On the occasion of the Queen’s Silver Jubilee a lovely memorial was created for the nation – the Thames Path – a 184-mile path that wends its way along the river banks for mile upon mile.
Ideal for sunday walks, encouraging families to take bike rides or wander along the river side, the path seemed a fitting present to celebrate the historic moment. However, move on in time to the Diamond Jubilee year and the final stages of the path are now falling part, strewn with rubbish, and blocked by barriers leaving pedestrians and cyclists to fight their way past a series of obstacles and diversions as the path becomes more and more inaccessible, and frankly unfit for enjoyment.
Given the Jubilee, this is not a fitting memorial, especially this building block strewn obstacle course and set of closures happens in Greenwich, a borough which has just been given royal status, and should show off its royal links with pride.
Once you leave Greenwich village, and walk past the Cutty Sark pub, there are signs of recent refurbishment of the path (money spent and path surfaced renewed), but sadly instead of being able to walk down a nicer than average path, the new path way is blocked by huge barriers and building work.
Badly signed diversions are in place, which involve wandering down a dusty road at the side of the building site before you rejoin the path for a bit, clambering over obstacles, the path gets worse and worse, blocked by bits of debris to clamber over.
But eventually you approach the Dome, and the thought that the final stretch is in sight pops up. Unfortunately this is not to be, after edging around an active working site where diggers are pushing piles of dust towards the few pedestrians who have managed to brave this section, the way to the Dome is again blocked and you are diverted on to an ugly section of the A2 packed with roaring traffic.
The obstacles go on and on, and this is no longer a winding enjoyable river path, but an unpleasant urban obstacle course.
So come on Royal Greenwich show commitment to your new name and clean up and open up a renewed Thames Path in time for the Jubilee celebrations in June. It seems only right and proper, ma’am.