Lesnes Abbey || Conquering the Green Chain Walk

I blogged last summer about living near to a branch of the Green Chain Walk and wanting to complete all 50 miles of it. We accomplished a fair bit of it last summer and over this long bank holiday weekend we got about another 17 miles of it done. Success! (Which is good because I ate my body weight in chocolate eggs…) Just to summarise the Green Chain Walk a bit, it’s a walking route that links all of South East London without really leaving a park, woodland, field or nature preserve.

On Saturday we headed down to Erith, where the Thames looks like the ocean – it’s incredible. From there we walked to Lesnes Abbey, one of the attractions on the Green Chain Walk I’d most been looking forward to. I can’t say that I loved the Erith area. I didn’t feel comfortable taking photos but to give you a visual reference it’s where Stanley Kubrick filmed “A Clockwork Orange” at. Let me summarise my time in Erith with this anecdote: we were walking down the street and I saw a massive rat run out of the sewer and into a chicken shop. There were a few people around and no one batted an eye. I was gutted because Sam was looking at something else and missed it. Luckily this situation was remedied about 30 seconds later when the rat ran back out of the shop and into the sewer.  I guess that’s what happens when you’re so close to the mouth of the Thames. Anyway. But let’s not tar this whole leg (Section 2) of the journey with a rat brush. As soon as you entered the woods, you encountered Frank’s Park, which was a delight and then climbed Bostall Woods to find some amazing heath. And then you come across Lesnes Abbey. 

Lesnes Abbey built in 1178, and what you can see today are the ruins of it’s former glory. It was only operational for about 400 years, as it was mostly demolished in 1524 when Henry VIII said goodbye to Catholicism. One of the craziest things you’ll discover as you wander amongst the ruins is a plaque denoting where historians found the mummified heart of Roesia of Dover, the great, great grand-daughter of the Abbey’s founder. She spent a good portion of her childhood at the abbey and upon her death, wanted her heart bequeathed to the Augustinian monks as a relic to pray on. Strange. But true.

Monday found us continuing our epic Green Chain Walk, but a bit closer to home. We did Sections 8 and 10, which took us through the lovely Beckenham Place Park, where we had our first picnic of the year. The park is neat – it’s one of the last remaining areas of truly ancient woodland within London. Plus the second oldest oak tree in Britain is there, and how can you top that?

Monday also proved that Sperrys can withstand anything, as I did the whole 9.5 mile walk in them.  

frank park playground sam at frank parklesnes abbey from green chain walkruinsabbey lesnes abbey
abbey bars    gazing at old rooms keep off walls    excited to explore

How was everyone else’s long weekend? Anyone else have a super active one? 

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