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 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 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 The Walk is named after Edith Nesbit who lived nearby in The Gables, a house which has been replaced by The Ringway Community Centre.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.
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.
KIrkdale Green & Albion Millennium Green are two small green spaces in South East London – in the Sydenham district of Lewisham. The first is somewhat neglected, and seems to be left over from the grounds for a large Victorian house which has since been demolished. Albion Millennium Green was a neglected tennis court before the local residents converted it into a small nature reserve.
Bellingham Green in SE London on the Bellingham Estate is a large housing estate built by the London County Council on farmland in south East London in the 1920s. This estate narrowly predates the nearby Downham Estate and both surprised me by their relatively late development on what was countryside in London.
Downham in South East London is built-up residential area today, but it was countryside until after WWI. It is probably a little-known area to those living in the more fashionable and trendy parts of London, but I believe that development there has interesting lessons for us in the 21C. (This article was first posted as a Guest Blog with the London Gardens Trust on October 22, 2020.)
The South Field in Ladywell Fields is a large, almost rectangular field which feels very much like parkland. With Predergast School on one side and two railway stations and Catford shopping centre at the other end there are always people walking through and across the park. In the other direction the field leads to the Lewisham Shopping Centre via the Middle Field, and the North Field.
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.
Ladywell Fields in SE London is another of the wonderful public parks in the Borough of Lewisham. Lewisham is a busy transport hub and a densely populated area, and this means that the history of the area, and the preservation of historical green areas, can be overlooked, or disregarded. This park, Ladywell Fields, is one such area which may take visitors by surprise, and I am going to explore the park in two posts. Do follow!