Behind the reeds in front of the Pumphouse at Lavender Pond is another secret pond and a cool woodland area, and you can visit both on Saturday 17 June 2017 during the Open Garden Squares Weekend. This small nature reserve in the former Surrey Commercial Docks is a haven for wildlife – peaceful and quiet on the edge of the Thames and in sight of the towers of Canary Wharf. The entrance is on Rotherhithe Street, past the ‘works end’ of the site.
I visited Lavender Pond last year and posted on the historical origins of this interesting small nature reserve fashioned out of the remains of part of the Surrey Commercial Docks. The Pond was originally much bigger and used for floating logs to keep them from splitting. ‘In 1928 the entrance to the pond was blocked when the Port of London Authority built the Pumphouse on the site to control the water levels in Surrey Docks. In 1970 the Docks were closed. The area became neglected and the pond was filled in, but in 1981 the pond was re-created as part of a nature reserve.‘ As you can see from the map below the ‘pond’ was an enormous area. Do visit this excellent blog for detailed history of the docks.
The Pumphouse stands at the head of the Pond and the remains of the lock gate are still in place, and still functioning. The channel into the Thames is clear and from the mouth, at river, Canary Wharf is just a stone’s throw away. Traffic up and down the river is slightly different these days and it is startling to realise how quickly the changes have come.
The large pond in front of the Pumphouse is enjoyed by the birds, and the local residents throughout the year – you can sit on the benches and enjoy the flowers and wildlife in complete peace and quiet.
And then there is the ‘secret pond’ behind the rushes, with an area of woodland which will develop into a magical place as the years pass.
An interesting paper on the history of the Surrey Commercial Docks
The Docklands History Group
A walk around the Surrey Docks
The irises are beautiful now, glorious colours alongside the paths, tucked away amongst the cabbages and roses. Cable Street Community Gardens does not offer the ordered ranks of park beds, or even the manicured and managed herbaceous borders of country mansions and National Trust properties, but instead you will find plants and flowers which are loved and enjoyed with gusto and enthusiasm. Linger here with an open mind, and heart and find the beauty alongside the DLR – do visit on Sunday 18 June when the gardens will be open during Open Garden Squares Weekend.
Cable Street Community Gardens will be open on Sunday 18 June during Open Garden Squares Weekend – do visit! I posted a general view of the gardens previously but I had to return because the roses are just …. well, I can’t really find the words because ‘beautiful’, ‘elegant’, ‘delightful’, ‘fragrant’ don’t begin to describe the wonder of these exquisite blooms alongside the DLR in Tower Hamlets. The roses were just as beautiful last year – standing proud, draped over fences and arches, and climbing into trees, the scent mingling with honeysuckle and jasmine.
Cable Street Community Garden will be open again this year, on Sunday 18 June, during the Open Garden Squares Weekend. This peaceful site is one of several in the historic Docklands Area in London and I was lucky to have a preview this week. The site is in Hardinge Street, just off Cable Street – which is a very clear clue to the history of the area – and is c.2 acres of organic gardens on either side of the Docklands Light Railway. The gardens are locked for safety so don’t miss this opportunity to visit this remarkable and magical haven and meet its friendly gardeners.