|Location Map ( geo)|
|Distance:||7 miles (11.3 km)|
|Meets:||A205, A210, A20, B226, B263, A222, B264, A224|
|Old route now:||A205, A223|
|Route outline (key)|
The A208 is a little displaced from the other A20x roads. It runs north-south through southeast London.
Section 1: Eltham - Blackheath
In 1987 the Rochester Way Relief Road was completed which was a bypass of a bypass and Well Hall roundabout's status was reduced. The A208 (Well Hall Road) passes the Progress estate on our left which was built in the style of a village around 1915 to house workers at the Woolwich Arsenal.
We then pass under the Bexleyheath Railway line and pass over the Rochester Way Relief Road which is in a cut and cover tunnel at this point. On our left is Eltham Station which replaced Eltham Well Hall and Eltham Park stations, which were demolished when the relief road was built.
At the traffic lights, Sherard Road bears off to the right and this was the original road to Eltham before the A208 Well Hall Road was built. We climb up to Eltham High Street (A210) passing St John's Church on our left. After the traffic lights, the A208 becomes Court Yard and then Court Road in quick succession.
Court Road winds its way down amongst the detached housing passing the entrance of Royal Blackheath Golf Club. This is one of the oldest golf clubs in the world and moved to its current site from Blackheath in 1923. The club house is Eltham Lodge, built by a former owner of Eltham Palace in 1664 when the palace was inhabitable. The park just before the railway bridge on our left called The Tarn was also part of the grounds and includes the remains of an ice well.
Section 2.Blackheath - Orpington
Before the traffic lights with the busy A20 Sidcup Road we pass over the Dartford Loop Line and pass Mottingham railway station. After the lights we arrive at Mottingham Village and turn left out of Court Road into Mottingham Road. Off to our right is the B226 leading towards Grove Park. The next stretch is dead straight and forms part of the boundary of the London Boroughs of Greenwich and Bromley. We pass some almshouses on our right that were established after the original almshouses in Shoreditch became the Geffrye Museum.
At the next traffic lights we arrive at Chislehurst and then climb up White Horse Hill and drop down Red Hill into the small shopping centre of Chislehurst West (formerly known as Prick End!). We pass the pretty Prick End Ponds and the B263 crosses our road and leads to the A222, Camden Place (part of Chislehurst Golf Course), where Napoleon Bonaparte's descendants lived in exile, as well as Chislehurst Caves. We pass through the sylvan Chislehurst Common and arrive at the traffic lights with the A222 (often a bottleneck in the rush hour).
We are now in Royal Parade, considered to be the main part of Chislehurst and full of smart boutiques and antique shops as well as large residences. There is a village sign displaying the knighting of Sir Thomas Walsingham, who lived at nearby Scadbury Park, by Queen Elizabeth I. The B264 comes in on our right and we pass through the pretty woodland of St Paul's Cray Common and Petts Wood. A short walk on our right brings us to the William Willet sundial, which commemorates the man who gave us British Summer Time.
After passing the railway bridge over the lines from London Victoria to the Kent Coast, we wind along Chislehurst Road through the upmarket area of Petts Wood and descend into Orpington. Since the 1960s the route of the A208 has been straightened to follow Perry Hall Road instead of the narrow Chislehurst Road. We then join the Orpington one way system and turn left on to the former A223 (some maps still claim this is a disembodied section of that road) to meet the A224 at a set of lights. The A224 takes traffic out to the M25, A21 and the depths of Kent and Sussex. The pond in the Priory Gardens on our right is the source of the River Cray.
Original Author(s): Chris Amis