Author Topic: Secret escapes from London  (Read 1903 times)

Secret escapes from London
« on: July 16, 2017, 10:52:40 pm »
There are other cities of course, but not all are actually fenced all the way round with six (or eight) lanes of tarmac. So, has anyone done a collection of holes in the fence?

I'm thinking of routes that are low traffic, ideally traffic free, but suitable for commuting, so not really muddy bridleways, and certainly not the main junctions and A roads. These things seem quite hard to find without local knowledge. I know about Dancers' Lane at South Mimms, though that was cut off by the motorway; there's a cycle route, but it does some short, mild off road and goes through a culvert.

What's your favourite?

Edit: we're on the Web. Please include a link to Google maps or similar if you can. I've just added one to this post. Sorry for not thinking of it before.

jiberjaber

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Re: Secret escapes from London
« Reply #1 on: July 16, 2017, 11:23:51 pm »
Registering interest....  :thumbsup:
Regards,

Jason

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Re: Secret escapes from London
« Reply #2 on: July 16, 2017, 11:35:03 pm »
Nags Head Lane, Brentwood is OK. And there is a B road heading east from Upminster (St. Mary's Lane) which I think gives a quietist route as far as Basildon.
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telstarbox

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Re: Secret escapes from London
« Reply #3 on: July 17, 2017, 01:19:43 pm »
In the south east quadrant:

Titsey Hill/Titsey Road between the Botley Hill pub and Limpsfield - lots of fun in the southbound direction;

Chelsfield Lane just south of Junction 4 - this is very quiet;

Crockenhill Lane just south of Junction 3 - useful for getting to/from the Darent Valley lanes from the city side.


Re: Secret escapes from London
« Reply #4 on: July 17, 2017, 09:53:42 pm »
Round great tawney way leads you out towards ongar or up into Epping from sorta havering direction

Re: Secret escapes from London
« Reply #5 on: July 17, 2017, 10:45:53 pm »
West London:-

Longford/Colnbrook and through to Windsor or Slough (until they bulldoze everything for the 3rd runway).

Harefield via West Hyde to the Chalfonts.

Re: Secret escapes from London
« Reply #6 on: July 17, 2017, 10:59:02 pm »
Nags Head Lane, Brentwood is OK.

I think I preferred it when it was Nags she's lane  :P

Those wonderful norks are never far from my thoughts, oh yeah!

ian

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Re: Secret escapes from London
« Reply #7 on: July 18, 2017, 10:51:18 am »
In the south east quadrant:

Titsey Hill/Titsey Road between the Botley Hill pub and Limpsfield - lots of fun in the southbound direction;

Chelsfield Lane just south of Junction 4 - this is very quiet;

Crockenhill Lane just south of Junction 3 - useful for getting to/from the Darent Valley lanes from the city side.

Titsey Hill is quite busy though. Not so bad going down but horrible to come back up (and it's bloody steep).

I used to cycle out from Coney Hall (Hayes) via Gates Green Lane – continue due south (Jackass Lane, ha) to Downe (home of the jackass) and keep going onto Cudham Lane South, then the Nower and down Brasted Hill which slips over the M25 and into Brasted. And you are free. I'd loop around and visit some friends in Sevenoaks (skip this portion, they don't know you) and then come back via Darent Valley and the Crockenhill Lane route from Eynsford (this has the benefit of being a route back over the North Downs with very modest gradients).

Further west from Titsey (oh, be quiet at the back), there's a couple of routes down from the North Downs (on road, Chalkpit Lane, some traffic but not so bad, or Tandridge Hill Lane and Flowers Lane). There's a nice amble along route 21 through Woldingham School to get there. You can follow route 21 all the way from Greenwich but be wary that there are regions of this bicycle route that are, erm, unsuitable for bicycles (steep gravelly paths etc, may be OK if your mountain bike skills are topped up or you're willing to occasionally push – oh, and there are gradients).

For less glamour, there is actually a shared pavement down the A22 that gets you under the M25. Abandon the A22 ASAP thereafter though, it's hell.

West of the A22, there are a couple of lanes (Whitehill Lane and Warwick Wold Lane) that get you over or under the M25. Fine for descent, but I'd wouldn't try and clamber back up them, they pick up some – oft impatient – traffic trying to avoid the M23 and the M23/M25 junction. If you don't mind a few bumps, the descent along route 21 isn't too bad unless you have very skinny tyres, but bear in mind if you plan to return that way that there are loose surfaces and a steep gradient). For approaches, you can again keep to the 21 which crosses a bridge over the A22 (gird yourself for a steep climb on the other side). Or from the other direction, take the pleasant ride from Coulsdon up over Farthing Downs and the Happy Valley – Ditches Lane, Church Lane through Chaldon, and Hilltop Lane, turning left onto the Pilgrim's Way when you see the sign. Or drop down Warwick Wold Lane. Wheeeeeeeeeeeeee.
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Re: Secret escapes from London
« Reply #8 on: July 18, 2017, 12:11:47 pm »
I spent years commuting into London from the M25 using the Lea Valley path and Regents Canal path. I don't think it can be beaten for providing a traffic free route virtually into the centre of London.

