Brookmill Park

Hey! This week I’ve newly discovered Brookmill Park in Deptford (despite it being about ten minutes from my house!) It’s one of those hidden gems that you could easily walk past without noticing. Located somewhere in the nether between Lewisham and Deptford, you reach it if you follow the DLR line on foot towards Lewisham from Deptford Bridge station. The line runs directly along the edge of the whole park, which is very long and quite thin- the reason for this is that it used to be the reservoir that supplied Deptford and Greenwich with drinking water; in the 1920s it was filled in and turned into a park.

   

 

Alongside the DLR runs Deptford Creek (along which you can do Low Tide Walks, run by the Creekside Discovery Centre; these encourage knowledge of the history and wildlife of Deptford Creek and the River Ravensbourne).

As well as a footpath that snakes alongside the creek all the way down the park, there’s also a lake in the middle of the park which serves as a nesting ground for moorhens (there were a lot of them about, although sadly I didn’t see any chicks). Kingfishers and grey herons are also commonly sighted apparently!

 

   

 

Although Brookmill Park isn’t such a great starting point for a long walk as the previous instalments have been, it’s a gorgeous place to sit amongst the trees for a bit (as well as having a rare wildlife-endowed body of water!) However the path that runs through the park is part of the Waterlink Way, a cycle path that runs throughout Lewisham and Bromley.

As well as having places to lose yourself in what could easily be countryside, it’s always great to have nearby and accessible escape routes from the city too- although the closeness of the DLR is a fairly regular reminder of where you are, it’s good to remember you don’t have to go too far to see some greenery.

 

Rhi x


Maryon Park & Charlton Park

Hey again! This week I’ve been exploring Maryon Park and Charlton Park in near Woolwich. The two pretty much link up to each other, so you can do a pretty lovely uninterrupted walk starting from either end.

I started in Maryon Park (the best way to get there is from Charlton train station; it’s a five-minute walk and trains run from Cannon Street/ Charing Cross every ten minutes or so). The main part of Maryon Park has tennis courts, basketball courts and a kids’ play area- it’s pretty well used and not particularly wild; the more interesting bits in this regard are the paths that wind up either side of the main park and lead to elsewhere. (Interesting-ish fact: a couple of scenes from the 1960s cult film “Blow Up” were filmed here, one on a staircase up at one side of the park, the other in the tennis courts in the centre.) If you’re coming in from the entrance on the A206 (I did), turn right up the path that leads up into the woodland just before you reach the tennis courts. If you follow the fence on the right and go up the steps at the end, you come out into a wonderful little wild patch. (This whole walk is part of the Green Chain walk, as was the walk through Bostall Woods last week- eventually it all links up.)

       

Following the path across a road, you’ll then come to the other side of Maryon Park, which contains an animal park (actually only discovered this last week- it seems to be mainly peacocks and sheep, which to my mind is a great combo). You can follow pretty much any path that branches off through this part of the park and it’ll be lovely. I chose to keep going towards Charlton Park.

       

The landscape here is beautiful. This is what I love about this kind of walk. One moment you can be on a busy industrial road (although I do love a bit of brutalism so this isn’t bad either!) and the next you can be in lush woodland.

       

Next week I’ll be exploring Brookmill Park in St John’s!

Rhi x


THE OTHER SIDE (#2: Lesnes Abbey & Bostall Woods)

Hey again! This week I’ve been to another one of my favourite places in the Southeast. Lesnes Abbey is easy to get to from Abbey Wood station, about a ten minute walk. (Trains run every 10 minutes or so from Deptford/ Lewisham, or if you’re from up North then Charing Cross/ Cannon Street.) Coming up on it from the footbridge that leads out of the Abbey Wood estate, you can see the ruins of the Abbey.

       

However you feel about Brutalist architecture, the contrast between the blocks of Thamesmead and the Abbey is pretty impressive (and, I think, a bit magical). When the Abbey was founded in 1178, this entire area would have been marshland- and in fact a lot of it was until the 1970s, when the Thamesmead estate you can see in the background was built (mildly interesting fact: the estate is a popular filming location; scenes from A Clockwork Orange and Misfits are set there, amongst others).

A Green Chain Walk runs through the Abbey grounds and into the woods behind (this woodland eventually turns into Bostall Woods, which is pretty much the closest you can get to being in the countryside within the bounds of London). If you take the gravel path leading up behind the Abbey into the woodland, you end up somewhere a bit like this:

       

Follow the Green Chain walk signs until you come to a road, then cross it and you’re in Bostall Woods. This time when I went, the weather was pretty grey and humid, so it was all very vivid green and slightly drippy. Keep going up the hill into the woods and you’ll see a fence ahead of you. This is the perimeter of a small lake; lots of waterfowl nesting and, when I was there, a very enthusiastic spaniel… I find it super peaceful to just sit and watch the lake for a bit.

       

The walk itself extends pretty much forever, judging by the sign (Crystal Palace Park 15.6 miles!) If you keep going through Bostall Woods, and fancy a longer walk, Oxlea Woods is just beyond. The walk continues around the lake.

         

Next week I’ll be in Maryon Park in Charlton! 🙂

Rhi x

 


THE OTHER SIDE (#1: Greenwich Park & Blackheath)

Hey there!

This is the first of a series of mini guides to beautiful nature spots/ walks in South London (the under-appreciated side of the river!)

So originally for the first of these posts I was going to focus only on Blackheath- but the quickest way to get there from my house is through Greenwich Park, so I couldn’t resist taking a few snaps of my favourite spots on the way.

