London’s network of urban footpaths has become well-known in recent years. In particular, the Capital Ring is regarded as the jewel in the city’s crown, and it encompasses a swathe of south-east London, known as the Green Chain walks.
Now don’t get BC wrong, there are some great routes on the Green Chain. We recommend them to anybody who enjoys walking. But it has to be said that on the whole it’s not really very Brockley. The Green Chain steps into Brockley briefly, right at the end of its route, where it nips up through One Tree Hill to Nunhead Cemetery. But Brockley has many more green spaces which are equally worthy of attention.
And so the idea of a Brockley Green Chain came into being.
BC has dreamt up a walk route which steps straight from Brockley Station – surely the area’s beating heart – through perhaps our best-loved park, Hilly Fields, and on to some of the area’s many other local gems. After crossing over the tracks into Brockley's often-neglected westside, the route brings you back to your starting point again. A classic weekend loop, in other words.
So many people head off to remote and esoteric corners of the capital to spend some of their spare time walking amid congenial surroundings, but how many of those people realise that they could get just as good a walk from their doorstep?
The Brockley Green Chain is ideal for a bit of springtime exercise, and there are plenty of potential stop-offs en route, turning the (approximately) 9-mile path into a full day’s outing.
In short, it runs from Hilly Fields via Ladywell Cemetery to Ladywell Fields, then down to Blythe Hill Fields, across to One Tree Hill, dipping into Brenchley Gardens, then up through Nunhead Cemetery to Telegraph Hill Park and back into central Brockley for a celebratory pint to finish off. Here's our tailor-made map, complete with points of interest and suggestions for refreshments en route:
View Brockley Green Chain walk in a larger map
So, why not give it a try? Make sure to let us know how you get along. Brockley Kate has walked the route from start to finish, and will be covering its delights in a series of blogposts, starting later today.
Most of the pubs, cafes and restaurants mentioned in the guide are the author’s subjective recommendation. A couple are slightly off-route; this reflects the author’s personal view of their relative value, in terms of making a detour. We couldn’t possibly mention every venue within a stone’s throw of each part of this walk, even if we wanted to, for practical reasons. So we apologise to any venues omitted, and rely on readers to modify the walk as necessary to incorporate any particular favourites of their own. There’s loads of good stuff out there. If you find somewhere which BC hasn’t already written about on the blog, do tell us and we will rectify.
Incidentally, the quality of Wikipedia entries on these diverse parts of Brockley (and surrounds) is variable at best. Get to work, local residents. Your digital community needs you.
This is an 8-9-10 mile route (distance variable, depending on how much wandering you do in each green space on the route). It can be done as a day walk, split into two, or completed in sections. Really, how long is a piece of string? Make of it what you will, dip in and out as suits. It is intended as inspiration rather than gospel. We do think it is worth doing as a whole if possible, though, simply for the degree of coherence and sense of place which it gives. Feedback is, as ever, welcomed.
The opinions expressed in this series of articles represent the views of Brockley Kate only – so don’t blame Brockley Nick (or Jon) if you don’t like them. Especially if you live near Brockley Hill Park (see part 3).