Two parks, Broadway Fields in Lewisham and Brookmill Park, also in Lewisham, lie between Deptford Bridge and Elverson Road and run parallel to Brookmill Road. This is a park which was created for young people after consultation with the local community, and as such a facility it is successful.
The history of the park
‘...The fields used to be known as the Deptford Municipal Playing Fields. They were opened in 1932 on a piece of land next to the Kent Water Works...’.Lewisham Council
I wanted to explore both parks, beginning with Broadway Fields, and started walking from the Deptford Bridge DLR station. The name ‘Deptford’ reminds us that this was originally a crossing (a deep ford) of the River Ravensbourne, on the road from London to Dover. Today the A2 is still the Dover road but the heavy traffic is possibly unaware of the historic crossing of a river which it cannot see!
Broadway Fields today
You can easily enter Broadway Fields from the DLR station as there are paths on both sides of the river, and the park is completely open to Brookmill Road. It provides a basketball court, a 5-a-side football court, and a concrete table tennis table, but in my view it is a soulless place, lacking in atmosphere, overlooked by blocks of new flats and lying between a busy road, the river, and the DLR.
Every time I visited people were using the facilities which are clearly popular. But I wondered if they could be more attractively presented? Perhaps some shrubs, or better maintained planting along the river? But perhaps it also needs time to pass for the trees to grow. The flats seem to have a lot of young residents – could they be interested in a ‘Friends’ group? Or perhaps some workshops on gardening?
Trees in Broadway Fields
Glendale Management has planted twelve new trees; Scots pine (blue), Alder (yellow), Redwood (red), and London Plane (purple). I wonder if more could be done here? The Ravensbourne River is ‘invisible’ and the railing is obviously necessary, but nothing draws one’s attention to it. It is a very attractive, and unexpected river here, and quite wide, but the area alongside the river is messy and rather wild.
Between Broadway Fields and Brookmill Park
After Broadway Fields the path leads along and then over the river to the Stephen Lawrence Centre, before arriving at the formal gardens in Brookmill Park.
Broadway Fields in Lewisham is a useful green space in this area, with sporting facilities, which will soften in appearance as the trees grow over the years. Now I am walking on towards Brookmill Park!