Brockley Green Chain: Part 2

‘Mo money, mo, erm, river’

Suitably refreshed, we step from the tarmac and tannoy of Ladywell Station into the calm of Ladywell Fields. This park is a revelation – your humble author freely admits that it was the greatest discovery while researching this series. Deceptively cosy and trim, it stretches for what feels like miles, and – enchantingly – its character evolves as you pace the distance.

This park just goes on and on. The initial section is a town-style lawn, running alongside the train station and tracks. This gives way to a more rural feel as the river becomes prominent as a feature, before turning practically bucolic in its later stretches, complete with ducks, reed beds, overhanging trees and a broadening green swathe of field. Substantial amounts of public money have been spent here in recent years, and boy, does it deliver.

Cycling network signpost in Ladywell Fields

Emerging onto the northernmost section of the fields, ‘Is this it?!’ is an understandable reaction; this flat grassy expanse is probably most charming when filled with semi-nude sunbathers in summer. Note the cute – and useful – vintage toilets to the right by the rail line, though.
As you move southwards, passing skaters turning acrobatics on a nifty little concrete structure, Lewisham Hospital looms large to your left. Reaching an impressive spiral set of steps, cross the bridge and the river Ravensbourne – admiring the substantial athletics track ahead to your left – to enter the second section of the park.

Modern sculpture, for posing by

Here things take a decidedly au naturel turn. The river channel opens up and becomes more stony; stepping stones offer a varying challenge, depending on the water’s height; and woodpeckers can be heard among the trees. Modern sculpture provides album-cover opportunities a plenty for any local bands who might be seeking inspiration. Take a pew for a while, if you want to rest your feet; the riverside benches are particularly appealing when contemplating the Ravensbourne’s inevitable journey into the great mass of water to its north. The river has broadened out here and can be appreciated in its full glory – flowing from its source south of Bromley up towards the Thames, which it joins at Deptford Creek.

Benches by the river


Moving onwards, crossing under a railway bridge, the final third of Ladywell Fields offers its crowning glories: grassy slopes, an orchard, and a pentaque court. More seats, bosky paths and duck-feeding opportunities complete the charms.

A now-rare Dutch Elm tree

Yes, we are going to recommend a pub for each section of the walk – how clever of you to notice. This time, our tip is the Blythe Hill Tavern. It’s a small detour, but not far from our next stop along the route …



Tamsin said...

This patch is my walk to work when I'm feeling leisured and healthy. Woodpecker indeed very distinctive and the "whirly" bridge is worth a visit in itself - a study in curves looking down from the top of it onto the athletics track. (Got a boring number of photos in the snow and the streetlights.)

There are somewhere, also, in the LBL archives pictures of people punting on the Ravensbourne in this stretch. Greatly improved after the works. Sad to lose a lot of trees trees, but it was worthwhile in the outcome.

NAT said...

The 'modern sculptures' contain hand pumps for the essential work of transferring water from the river to the 'dry river bed' that mirrors its course, there to be used in mudpie making, and craftwork of this type.

Think that's what they're for anyway.

Anonymous said...

I love ladywell fields

Lady in the Well said...

Don't forget the fantastic new adventure playground for children aged 8-16 just underneath the curly bridge.

Whealie said...
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Whealie said...
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Whealie said...

The river development in Ladywell fields also carries a huge flood prevention role, storing flood water and releasing it more slowly into the Thames.

I took these shots last year showing just how much water it stores. Unfortunately you use Blogger, which does not allow me to embed them in the comment but I hope the links work.

NAT said...

Checked on those rusty arch modern sculptures this morning and the pumps don't work (and not because the vandals took the handles)

stive martin said...

All pictures are very nice and amazing. I really feel glad to see it.

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