Brockley Green Chain: Part 4

'Wooded Slopes'

So, we’re past the halfway mark; venturing onto the other side of the north-south railway line which divides Brockley so cruelly. From Brockley Rise/Stondon Park, head up past the varied shops and cafes around Honor Oak Station; there are some fine spending opportunities here for those seeking a shopping-stop. Admire the well-kept allotments to the right, then turn off onto One Tree Hill. These wooded slopes played host to Elizabeth I when she stopped off in 1602 to picnic under an oak tree (according to legend). This notable occasion generated the area’s name – ‘the oak of honour’ – but is not its only claim to fame (or a justification for its spelling. This is not the USA; BC disapproves). The hill was used for beacons over the centuries, including signalling threats of invasion during the Spanish Armada and the Napoleonic Wars, and later a telegraph system (or so it says here). It also functioned as an anti-Zeppelin gun emplacement in World War I, the base for which still stands.

This is the only section of the Brockley Green Chain which will appeal to the hill-walkers among you – the stepped route up One Tree Hill offers definite thigh-toning opportunities. This area was converted into a public park after riots greeted an attempt to turn it into a golf course at the turn of the (19th/20th) century.

St Augustine's Church

After passing St Augustines Church, nestled in an atmospheric setting tucked into the woodland halfway up the slope, we top out by the old gun emplacement before turning right to pass a replacement for Queen Elizabeth’s oak. This one was erected in 1905 to replace its greatly-honoured predecessor. This hill is decidedly misleading in its name, by the way: there is definitely more than one tree here.

Queen Elizabeth's replacement oak

Steps lead down northwards to Brenchley Gardens, where we cross the road and enter a slim sliver of park running to the right between the road and a golf course. A storm-stripped tree stump stands proud and mysterious in the middle of the stretch. This area is oddly alienated: lacking local houses, the road runs between parks and a cemetery. More could be done with this stretch of park, we’re just not sure exactly what.

A lone and mysterious tree stump in Brenchley Gardens

This is the only section of the Brockley Green Chain with an indeterminate ending: there isn’t much around here to recommend. We suggest going a little way into route section 5 and then taking a break, if you’re gagging for a pint.

One Tree Hill is claimed by the Forest Hill Society - they’re probably up for an arm-wrestling contest, if any Brockleyites want to challenge them.
We’re not aware of anyone claiming Brenchley Gardens. Contact us if you want to do so, we’ll back you up; it needs some love.


Tressilliana said...

Lovely series, Kate!

The park in Brenchley Gardens follows the line of the old railway line which ran from Nunhead to Crystal Park. It was closed in the 50s, I think. You can walk most of its route quite easily if you just keep an eye out for the infill housing and unexpected narrow strips of greenery, as here. There's a nature reserve to the side of the park round the Horniman, for example, and almost the final stretch is in/adjacent to Dulwich Woods where an old tunnel survives.

Tressilliana said...

Crystal Palace, doh!

Anonymous said...

Honor Oak has preserved the older spelling of Honour as did the pilgrim fathers too. There is no US connection in this.

Also, Forest Hill can try claiming One Tree Hill all they like. It is in Honor Oak as is Brenchley Gardens too.

Anonymous said...

Is there any way to get from Brenchley Gardens to the top of Homestall Road?

I often need to get here from Brockley but the Aquarius Golf course seems to be in the way

Anonymous said...

Anon - yes, Aquarius Golf Course is indeed in the way. It's very irritating, I had to re-work that section of the route when I realised.

Tamsin said...

One Tree Hill has its own friends - a Festival coming up later in the spring and hosts dawn chorus walks. A lovely place with stunning views.

Also an old post with Deptford on one side and "Erwell" on the other sticking out of the ground. Puzzled on this for a little while before we realised it was a boundary marker for the parishes of St. Nicholas Deptford and Camberwell from when the area was truly rural and sparsely populated.

Brockley Dogging Society - Peace and Reconciliation Dept said...

A Zeplin gun emplacement? Fat lot of good it did Colin's Great Grandfather.

Anonymous said...

The zeppelin gun didn't actually shoot down any zeppelins, I think it spent most of its time shelling Catford instead

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