Furry Green Velvet Steps

Something I love about Greenwich Beach is that although virtually no one does go down onto it (it’s ridiculously under-used…) everybody can go down onto it. The steps are open and available (as they are at various places along the Thames in the city. Many public-spirited people have discovered them over the past week on the big spring tide cleaning project, but they are open all the time.)

I just love these steps – at low tide they’re great for sitting on and enjoying of a Summer’s day; at high tide, they’re gently lapped by the river.

But I was walking past yesterday and noticed that the winter weather’s had quite an impact on them – they’re suddenly almost furry with seaweed. A bright green velvet pile, they’re beautiful to look at – but mighty slippery.

The worst thing that could happen would be for the Health and Safety police to close it off rather than just give them a clean, so I’m almost hesitant to suggest that, pretty as they are at the moment, they’re a mite slippery too. I’m not really sure who’s responsible for the upkeep of the steps but they could do with a good scrub. In the meanwhile, take care if you’re fancying a spot of beach combing.

Folks – don’t you think we should start thinking about interesting things to do with Greenwich Beach this summer? Deckchairs and 99s, anyone?

9 Comments to “Furry Green Velvet Steps”

  1. Dazza says:

    As someone who has fallen 'a over t' going down the steps in the past, I was pleased to see that 'The Powers That Be' had installed a new chain 'hand rail' last week. So someone out there is thinking of safety.
    I agree with you Phanty, we should really do more with the Beach. Although with the amount of glass and rubbish I don't know that it would be safe for kiddies. Saying that, I don't think it's any more unsafe in that respect than any of our other seaside beaches. I remember a particularly traumatising holiday in Skegness, digging on the beach and hitting a level of raw sewage!!
    On the other hand, I like the slightly secluded feel of the shoreline and the feeling that it's a hidden gem for only a select few to enjoy.

  2. Anonymous says:

    Brings back memories . When I first moved to Greenwich I took my then young sons to walk on the beach. AFTER DELIVERING LONG LECTURE ON BEING CAREFUL OF THE STEPS GUESS WHO SLID ALL THE WAY DOWN ,WEARING A NEW WHITE DRESS?
    The return journey to Roan street was very swift to say the least.

  3. Sue says:

    A view from The Clipper at low tide reveals not just ancient wooden groynes and piers but also many metal detectorists (is that a word?)all the way up to Westminster. The beach by the Tate Modern is particularly rife (with both.)
    I would love to know if anything of interest is discovered.
    There are a lot of lovely photos of people in the 20s and 30s sitting on deckchairs on Greenwich beach – they probably had more sun then…

  4. Mary says:

    I believe that most of these sets of stairs are rights of way set up for use by licenced watermen to collect and drop off passengers. In the 1980s the PLA did some sort of survey of them – which I seem to remember was partly to establish ownership. They do need to be protected – and can I put a word in here for the Golden Anchor Stairs which are near the Cutty Sark pub.

  5. scared of chives says:


    People's Liberation Army? Palestine Liberation Army? Politician Lobbing Acronyms?

    What have any of of them got to do with the Thames?

    (Port of London Authority)

  6. Benedict says:

    @ SoC look out "Parsely Leaf Attack"

  7. Benedict says:

    who knows? It still looks like the stuff on the steps…(tenuously)

  8. Dave says:

    I've always worried about how easy it would be for a small child to wander down the steps,due to a momentary lapse of concentration by a parent, especially at high tide.

    A simple weighted swing gate would prevent this.

  9. S says:

    The thing is the steps were closed quite a while ago, yet the ones at the other end of the beach (the Cutty Sark Gardens end) are unchained, so, like me, you might only find out because you go down those ones, walk along the beach, and find you can't get out the other side, which surely creates even more of a health & safety issue.