A walk in Manor Park in Lee is enjoyable and interesting even in the winter. This is another green space in Lewisham which hides away between rows of houses, and is part of the imaginatively re-egineered Quaggy River Restoration Project.
History of the Park
Manor Park lies between Manor Park Road and Leahurst Road, almost in the centre of Lewisham and dates from 1966.
‘…This [land] was acquired by Lewisham Council for open space in the 1950s and 60s. The park was laid out with an ornamental circular pond, rose gardens, shrubberies, playground, shelter, pets’ corner and aviary, and one building predating the park was converted as a café and toilets…’.London Gardens Online, 1.6.2009
Manor Park today
‘…[the park] was re-designed in 2007 under the Environmental Agency’s Quaggy River Flood Alleviation Scheme and now has Mediterranean style gardens, wildflower meadow, wetland area by the Quaggy River, new pond, riverside woodland and children’s play area…’.London Gardens Online,
The aim of the River Flood Alleviation Scheme is to prevent extreme flooding by slowing the flow of the river along its course. So, water meadows have been created where it is possible to do so, allowing the river to spread out and slow down, rather than confining the water in concrete channels which speed up the flow. When the channels are too small for extreme amounts of water there is flooding downstream, which means floods in Lee and Lewisham.
The River Quaggy comes into the park from behind the houses on Longhurst Road – it flows between the houses on Longhurst Road and Manor Park Road. (We previously saw the river in Manor House Gardens.) Once in the park the river flows along the west side of the park, parallel to the houses on Leahurst Road. When it leaves the park at Weardale Road the next, and final appearance of the river in a park, is in the new Confluence Park in the middle of Lewisham where the Quaggy and the Ravensbourne meet.
Children’s play area
The small playground looks in good order and is generally full – the emptiness of the site in the photograph below is unusual.
A walk in Manor Park in Lee is very enjoyable, and calming. Just take your time to look at the plants, or wander along the river rather than treat it as a quick shortcut from the shopping centre to somewhere else.