I have cycled all the way out to Bishop's Stortford along the River Lea and the River Stort. The path remains good until Roydon, after which the surface becomes more varied but nothing that would halt a road bike with half-decent tyres.

The Lea Valley path is a mixed use option so not for speed merchants, but most walkers are courteous and worthy of a thank you.

https://tfl.gov.uk/modes/walking/lea-valley

Re: Secret escapes from London
« Reply #9 on: July 18, 2017, 09:25:02 pm »
So far I'm still getting the impression that the north is less well provided than other directions. I do mean to try the Lea Valley path when I can - it's a bit far east for me really, but OK for a summer evening when I have time. I guess I could cut across from Islington somewhere south of Finsbury Park.

However, I wanted to keep this more general, so keep them coming (with Web links if possible)!

αdαmsκι

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Re: Secret escapes from London
« Reply #10 on: July 18, 2017, 09:36:56 pm »
Mile End to Waltham Abbey:  https://goo.gl/maps/E2fdgm33yER2

Mile End to Lambourne End, Essex. Not past the M25 but there's options from there to go east towards Navestock or north-east towards stapleford tawney: https://goo.gl/maps/8XmQzD3KCqQ2

Mile End to Lambourne End, Essex via Stratford along CS2 https://goo.gl/maps/QrKHQG8iGjq

Greenwich Cutty Sark Gardens to the top of the North Downs and wizz downhill to cross the M25: https://goo.gl/maps/tibUP2FSSDo

Slightly further east on the North Downs to approach Toy Hill (involves going up Church Hill, 25%https://goo.gl/maps/xGWivr7aNt52

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telstarbox

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Re: Secret escapes from London
« Reply #11 on: July 18, 2017, 09:48:48 pm »
By pure coincidence I'm doing most of that last one tomorrow straight after work :)

Re: Secret escapes from London
« Reply #12 on: July 19, 2017, 01:15:38 am »
Mile End to Lambourne End, Essex. Not past the M25 but there's options from there to go east towards Navestock or north-east towards stapleford tawney: https://goo.gl/maps/8XmQzD3KCqQ2

Mile End to Lambourne End, Essex via Stratford along CS2 https://goo.gl/maps/QrKHQG8iGjq

Charlie Brown's roundabout and the Chigwell road can be pretty horrible, mind - perfectly rideable, but I've had a few close passes, and they're not exactly low traffic.

ian

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Re: Secret escapes from London
« Reply #13 on: July 19, 2017, 08:40:02 pm »
By pure coincidence I'm doing most of that last one tomorrow straight after work :)

That's the one I mentioned, though I sometimes do Brasted Hill. I'm not sure why, gravity I suppose.

So far I'm still getting the impression that the north is less well provided than other directions. I do mean to try the Lea Valley path when I can - it's a bit far east for me really, but OK for a summer evening when I have time. I guess I could cut across from Islington somewhere south of Finsbury Park.

However, I wanted to keep this more general, so keep them coming (with Web links if possible)!

The problem with the south is the bloody big hills that make up the North Downs. The London-side approaches are more amenable, coming back hurts unless you borrow a train. Sometimes hills sneak up on you. I assumed I cracked it the other day, a nice rolling descent home. But I'd forgotten one. I dirtied my mouth with a naughty word when that granny ring grinder atop the North Downs appeared. For double-stupid points, I realised I could have taken the turning before and enjoyed a downhill unsullied by a further sneaky outbreak of gravity. That realisation only came to me at the top.

Sorry, no maps as I don't measure such matters, but a quick glance of Google shows all the routes. Turn the terrain option on though.
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Re: Secret escapes from London
« Reply #14 on: July 19, 2017, 10:53:33 pm »
Mile End to Lambourne End, Essex. Not past the M25 but there's options from there to go east towards Navestock or north-east towards stapleford tawney: https://goo.gl/maps/8XmQzD3KCqQ2

Mile End to Lambourne End, Essex via Stratford along CS2 https://goo.gl/maps/QrKHQG8iGjq

Charlie Brown's roundabout and the Chigwell road can be pretty horrible, mind - perfectly rideable, but I've had a few close passes, and they're not exactly low traffic.

So here's what this thread was meant to achieve. With local knowledge there is a way around that like so, going under the underpass. Much more nice. OK, I mostly go around the roundabout too, but that's beside the point.

Also, while they don't help yer actual escape, the Quietways have been quietly arriving, and they can be remarkably more pleasant.

Re: Secret escapes from London
« Reply #15 on: July 19, 2017, 11:03:05 pm »
It feels like this thread should result in a printed map.
...Ideally on silk and secreted within a Monopoly board.

