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The last village

tooltipDiscovering Britain walk

Explore the fortunes of a historic settlement on the edge of London

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Do you know how much your home town or village is worth?

In the Domesday survey of 1086 the village of Bexlea - meaning ‘a settlement in a clearing in the woods’ - had 41 inhabitants with 100 pigs and 10 ploughs and was valued at £20.

Today, Bexley is a popular Kent commuter town which has been swallowed up by London’s urban sprawl. Yet while Bexley is virtually the last village on the edge of London, it maintains a distinct feel and character.

Explore how Bexley village has developed over more than a thousand years. Discover evidence in the buildings and streets of how the village looked in Saxon and medieval times. Find out how and why it changed in the Victorian and post-war eras.

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Learn about the lives of villagers over the centuries and what they have done for a living. And discover how its position on the banks of the River Cray has brought both advantages and disadvantages.

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Walk Info

Distance:

3 miles

Level:
A mostly flat route

tooltipA mostly flat route

Suitable for:
A small section of the walk is along busy roads so take care with young children

tooltipA small section of the walk is along busy roads so take care with young children

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Region:
Greater London
Setting:
Towns & Cities
Landscape:
Historic landscapes Built landscapes
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Start:
Bexley railway station
Finish:
Bexley High Street
Getting there:

tooltipJust off the A2. Easily accessible from M25 (Junction 2 or 3). Several car parks including station, Thanet Road, behind High Street and the Mill

tooltipDirect trains from London Charing Cross and London Cannon Street

tooltipServed by buses from North Greenwich, Thamesmead, Erith, Sidcup and Bromley

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Bexley

101 High Street, a 15th century house with a Queen Anne facade
Rory Walsh © RGS-IBG Discovering Britain

Bexley

Elaborate tombs in St Mary's churchyard
Rory Walsh © RGS-IBG Discovering Britain

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Route map

Select pins on the map to find out more about each point of interest on the walk

Walk kit

Choose between an audio or written guide: download and enjoy!

Downloads

Written guide
A flat route mostly on urban streets

tooltipHelp with downloading - Double-click the icon to download this PDF file. You can save it to your computer or open it now. The file is designed as a booklet. To print it choose ‘Booklet Printing’ from your printer options.

Audio guide
A flat route mostly on urban streets

tooltipHelp with downloading - Double-click the icon to download this ZIP file of the audio commentary (mp3 files) and accompanying booklet (PDF) which contains maps and directions. You can save the audio files to your computer then add them to your mp3 device. This will vary for each device but you can use any supplied software (such as iTunes, Windows Media Player) or drag and drop the files. The PDF is designed as a booklet. To print it choose ‘Booklet Printing’ from your printer options.

Extras
A flat route mostly on urban streets

tooltipHelp with downloading - Double click to download this GPX file and load it on to your GPS device.

Photo Gallery

Find out what you might see on the walk - click on an image to view full size

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Comments

Find out what other people said about this walk

A contemplation walk -  experience walking with the noise of traffic and the relative peace of quiet of places such as Hall Place, while learning about bye gone days of one of the last villages on the edge of London. A walk across the floodplain of the River Cray which makes you feel good that you have 'trod lightly on the earth' while giving food for thought about contemporary village life.

Laura Shawyer, Kent

Send your review

Links

Find out more about the walk story and places of interest along the route

External links open in a new window


Bexley Council Local Implementation Plan 2005/6-2010/11

Other Major Transport Infrastructure Improvement: Bexley Bypass, pages 244-245

http://www.bexley.gov.uk/CHttpHandler.ashx?id=1215&p=0

London’s Natural Signatures - The London Landscape Framework

Cray River Valley

discoveringbritain/more info documents/Bexley - Cray River Valley.pdf

Recommended place to stay - YHA

Thameside

http://www.yha.org.uk/hostel/london-thameside

Hall Place and Gardens

http://www.hallplace.org.uk/

London Borough of Bexley

Local Studies and Archive Centre

http://www.bexley.gov.uk/index.aspx?articleid=10173

Ordnance Survey map of Bexley village (1897)

© Bexley Local Studies & Archive Centre

discoveringbritain/more info documents/Bexley - Ordnance Survey map 1897.jpeg

Workhouses

Bexley workhouse

http://www.workhouses.org.uk/Dartford/

Credits

The RGS-IBG would like to thank the following people and organisations for their assistance in producing this Discovering Britain walk

 

Raymond Molony for creating the walk and providing photographs

 

Jenny Lunn for editing the walk materials

 

Rory Walsh for dogged persistence in the face of wind and rain to make the audio recording and take photographs

 

Caroline Millar for editing the audio commentary

 

Nick Stanworth and Gemma Coate for additional assistance with compiling walk resources

 

Russell Grey, a local historian, who provided very helpful information

 

Simon McKeon, the Bexley Borough archivist, for his assistance

 

Bexley Local Studies & Archive Centre for kind permission to use archive images

 

Laura Shawyer for testing the walk and providing additional photographs

thank you
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