Jo Brodie blog

Secondary blog to Stuff that occurs to me, on Blogger

Chased by wild dogs in Greenwich Peninsula, not much peace and quiet there

with 2 comments

As part of my involvement with the passenger working group for Thames Clippers I periodically take the ferry to North Greenwich before taking a bus back to Blackheath. On Thursday night, a beautiful evening, I decided to walk along the Thames Path to see if I could find the Ecology Park that I’d heard about. I originally intended just to walk there and back (Google maps on my phone indicated a ten minute walk) however by the time I got there I realised I could carry on walking and pick up the bus home from another spot. Part of the ecology park is open permanently, you can just open a gate and walk around the perimeter.

While walking around the Greenwich Peninsula I was struck by the volume of background white noise – there seemed to be no escape. I’m a huge fan of white noise as my Audioboo recordings will demonstrate, however I also like peace and quiet and the ability to choose when I hear noise, white or otherwise. Presumably residents of North Greenwich don’t get that privilege; I also assume they all have double glazing and keep the windows closed.

Photos of the walk

Sound recording at North Greenwich Pier

By the pier (variously called North Greenwich, O2 or QE2 pier) there is the lovely sound of water lapping gently, with occasional sloshing depending on any other boats going past and their speed. There are also the distant creaks of yachts moored further up (towards Greenwich Yacht Club) and general sounds of water, boats, piers etc.

Across the river there is the constant whooshing drone of small aircraft, not light aircraft, but the short planes that leave from City Airport. They’re quite fun to watch taking off as they go at quite an angle (short runways I believe) but they make quite a din. This wouldn’t bother me (I was one of the people who missed the sound of aircraft when that volcano poomphed its cloud out) but if you’re in one of the houses next to the riverside let’s hope it doesn’t bother you too.

That part of Greenwich is also the industrial area and there are strange sounds coming from both sides of the riverbank – I think Tate & Lyle might be somewhere around there too; rumour has is it that you can smell the processing plant / factory / I-don’t-know-what-it-actually-is, although I never have. Still, at 9pm on a Thursday evening there’s still activity, and background noise. I suspect there was also some noise from a distant motorway, definite whooshing sounds but difficult to pin down exactly what it is or from where it’s coming.

In short, despite the prettiness of the location, I think I’d be sent doolally living in North Greenwich / Greenwich Peninsula as there seems to be no off button for the sound, and the minute you leave your house you’d struggle as a pedestrian by the looks of things.

Eventually I made it round to Peartree Walk where new sounds emanated from Aggregate UK. By this time it was nearer half nine, dusk had arrived, but there were still lorries arriving to drop off or collect ‘aggregate’ which seems to include sand judging from the piles of the stuff. There was even smoke coming from a chimney and some gentle sounds of ‘something happening’ but I don’t know what – it reminded me of metal chains clanking, though not particularly loudly.

I went a bit closer to take a better shot, and maybe make a sound recording – the compound has a road leading up alongside it, with railings around at the bottom. A few minutes after walking onto the turn-in road a small yappy dog started barking at me and running after me. Not very scary but I thought I’d move away – I’m by myself on an industrial centre, when the dogs come out it’s time to move on. As I walked away I could hear, skittering after me, a larger dog also barking and both of them surrounded me on the pavement leading on to a dual carriage way. I had to cross the road to get away from them – fortunately at that time of night the roads are fairly quiet so I could get across the first road to an island, but during the day time this might not have been so easy. One of the dogs, the larger one I think, nipped at the jeans fabric (glad I was wearing long loose trousers) but I didn’t run or make any sudden movements and they left me alone.

After my heart rate recovered to normal I watched the dogs for about ten minutes and they were running freely up and down the road outside the compound – I was pretty annoyed that there were no signs up warning people that the compound is protected by dogs. I’d not tried to get inside, or done anything stupid like climb over the railings. This is a public road, that leads onto a clearly pedestrianised bit of pavement with a crossing.

When I got home I rang Aggregates UK, they answered the phone, and I expressed my horror that they had dogs running wild. The very nice man explained, as I expect he’s explained to many others, that the dogs have nothing to do with the compound but belong to gypsy families which are caravanned on the land next to Aggregates UK. Not only do the dogs run wild, but the children apparently do so too (I didn’t see any children) – neither the police nor the RSPCA have been able to do anything. It seems the dogs chase the aggregate staff and their vehicles, they’re none too fond of them.

I went back there during daylight and the dogs are still there. While I was watching I spotted a number of families with young children, some in prams, walking past on the pavement area. Presumably the dogs don’t bother you if you stay on the pavement but any child running up the road there could be in for a nasty shock.

‘release the hounds’ indeed…


Written by Jo Brodie

May 31, 2010 at 10:31 pm

Posted in Uncategorized

2 Responses

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  1. I have now added to my mental map of Horn Lane and Peartree Way "here be wild dogs" – I popped over to visit them last night while near Sainsbury’s and this time there were four. Now reported to Greenwich Council.


    June 3, 2010 at 12:50 pm

  2. […] created the gardens at Mycenae House. I recognised his name from wandering around Angerstein Wharf (well as near as I can get to it without being chased by wild dogs) and the internet told me about this crossing, just by Westcombe Park station. Angerstein’s […]

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