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?
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.
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?
Deptford Park in SE London was once part of John Evelyn’s estate, and a well-known market garden. Today it affords exercise and leisure opportunities to local people, adults and children alike.
The Olympic Park or The Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park to give it its full name, is an initiative of the London Legacy Development Corporation to create a new residential, cultural, and business centre in the East End of London around the buildings of the Olympic Games of 2012.
Arnold Circus is at the centre of the Boundary Estate, which started building in 1890 and was one of the earliest social housing developments. The Friends of Arnold Circus have renovated the bandstand and now care for the planting and wildlife on the site. This is a quiet spot, well-used, and just a few minutes away from busy Shoreditch High Street – do visit, and linger, during Open Garden Squares Weekend when you can meet some of the Friends as well. The Gardener, Andy, will be on site, planting, and willing to talk about the difficulties of shade planting, particularly dry shade planting.
Dalston Eastern Curve is a peaceful and calming site created from a derelict railway line and now well-patronised by local people. The black fencing and vibrant mural don’t prepare you for the green haven where gardener Emma plants in deep shade and patches of sunlight. Do visit during Open Garden Squares Weekend, or at any time during the year and support her hard work and then sit down with a cup of tea and the excellent lemon and polenta cake and relax into the peace.
One of the many pleasures of Open Garden Squares Weekend is to ‘discover’ a beautiful garden in an unexpected setting. Fassett Square is such a pleasure – a modest garden square enclosed by railings in a mix of Victorian and 20C buildings is green and lush with some pretty plant combinations. You know this will be a cared-for and enjoyable garden when you walk into the square and see luscious pink paeonies draped over a wall – do visit!
The Commercial Road in East London is a busy, bustling highway and Watney Street (which opens on to the Commercial Road), one of London’s oldest markets can be found here. It is always busy, multi-cultural, and with one of my favourite fabric shops. But this is a post about gardens and just round the corner is Winterton House, an uncompromising tower block of flats with a wonderful, hidden garden which was created by Melvyn and Ken from the wasteland hidden behind the building.