Joydens Wood and the Faesten Dic
Saturday 1 November 2014
Four of us started from Greenwich Park in a light drizzle to follow the path alongside the A2. By the time we got to Eltham it had stopped, and remained dry the rest of the day. Catherine joined us there, having caught the train out from central London. Beyond Falconwood it was on road out to just beyond Sidcup and then on to Old London Road, now a byway. The surface was dry, although deeply rutted in places and we had to walk the steeper sections. But at least it was away from the traffic on the main road.
Another section of bridleway led us across a golf course and into Joydens Wood. Responsible cycling is permitted in this Woodland Trust site but the main tracks in the wood were rather muddy due to use by horses, so we parked up and went on foot in search of the Faesten Dic. Eventually we found an identifiable stretch of this Anglo-Saxon “strong ditch” marking the boundary between the Kingdoms of Kent and Wessex; indeed the present boundary between Kent and Greater London still runs through the woods. None of us had been there before, and at this time of year with autumn colours on the trees, sunny periods and unseasonably warm weather, it was delightful.
Hunger eventually drove us out of the woods in search of lunch. The pub marked on the map nearby turned out to have closed, but Nigel’s find-a-pub app directed us to a Harvester on the outskirts of Dartford where we all had a good value meal.
The shortest route home would have been straight along the old A2 through Crayford, Bexleyheath and Shooters Hill but instead we found a quieter on-road route through East Wickham, Plumstead Common and Charlton.
26 miles, and no punctures despite the holly-strewn byway.
This is a Flikr slideshow of the pictures that we took on the day:
Stephen (ride leader)