Ascending Croydon's peaks

Ten walkers gathered at Coombe Lodge on January 29 and set off southwards down Conduit Lane. The group crossed Croham Valley Road, passed Croham Hurst Golf Club, the venue of a recent choir concert, and ascended onto the Croham Hurst summit.

The Croydon mountaineers

Local expert Neil Pontin helped explain the unique geology and indicated a naturally formed concrete outcrop hidden in the undergrowth before leading the group downhill to a short road section towards Littleheath.

At this point occasional walker Ralph Osborne took over the narrative as he revealed he had grown up in the local streets. Amid increasing drizzle, the group crossed Littleheath Woods and passed along Bramley Bank, following the route of the London Loop.

This part of the walk retraced the earlier Croydon walk in the reverse direction. This was evidenced as the group passed Heathfield, where Navigator Dave had previously leaned on a waymarker to tie his bootlaces.  The waymarker had collapsed under the stress and was still leaning against the hedge where it had been left.

A steep climb in Croham Hurst

As the group entered Addington Hills, Dave tried to compensate for his earlier destructive activities by indicating new waymarkers he and his volunteer group had recently installed on behalf of Croydon Striders, who share the Sandilands Club with the choir. The running group has designed jogging loops around Lloyd Park, Addington Hills and Croham Hurst and, in conjunction with Croydon Council, has commissioned the Downlands Partnership to install waymarkers. Dave demonstrated his obsessive-compulsive behaviour by using a spirit level to test each post, triumphantly reporting that all were still 100% vertical.

Waymarker still 100% 

The group dived out of the rain at the Sandrock pub for mid-walk refreshment. The landlord was persuaded to display a poster advertising our forthcoming recruitment evening prominently in the men's urinal. He was rewarded with a song as we left.

With rain still falling, we tramped into Addington Hills and ascended to the viewpoint, with its impressive views over Croydon and the London skyline just visible through the murk.  The group then descended, crossing Oaks Road into Lloyd Park.  After walking a mile over open fields, Dave pointed out the Sandilands clubhouse and ground, visible over a hedge.

On the summit at the Addington viewpoint 

The final conundrum of the walk was the purpose of the strange posts with basket-like chains  dotted around the park. The most original suggestion was that they were feeding posts for the rarely seen herd of Lloyd Park miniature ponies.  In fact, they were targets for the park’s frisbee golf course - apparently the chain baskets capture the frisbees when hit. The group tried to verify this by lobbing their headgear at the posts without success.

After exiting the park and crossing the tramline the group returned to Coombe Lodge where dinner was enjoyed by all.


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