The Royal Military Academy is a familiar landmark on the A205 in Woolwich. But I wonder how many people have walked in Academy Reservoirs and Playing Fields between the Academy and Shooters Hill and the A205?Read more: Academy Reservoirs and Playing Fields
Royal Military Academy
The Royal Military Academy started in Tower Place in The Warren. Martin Bowes, a wealthy London merchant, started buying land in Woolwich soon after Henry VIII established the Royal Dockyard in 1512. In c.1530 he built himself a home, Tower Place and in 1718-23 this was replaced by the first Royal Military Academy.
Today the building is used for various purposes and overlooks Artillery Square which is the scene of a market over the weekends.
By the end of the 18th century the industrial activity at The Arsenal had expanded so much that the Barracks and the Academy had to move. The Barracks moved to the top of the hill on Woolwich Common in 1803 and the Academy followed three years later.
Academy Playing Fields
The land immediately to the south of the Academy is now a housing estate, outside the walls of the Academy,. This was once playing fields for the cadets.
In 1911-12 the War Office gave the Academy the waterlogged grounds south of today’s Prince Imperial Road. The land was drained and football, rugby and hockey pitches and a running track created for the sole use of students at the Academy.
In 1844 the Kent Water Works Company dug a circular reservoir on the west side of Academy Road to supply Woolwich Dockyard, particularly in case of fire. In 1872 the Company dug another, square reservoir on the east side of the road and this was covered and remains in place today but fenced off.
The Corner Park
As you turn off the A205 a narrow road, Academy Place, passes the reservoir on the left. And on the right is a small area of woodland. The trees in this small woodland were glorious in the late autumn – I hardly noticed the noise of the traffic.
But there is more to see here! Between the playing fields and the busy A205 is a strip of woodland leading from Shooters Hill to the houses behind the Royal Military Academy. It is rather hidden but very attractive and part of an enjoyable circular walk around this site.
There is a very enjoyable circular walk around the Academy Reservoirs and Playing Fields on the south of the Royal Military Academy. This area hides away between two very busy main roads and it was a surprising find, much more attractive than it appears from merely driving past.