This circular walk will take you past some of Woolwich’s listed buildings that reveal its historic past.  It will also take you past some of the unsympathetic housing schemes developed in the 60s and 70s. The walk takes about 1.5 hours. Start at Woolwich Arsenal station.  You turn left and head south along Woolwich New Road  you will pass St Peter’s Church 1843 designed by A. W. N. Pugin. At  Grand Depot Road you will eventually come to a junction with views of the Royal Artillery Barracks ahead.  Turn left, but still part of Grand Depot Road, and about 200 meters ahead you come to the Garrison Church of St George built in 1863.  This was destroyed by a flying bomb in 1944.  A temporary roof has been put in place to protect mosaics including one commemorating members of the Royal Artillery awarded the Victoria Cross.

Some further 200 meters along the road you come across an obelisk to commemorate the deceased of the Boer War 1899-902.  A little further on at the corner of Grand Depot and Nightingale Place you will see an early 19th Century house.  Built originally as private dwelling, it was used by the military from 1841-1937.  The building is in need of repair and is on the English Heritage at risk list.  The house and site is currently for sale.  You should cross the road to take you on to the same side as the Royal Artillery.  You will now be in Ha-Ha Road which separates the Royal Artillery Barrack Field from Woolwich Common.  It is a long and deep example of a ha-ha installed in 1774 to prevent sheep and cattle wandering on to the gunnery range.  Woolwich Common was used as a resting place for farmers taking their cattle to the London meat markets.  Walk back towards the Royal Artillery taking the entrance into the parkland on the left.

The path will take you past the front of the Royal Artillery which was built between 1776 and 1802.  It will take you some time to walk past the Artillery as it has the longest continuous facade of any building in the UK and is one fifth of a mile long.  The parade square is also the largest in the UK.  There is a bronze figure of  Victory in the parade square which is cast out of canon captured in the Crimean War.  The 16 Regiment Royal Artillery had been based in this building from 1716 but re-located to St George’s Barracks in Rutland in 2007. The King’s Royal Horse Artillery moved into Woolwich in February 2012.   When you reach the end of the parkland turn right and then first left into Greenhill.  You will pass several military buildings signposted Congreve Lines Woolwich Station.  The road bends to the left and then you will see the Rotunda on the right.

The Rotunda is a 24-side polygon, single storey building designed by John Nash.   It was first erected in the grounds in St James’ Park in 1814 for a fete to honour the Allied Sovereigns during Peace Celebrations after the Napoleonic Wars.  It has a distinctive concave lead roof.  It moved to Woolwich in 1819 and converted into a military museum containing the gun collection of the Royal Artillery.  The museum has now been relocated to Firepower on the Royal Arsenal.

Turn back and take take a left path before you reach the military buildings.  The path takes you up a steep hill leading to Greenhill Courts.  Built in 1851 as the garrison schools they were converted for residential use in 1989.  On Repository Road you will see the 36 inch mortar weighing 42 tons.  It was built in 1854 and was designed by Robert Mallet.  You will be close to the junction of Repository Road and Artillery Place.  On the opposite side of Repository Road is Francis Street cross into this.  The road leads down to the River Thames.  About 500 meters down this road on the right hand side you will come to the Gatehouse of the former Red Barracks  now used as an under 4s playgroup.  Further down you will see the the railings and entrance gateway to the former Red Barracks 1858-60 but now demolished.  Follow the old wall and turn left into Borgard Road.  When you reach Woolwich Dockyard station turn right into Belson Road.  At the end of this road turn left into Kingsman Street.  This road will take you to Woolwich Church Street turn right to take you back into Woolwich town centre.  Take the next right up Church Hill and into the grounds of St Mary Magdelene.

There has been a church on this spur facing northwards to the Thames since the 12th Century.  There is a small green area with seating so you can look across the river.  The present church was built between 1732 and 1739.  The nave and tower is in stock brick with Portland stone dressing. The east end was added in 1894. Hidden under the trees in the grounds is a stone lion which is the memorial to Thomas Cribb (1781-1848).  He was an English bare-knuckle boxer who became world champion.  Cross John Wilson Street and into Powis Street which will take you back to Woolwich Station.  At the corner of Powis  Street you will see two art deco former cinemas.  One is now the New Wine Church and the other is a bingo hall.

In Powis Street you will see The Royal Arsenal Co-operative which was set up by 20 workers from the Royal Arsenal. A full size statute of Alexander McCleod, one of the founding fathers,  is set above.  This is now a Travel Lodge.

The department store opposite was opened in 1938 and prospered for half a century.  It merged with the Co-operative Wholesale Society in the 1980s following a period of decline.  The actual store was abandoned some time in the new millennium and is scheduled for closure.  Continue down Powis Street and into Beresford square and back to the station.

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