went via the Lea at Old Hall Lane to the new Walthamstow Wetland and back home via Blackhorse Road and a cycling quiet route that took us through Lloyd Park and Highams Park/Hale End.

    We cycled in roads with E4 and E17 embossed on the signs until we crossed the A406 and the street signs then featured WG which I assume meant we were then in the pre-Redbridge, Wood Green Urban District Council area.

    For the first time in my life but a few days ago, we travelled the marvellously named along Sky Peals Road which you feature and then cycled along the Ching.

    It was great to see you captured part of our ride. Like you, we love these urban rambles.

    Keep up the good work .

    Happy New Year.


    • JohnR   •     Author

      Happy New Year to you too Duncan. What a fantastic circuit – thanks for sharing

      • Duncan   •  

        It should, of course, read Woodford Green UDC above…

        • JohnR   •     Author

          But what’s odd is that Street sign looks new – it’s certainly post 1965. Do you think it’s for postal purposes?

          • Duncan   •  

            Yes , the signs do look quite modern. and maybe it is for postal purposes but I wonder if it is a declaration that this is Woodford and Essex and not London?

            The signs in the area by Woodford tube do not feature the “WG” because people know they are in Woodford.

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