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.