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 The Walk is named after Edith Nesbit who lived nearby in The Gables, a house which has been replaced by The Ringway Community Centre.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.
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.)
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!
Southend Park in SE London hides away behind housing in Lewisham where it is another of the surprising green spaces. It could be truly magical if the River Pool is opened up again, and the water feature restored. And perhaps the wild south east corner could be incorporated into the park too?
Home Park in Sydenham is a grassy park on a busy main road which still manages to offer a calming open area with exercise facilities for adults and children. Add to that some magnificent trees and you have another lovely green space in South East London.
Ravensbourne Park in SE London is a small green space in Lewisham which isn’t actually on the Ravensbourne River! The Ravensbourne Park Estate os high-class housing started developing in the early 19C. At the same time land for a park was set aside on the development. Today the park continues to provide an open space for the surrounding homes. With parking restrictions all round the park it certainly maintains a feeling of exclusivity for the neighbourhood!
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.