The River Ravensbourne divides the Middle Field in Ladywell Fields in Lewisham into two. One side of the river has the Waterlink Way and is a busy path, almost a through road. On the other side of the river is a ‘hidden’ park – quiet, surrounded by trees and with a little backwater of the River Ravensbourne.
The Middle Field is the smallest section of Ladywell Fields, and it feelsl very different to the North Field. Even the two halves of the field are different, one from the other. From the North Field we cross over the railway line and the River Ravensbourne via an elaborate metal bridge and find ourselves in the Middle Field. Here is another entrance into the park, from Malyons Road; it is also an entrance into the ‘hidden’ field.
One half of the Middle Field has the Waterlink Way on one side of the field and it feels very much like a long footpath on the side of an open park, with the River Ravensbourne hidden in the trees. You have to work quite hard to see the river in this field!
Exercise & sports facilities
This large open field has limited facilities, with an intimidating looking adventure playground and a single table tennis table. The path of the Waterlink Way provides a walking and cycle track for people, and for runners.
The hidden field across the river
This little field is quite another matter! You can access it from Malyons Road, from a bridge in the Middle Field, and it is quite open along Dressington Avenue.
An imposing building overlooks the hidden field, Ladywell Lodge. In 1897 the St Olave’s Union Board of Guardians built a new workhouse in Ladywell. This was really a hospital for the elderly poor and ill. The original buildings were three times greater than what is left today, and there were also additional facilities such an isolation hospital, laundry, two chapels, and a water tower. In WWI the workhouse offered medical treatment, and in 1930 the institution was taken over by the LCC. In 1960 most of the site was demolished. The buildings which remain today have been converted to residential use and overlook the hidden field.
Back in the main Middle Field The Waterlink Way leads under the railway bridge and so into the last field.
The Middle Field of Ladywell Fields in Lewisham is a very quiet area along the Waterlink Way. The real joy is to cross the River Ravensbourne and visit the hidden field and walk along the river, away from the traffic on the Waterlink Way. And so we come to the last field – next week?