Walking Deptford Creek
Always on the lookout for unusual places to visit in London, I quickly signed up to walk Deptford Creek at low tide. I think that was in the summer sometime. As the date (in December) approached, I began to wonder whether I’d been a little hasty. The water was bound to be freezing and we’d had snow recently. What had I been thinking?
We had been advised to bring extra thick socks and I brought two pairs (and a pair of tights) to be sure. I also brought lots of layers but, as it turned out, I was being unnecessarily cautious. The extra socks were good but it wasn’t nearly as cold as I expected and, down in the Creek, you are quite sheltered.
The Creekside Education Trust runs a low tide walk for adults once a month on a Sunday, as well as running regular visits for schoolchildren. It’s something really different, giving you the opportunity to see the area from a different angle. You are down on the creek bed, looking up at the surrounding buildings, like in an alternative reality.
The whole operation is very efficiently run and you feel well looked after. After donning waders and cagoules we were given the standard safety talk before being split into two groups. Our group went south first with Natalie and then north with Nick. They were both great guides. Natalie confessed to feeling nervous as we were the first adult group she’d taken out, whereas Nick was a founding member of the Trust. They both had different perspectives which was good and I learnt loads from both of them.
I thought we’d mainly be walking in mud but parts of the walk were through quite deep water. I kept thinking it was going to go over my wellies before I remembered I had waders on. We all had poles nearly as tall as ourselves so we could feel our way along when we couldn’t see.
In the middle of the walk we did some dipping so we could see the kind of creatures that live in the Creek. We found lots of shrimps and a leach. But it was December and a lot of the wildlife would be buried in the mud at that time of year.
The most fascinating thing I learnt was how young fish use abandoned shopping trolleys to hide from the bigger fish and avoid being eaten. I love the fact that animals are so adaptable and make use of discarded objects to build habitats.
One of our group had been before, as a Mother’s Day gift. What a brilliant idea! I would definitely like to come back in the summer or spring as it would be a completely different experience.