Burnt Ash Pond

Burnt Ash Pond in Lewisham

Burnt Ash Pond in Lewisham hides away in the middle of a housing estate, an oasis close to nearby busy main roads. This little pond is in an area which is rich in green spaces. Northbrook Park and Grove Park Nature Reserve are close by, and Hither Green Cemetery is just across the railway line. The area was woodland in the 17C but the trees had disappeared by the early 18C and the area had become farmland. Surprisingly, farming continued here into the early 20C.

Ecology and Burnt Ash Pond

‘…Burnt Ash Pond is perhaps the finest pond in the Borough from an ecological viewpoint, supporting a good variety of aquatic plants and animals. It is also aesthetically pleasing, with its fringing trees and colourful iris beds and is much loved by residents of the surrounding houses in Melrose Close…’.

Nature Conservation in Lewisham, Ecology Handbook no.30
Burnt Ash Pond in Lewisham in the Melrose Close housing estate
Burnt Ash Pond in the Melrose Close housing estate
Burnt Ash Pond in Lewisham in the Melrose Close housing estate
The pond

The above description praises the richness and diversity of plants and animal life in this little nature reserve. And there is even a single black mulberry tree! This must have been planted when the pond was in the back garden of the one of the grand villas on Burnt Ash Hill. Because I visited in winter there was no way of finding the tree. I would love to see the irises in flower too, so I will have to return in the spring and summer of the next year.

Why exactly is this pond here? And what feeds it naturally? I understand a standpipe now tops up the water level in a dry summer, but I can’t as yet find anything which helps me with my other questions.


Burnt Ash Pond opens on the first Sunday of the month, but only between April and November.

Burnt Ash POnd in Lewisham
Information board at Burnt Ash Pond

Burnt Ash Pond in Lewisham is another unexpected discovery as I travel around my London Borough, investigating green spaces. And another green space which I need to visit in spring or summer to see the flowers which grow around the pond.

Chinbrook Meadows in Grove Park

Chinbrook Meadows in Grove Park and the River Quaggy come together in a surprising green space in South East London in the Borough of Lewisham. Large grassy sports fields lead through woodlands to allotments and an orchard. Apart from the usual park facilities there are several ‘routes’ through the Meadows. Firstly, there is a route for the River Quaggy. Secondly, a railway line crosses one corner of the park, and thirdly the Capital Ring Path and the Green Chain Walk lead the intrepid walker through the park and on to Grove Park Cemetery and Elmstead Woods.

Sydenham Cottages Nature Reserve

Sydenham Cottages Nature Reserve in Grove Park is a little area of wildness which you can access from Alice Thompson Close, off Marvels Lane. The nature reserve hides away alongside the River Quaggy and you can easily miss it as you drive past on the main road. But do stop. Park your car in Alice Thompson Close, or catch a bus which stops in Marvels Lane, and look at the reserve, or even wander down some of the Capital Ring Path.

Grove Park Nature Reserve

Grove Park Nature Reserve

Grove Park Nature Reserve hides away between houses and a railway line and it is just a joy! It is also quite easy to find it. Just walk down The Railway Children’s Walk’ off Baring Road. The Walk is named after Edith Nesbit who lived nearby in The Gables, a house which has been replaced by The Ringway Community Centre. The Reserve holds a Green Flag Community Award since 2009, and it is on the Green Chain Walk. There is a guide to the Reserve on the internet.