Northbrook Park in Lee, in the Borough of Lewisham in South East London, is a tidy park with good exercise facilities. The park proudly flies its Green Flag Award, one of fifteen Green Flag Awards in the Borough in 2020. This park is just down the road from another surprising green space, the Grove Park Nature Reserve, which I visited last week.
History of Northbrook Park
The Baring family owned land in Lee, including a field known as Ten Acres Field. In 1898 Lord Northbrook offered the field to the LCC for public use to commemorate Queen Victoria’s Diamond Jubilee. A sundial in the Park advertises Lord Northbrook’s gift. This plinth might have been a drinking fountain.
Northbrook Park was designed by Lt Col J J Sexby, the Chief Officer of Parks of the LCC, and a trained surveyor, and opened on 14 March 1903. Lt Col Sexby also designed Deptford Park and Hilly Fields in Lewisham. Sadly he doesn’t, write about this little park in his book ‘The Municipal Parks, Gardens, and Open Spaces of London’, which was published in 1905 after the park had opened.
Northbrook Park in Lee today
I visited on two different occasions – what a difference some sunshine makes!
The centre and main body of the park is dedicated to sport. Inside the iron railings there is a football pitch, a junior football pitch, a trim trail, an outdoor gym, and a children’s playground. Outside the railings is a running track, or path for walking, and at the far end of the park there is a multi-use ball court.
Forest School and Wildlife Area
One corner of the park is called the Forest School, and this part of the park is regularly used by a local school to teach its children a wide variety of skills – about nature and about themselves.
This is called a ‘Nature Area’ but I am not sure what it means, not what happens here. At this moment (December) it looks very bare. This part of the park backs onto railway buildings and land which is fenced off but seems to be ‘wild’ and cannot be accessed
Dog Exercise area in a green flag park
Like many parks today Northbrook Park in Lee has a separate, fenced-off area for exercising dogs off the lead. Dogs and their owners were enjoying the space on all my visits, and it was also spotlessly clean.
And in this area a seemingly dormant tree, which I can’t identify, seems to be ready to burst into life!
General views of Northbrook Park in Lee
Northbrook Park in Lee is a well-functioning and practical green space in South East London which is well-patronised by local people of all ages. It also has an active and involved group of supporters, the Northbrook Park Community Group.
- Lewisham Council: https://lewisham.gov.uk/inmyarea/openspaces/parks/northbrook-park
- Northbrook Park Community Group: https://www.facebook.com/groups/115728568455197
- Lewisham Drinking Fountains: http://mdfcta.co.uk/lb_lewisham.html, with thanks to Forest Hill Society