Re: Secret escapes from London
« Reply #16 on: July 20, 2017, 08:32:50 am »
Mile End to Lambourne End, Essex. Not past the M25 but there's options from there to go east towards Navestock or north-east towards stapleford tawney: https://goo.gl/maps/8XmQzD3KCqQ2

Mile End to Lambourne End, Essex via Stratford along CS2 https://goo.gl/maps/QrKHQG8iGjq

Charlie Brown's roundabout and the Chigwell road can be pretty horrible, mind - perfectly rideable, but I've had a few close passes, and they're not exactly low traffic.

So here's what this thread was meant to achieve. With local knowledge there is a way around that like so, going under the underpass. Much more nice. OK, I mostly go around the roundabout too, but that's beside the point.

Can't work out where the underpass is from your link or from streetview, but presumably that just gets you past Charlie Brown's - you still end up on the A113.

Re: Secret escapes from London
« Reply #17 on: July 20, 2017, 08:46:36 am »
He is coming southbound.
Zoom right in, there is an underpass immediately to the east of where Roding lane north meets with Woodford avenue (the ramp is outside the Toby Carvery), he uses that to cross Woodford avenue and then heads towards Charlie Browns and the A113.

Re: Secret escapes from London
« Reply #18 on: July 20, 2017, 09:12:09 am »
Ah. I've been posting at cross purposes - looked at both Ham's and Adamski's links on my phone, and the mobile version of google maps seems to have entirely different routing, taking you (or at any rate me) round the roundabout and up the A road.

Apologies.

Re: Secret escapes from London
« Reply #19 on: July 20, 2017, 09:19:33 am »
Ah. And it does miss out the A113 pretty much completely. Joins at Woodford Bridge roundabout and heads off up Manor Road.

The Quietway I was referring to is much better still if you want an offroad route, and looks something like this

The bonzer bit is that it is offroad by the side of the Roding all the way to Charlie Brown's. Wave as you pass my front door  ;D

Re: Secret escapes from London
« Reply #20 on: July 20, 2017, 10:44:08 am »
West London:-


Harefield via West Hyde to the Chalfonts.

I used to live on the edge of Harefield. In the late 1980s the LBS in Ruislip used to run a very informal hilly time trial up Breakspear Road North, and back down Harvil Road. That part of London is the countryside.

Re: Secret escapes from London
« Reply #21 on: July 20, 2017, 12:56:32 pm »
Those roads are too busy with fast traffic to be pleasant to cycle these days.

The GU Canal towpath is the only quiet escape now, but has many anglers and walkers at weekends.

I now prefer to take my bike in the car well clear of London for rides, ironically of course adding to the traffic.

Re: Secret escapes from London
« Reply #22 on: July 20, 2017, 12:58:31 pm »
Tried to go up White Hill Lane  :sick: coming from Haywards Heath into the Smoke. I gave up & pushed. Said 10%. More like 18%.

ian

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Re: Secret escapes from London
« Reply #23 on: July 20, 2017, 06:18:34 pm »
Unless you follow the M23/A23 or A22 corridors, all roads up the North Downs from the south involve a short, sharp 200m plus climb. It builds character. Admittedly, having built my character, I left it by the side of Titsey Hill (don't do it, combines a vicious climb with equally vicious traffic). The alternative is route 21, which is a gravelly gradient that cuts across the hills rather than tackle them head-on. Not really suitable for a road bike though and still takes some energetic spinning. There are trains from Merstham and Oxted, though of course such moral weakness disqualifies you from the long descents on the other side. Such descents must be earned through blood, sweat, tears, and some serious fucking expletives.
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Re: Secret escapes from London
« Reply #24 on: July 20, 2017, 06:31:53 pm »
Ian's first few words sum up conquering the North Downs  very well.
Unless you choose to mix it with the traffic on the A22 / A23, then your options for a gurning-free London departure are slim/non-existant.
I've looked over the last 11 years.
I've yet to find them.
As for escapes using Jackass Lane south of Hayes or Portnalls Road in Coulsden or Farthing Down, unless you are using these before 06:00 am during the week, or 08:00 at weekends, you should expect to encounter impatient motor traffic.
These add little to the experience.
In all honesty, if I'm looking for a stress-free ride, it'll probably start with a train journey to get me to the other side of the North Downs before I cycle.
Assuming, of course, that Southern aren't holding their passengers to ransom while they debate who  on the train closes the doors.
I know, it may come across as lazy/wimp, but I could do without the stress being added to what is supposed to be a chilling ride...
I've regularly done this, catching trains to deposit me outside of the M25 to reduce the grief of getting there.
My (ex)neighbour (in my road) OTP PaulR  recently moved to Watlington in Oxfordshire, one of his reasons being cited as 'having the countryside on my doorstep'.
I'm beginning to see the reason why he did that.