The Horniman Museum & Gardens in south east London is an interesting and popular small museum. It stands on a hill with good views over London. The Museum and its cafe are surrounded by parklands and gardens, and are very popular and well-used by local people. A visit to the the Horniman Museum & Gardens offers many varied experiences to the curious visitor.
You can easily pass by St Bartholomew’s Churchyard in Sydenham. It looks like another church on another busy road. But do visit, and linger. As soon as you step inside the walls, or pass through the Lych Gate you are in another world – quiet, somewhat derelict, but peaceful. Yet again the churchyard walls seem to create and protect another level of being.
St Mary’s Churchyard in Lewisham lies on the busy main road between Lewisham and Catford and it is easy to ignore the site. But this is an interesting churchyard, and a very old one which today covers 0.9 hectares. It is one of several interesting churchyards in Lewisham, more accessible and ‘complete’ than Christ Church in Forest Hill, and smaller than St Paul’s in Deptford.
The Green Chain Walk runs through the Hillcrest Estate Woodland in Upper Sydenham on a path which is easy to follow. The path is in two sections, on either side of the blocks of flats in the middle of the woodlands. This is ancient woodland, a small part of what was once The Great North Wood.
Cox’s Walk in SE London is a former 18C public path which used to link a public house in Dulwich, The Green Man, with the spa at Sydenham Wells. It was a ‘path with a purpose’, a practical path. The path delivered you to the spa, or perhaps offered something stronger to those who had already recovered in the spa. Today it is a pleasant and well-used stroll in ancient woodland, between Dulwich and Sydenham Hill. It is interesting to see the continuity of purposes as it seems to enjoy a similar practical aim, only now it delivers people into the woods for exercise and enjoyment.
The Lewisham War Memorial Garden stands in a narrow strip of land alongside Lewisham High Street. Three tall blocks of flats separate the Garden from neighbouring Lewisham Park. I have driven past this little garden for years and not really paid any attention to it, which was a big mistake!
Christ Church churchyard in Forest Hill is in some ways a rather sad sight. And the site is curious – half residential and half consecrated – I wonder what it feels like to live there?
Sydenham Wells Park in SE London covers 8 hectares and is a beautiful garden on a sloping hillside. Like many of the green spaces in this area it has a history!
Baxter Field in Sydenham, (known as Baxters to the locals!), is a grassy park which hides between houses, and it is another little surprise in my exploration of green spaces in South East London. The park is associated with significant and important people in the printing industry in the 19C who lived in the area.