Greenwich Park is probably the most well-known nature spot in the whole of South London (except maybe Wimbledon Common.) Having said that, there are bits of it (my favourites) that are less well-trodden. It’s always best to offroad it if you want a quiet walk.

In my humble opinion, the best gate to leave through for Blackheath if you’re starting from the main gate at the end of King William’s Walk is the Croom’s Hill gate (if you take the main road through the park until you reach a pavement curving off up a hill to the right, then take the dirt path on the left, you’ll be on the way).

On exiting the gate, you could well be in a small village in Kent (which you would have been, 200 years ago.)

Cross one road and straight ahead there’s a gap between two railings, and a dirt path leading down into a lovely copse, beautiful for a quick ramble.

Blackheath itself is just to the left up that same road- a huge expanse of green with the rolling hills of Kent visible in the distance.

I’d say this area’s perfect for picnics or just enjoying the rare open expanse of sky Blackheath offers up.

Coming out here always makes me want to hop on a train down to Shoreham (one of my favourite walks is in the countryside surrounding this Kent village- next time I go down there I’ll post about it!)

As to the history of this area, the fact that one road through it is named after Wat Tyler gives away a pretty big part of it; during the Peasants’ Revolt of the 1380s he gathered rebels here to march into the City; in fact Blackheath has always been a pretty popular rallying place! Jack Cade’s rebellion in 1450 and the Battle of Blackheath Field in 1497 are two other notable examples.

During the 1600s and 1700s the area was also an extremely popular ambush point for highwaymen…

Next week I’ll be exploring Lesnes Abbey, in Abbey Wood (even further southeast!!)

Rhi x


Robin’s Rambles: Gillespie Park

It’s easy to feel trapped in the city when you live in London, especially for those of us who in past lives spent the majority of their time outdoors. Finding escape can be tricky. In response I am going to share some spots around my home in North London where I regularly retreat from life in the smoke. As soon as the rains stop and clouds part it’s time to get outdoors and luckily with 33% of London being vegetated green space there’s loads of little pockets of weird and wonderful nature to head to. First up Gillespie Park.

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Wedged on a strip of land between Finsbury Park Station and the old Arsenal Stadium at Highbury is Gillespie Park Nature Reserve and Ecology Centre. Having a peaceful oasis 20 metres from one of Zone 2’s busiest transport intersections is an under appreciated blessing. Especially an oasis that seemingly condenses a broad array of British wilderness environments into a tiny space, which up until its re-appropriation in 1980 was warehouses and coal yards left abandoned since the 1960s.

Gillespie Park’s entrance on Seven Sisters Road makes understated sound extravagant. For the first two years of living in the area and regularly passing the steps up to the park I dismissed them entirely. Then one day, looking for a shortcut, I ventured up and in and found the wonderful wild escape inside. This lesson seems to be the key to discovering London’s little gems of green space; ignore innocuous inconspicuous entrances and go in regardless, you’ll often be lead to the more interesting and underused of urban wilderness retreats.

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With a whole world of meadows, copses, ponds and gardens inside Gillespie Park represents a real microcosm of the British Countryside, in the bizarre way that only a city centre nature reserve can. There’s an alarming array of life in the small repurposed space, tallying 244 species of plant, 94 birds and even 24 species of butterfly.

At most times of year the park seems grossly underused, most visitors just taking advantage of the shortcut from Highbury to the station at Finsbury Park or using the meadows as a convenient spot for dogs to relieve themselves. So even on the crispest and brightest of winter days it’s very easy to find peace and solitude waiting here.

My two favourite spots are Astor Meadow and Highbury Copse. The former sits at the top of the park and has a couple of well placed benches. The best of these is positioned perfectly so you can feel the subterranean rumble of trains as they tear along the Piccadilly and Victoria Lines on their way to Highbury & Islington or Kings Cross. Combined with the perpetual chirp of the local bird population and the fluttering shadow cast by Islington Council’s lone wind turbine, the sensation of the Tube trains below creates a very particular and surreal sensorial experience. Occasionally one of British Rail’s finest hurtles down the rail tracks running alongside the meadow, just to remind you that you are in one of the most populous urban areas in Europe, which staring into a glorious mess trees, bramble and wildflowers you might be liable to forget.

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For a more ensconced uninterrupted escape from the hubbub of the capital Highbury Copse and Ambler Wood are the real deal, small tracts of dense woodland. Inside Highbury Copse you are completely cocooned against the usually inescapable throb of traffic on Seven Sisters Road. The sensation of being isolated by nature and the outdoors is prevalent here despite being slap bang in the middle of North London.

If I ever lack the time, energy or money to head out of the city in search of respite then I come and wander about and sit in Gillespie Park. The great outdoors are a magnificent thing but so can be their miniaturised equivalents offered by London’s multitude of green spaces.



Fjällräven Sample Sale

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We are hosting a Fjällräven Sample Sale on the Green outside The Brokedown Palace, Boxpark Shoreditch this weekend – Saturday 28th 11-7, Sunday 29th 12-6. 

Prices will be between 40% and 70% off RRP.

Men’s are mainly size L and women’s size S, but there are a few Ms and XLs in there too.

There is only one of each item and it’s mainly apparel. Bags will be extremely limited – we should warn you now there are only a handful of Kånken backpacks in old colourways. Please come early to avoid disappointment.

RSVP on the Facebook event page now for more info and event updates.