Crossing a boundary, London style

Published 7 April 2013

Elaborate footbridge over a wall

An elaborate footbridge over a wall, on the Thames Path Extension

You’re on a walk. You’re happily wandering along, but there’s some sort of boundary. A fence, a wall, or something. The walk needs to get to the other side of the boundary. You might need to go through a gate, or use a stile. Perhaps even a ladder. If you’re really lucky there might just even be a gap to squeeze through. Yes, there are many ways to deal with the problem but they all share the same qualities that they’re small, cheap and simple.

Of course if you’re a long distance trail running through London, that’s certainly not good enough.

As its name implies, the Thames Path Extension is a 13 mile route which extends the Thames Path National Trail from its eastern terminus at the Thames Barrier. It’s urban walking, mostly on the path next to the river which gives the route its name.

And here in Woolwich the path maintainers came up with that age old problem of what to do with a footpath that needs to go through a wall. And there was to be no stile, gate or ladder here. Oh no. Instead walkers get a rather convoluted and elaborate bridge.

Quite why they couldn’t just knock a hole in the wall is a question I can’ answer but perhaps the biggest irony is that there’s a perfectly good sidepath that runs right next to it. It has ramps and everything, thus providing disabled access. And the ramp takes a whole five seconds longer to traverse and is a lot easier too. So much so that the bridge seems to be a completely pointless exercise.

Still, it looks good though.

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