To my surprise, I have recently discovered an exciting section of the Transport for London website, headed “Walk London“.
Now, I have always known about some of the designated London walks, such as the Jubilee Walkway, because I have often seen the way markers set into the pavements around the South Bank. However, I have never really looked at the full routes or taken account of the many new routes which have been opened up across the capital in the past few years. So, spurred on by a friend’s random tweet about the Capital Ring Walk, I took advantage of a spare Wednesday in April and set out to walk the Eastern loop of the Jubilee Walkway. Some of the route I know well, but I hoped that having the focus of a walk plan would provide new vistas or curiosities which have escaped my notice when I am just going from A-B!
The start of the route officially loops from the Tate Modern Art Gallery at Bankside, towards Tower Bridge. However because I know this part of the river very well I started by walking along Southwark Street and cut through Borough Market where I wanted to eat.
Walking along Southwark Street I was intrigued by the Kirkaldy Testing Museum which has a rather magnificent motto carved above the door. Built in 1874 it houses David Kirkaldy’s machinery used to test the strengths of materials. It still functions and the building has open days across the year, so I will have to come back and see it in action! Cutting through the back of Borough Market, I wandered to the Southwark Cathedral side where a fabulous thali from Gujerati Rasoi and a Cinnamon Tree Bakery biscuit awaited.
Fortified with lunch, I wandered back onto the official walkway and headed off towards Tower Bridge, via the river walkway. Having crossed the bridge I veered down the steeply worn steps towards St Katharine’s Dock. As you head into the dock you pass David Wynne’s 1973 sculpture “Girl with a dolphin”. This is apparently a companion piece to the 1974 work “Boy with a dolphin” located at Cheyne Walk. I’ve noticed both statues before but never their similarities. Interestingly David Wynne also designed the linked hands on the 50p coins! A few steps on you find the 1973 sundial, “Timepiece”, by Wendy Taylor, a very large sundial which consists of a stainless steel ring supported by three rigid chain cables.