The Capital Ring is an ideal winter walk sheltering amongst the green harbours of London's inner city boroughs. Taking the urban heat effect in my calculations, this counts as a challenge for the current months. So, some days ago, I ventured onto my second section: Crystal Palace to Richmond Bridge.
Not as ugly as the Thames Path zero or as fulfilling as some other walks, but I found the route a pleasant stroll. No difficult hills or muddy troughs, the route follows suburban roads for the first section. If there is time to admire the villas with their odd accoutrements adorned by some eccentric, such delights are punctuated by the scrappy parks chosen by some rambler as the quintessence of greenery in the city. There is one stretch near the beginning where the view over south London from the Battersea power station west is worth drinking in. But the path declines towards the Thames and no vista awaits until Richmond.
If the first half of the walk celebrates suburbia, the second celebrates parkland. Follow through Streatham Park and the rest of the way is forest or parkland by Wimbledon Common and Richmond Park. The path led me by ways that I had not seen before: a windmill of unusual provenance at Wimbledon and the wilder stretches of Richmond. The deer proved elusive due to a Sunday population of trippers and dogwalkers.
Finally the path pours down the hill to Petersham meadows and I turned away at Richmond Bridge to enjoy a pint. The walk is easy to follow with good signage. You don't even need a map. But the enjoyment comes from the unexpected: a normal house with stained glass windows; a war memorial (as opposed to the bastardised monument to amoralised universalism enshrined at the far end of the green by a left wing council ashamed of working class duty and sacrifice); or the small sense of pride seeing Dartford increase in distance on the signs passed - a small indication of the path travelled.
And I have reached the Thames again...