Reminder: Honor Oak to Nunhead Walk

A reminder that the next walk is this Saturday 20 May, meet at 12 noon outside Honor Oak station for a walk to Nunhead Cemetery via One Tree Hill, Brenchley Gardens and Peckham Rye Park. The annual Open Day will be going on at Nunhead Cemetery when we arrive with stalls, refreshments and events. For more details, see the post below.

Thanks to all those who came on the walk around Brockley and Ladywell cemeteries on 23 April. Here’s the group photo!18118535_10155398585004276_1348662604164592881_n

Honor Oak to Nunhead Cemetery

The next Lewisham Nature Walk will take place on Saturday 20 May, meet outside Honor Oak station at 12 noon. The earlier start time is to coincide with the annual Friends of Nunhead Cemetery Open Day and enable people to look round that if they wish after the walk. The route takes us over One Tree Hill, through Brenchley Gardens and down to Peckham Rye Park before turning back to Nunhead Cemetery where we should arrive at about 2 pm.

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One Tree Hill

At One Tree Hill we have a steep but relatively short climb to the summit which is 265 feet above sea level and gives a good view of Central London. The hill (and the surrounding area) is named after the ‘oak of honor’ – an English oak under which Elizabeth 1 is said to have rested during a May Day excursion in 1602. In fact, there are hundreds of trees on the hill, some of which are a remnant of the Great North Wood. The presence of a Wild Service Tree on the west slope is an indicator of ancient woodland although there has been much planting since those days.

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Oak of Honor

Across the road from One Tree Hill, Brenchley Gardens is a green belt of land which runs along the trackbed of the old Nunhead to Crystal Palace railway. This was closed in 1956 and the track lifted two years later. Today it is a formal linear park but with a wild edge and some interesting trees.

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Brenchley Gardens

We then have to pound the tarmac for a short while down to Peckham Rye Park where the River Peck (which of course gives its name to Peckham) can be seen. The Peck flows underground from the summit of One Tree Hill but emerges into daylight for a short stretch through this park before going underground again and becoming one of the ‘lost rivers’ of London. Don’t get too excited by the word ‘river’ though – it trickles rather than rolls. The park has some attractive formal gardens, more interesting trees and a lake with waterfowl where we may see ducklings and goslings at this time of year.

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The River Peck
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In Peckham Rye Park

After that it’s a short walk via Stuart Road to Nunhead Cemetery where the Open Day will be in full swing. It promises ‘tours of the Cemetery, visits to the chapel and crypt – not usually open – guidance on family history, plus delicious food and drinks at our cafe.’ There is also an exhibition entitled ‘Women In Front – Commemorating the contribution of Women to the war effort at home and at the front in WW1.’

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Nunhead Cemetery

I look forward to seeing some of you on Saturday 20 May. The next walk after that will be on Sunday 11 June along the River Pool from Catford to Cator Park.

 

 

Brockley & Ladywell Cemeteries: Spring Walk

The next Lewisham Nature Walk will be around the Brockley and Ladywell Cemeteries on Sunday 23 April at 2.00 pm, meeting at the Ladywell gates at the junction of Ladywell Road and Ivy Road.  The cemeteries are classified as a Borough Grade 1 Site of importance for nature conservation and this will be a spring walk looking at the flora, birds, trees and any early butterflies. We can expect to see flowers such as lesser celandine, cow parsley, violets, bluebells, primroses and the cuckoo flower (see pic below) which is relatively rare in Lewisham. We might also see or hear the Green Woodpeckers which breed on the site, a singing Song Thrush and the song of migrant warblers such as the Blackcap and Chiffchaff. This walk is organised in conjunction with the Friends of Brockley and Ladywell Cemeteries.

 

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Cuckoo Flower |(Photo: L Pasquire)

After that, there will be an opportunity to walk up to Hilly Fields for a quick look at the hawthorn blossom and horse chestnut blossom if ‘out’ and refreshments at the cafe if desired. Thanks to those who came on the 12 March walk from Surrey Quays to Greenwich. The rain held off and we had a good walk around Greenland Dock, along the Thames Path and through Deptford where we renewed our acquaintance with the ancient Black Mulberry tree in Sayes Court Park – still alive and as well as can be expected after losing a branch!

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Surrey Quays to Greenwich

The next Lewisham nature walk will be on Sunday 12 March from Surrey Quays to Greenwich, starting at 2pm outside Surrey Quays station. We will duck and dive, bob and weave our way around the vast perimeter of Greenland Dock, along part of the Thames Path, through the green spaces of Deptford (yes, there are some), across the new Deptford Creek Bridge and end up by the Cutty Sark in Greenwich where there are good transport connections.

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Cormorant on buoy in Greenland Dock

My walks are principally nature walks so we’ll be stopping now and then to look at the flora and fauna en route and hopefully finding some signs of spring. By the way, although I know a fair amount about the natural world, I’m not an expert and anyone else with knowledge of nature is welcome to contribute. Our route also takes us through an area rich in maritime history, so inevitably we will touch upon some aspects of that.

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Shepherd’s Purse flowering in Pepys Park

The walk is approx 3.5 miles long, on mostly level ground and should take about 2.5 hours. I hope to see you there.

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Rustyback Fern in St Nicholas’s churchyard

Surrey Quays to Greenwich

The next walk will be on Sunday 15 January, meet at Surrey Quays station at 10.30 am. This has become one of my regular winter walks taking in what’s left of the Surrey Docks in their modern reincarnation, a stretch of the Thames Path and an amble through the greener parts of dear old Deptford. Towards the end, we will cross the new swing bridge over Deptford Creek.

Hopefully, we will see cormorants and grebes, some great river views, an ancient black mulberry tree and possibly a few flowers and ferns. We will also touch on some of the rich local history pertaining to the area. The walk is approx 3 miles long on level ground (apart from some stairs) and should take 2.5 hours.

Please note that this walk starts at 10.30 am, not my usual start time of 2 pm.

Autumn Walk Around Ladywell Fields

The next nature walk will be on Sunday 13 November, meet at 2pm outside Ladywell rail station. This will be a walk around Ladywell Fields looking at the autumnal landscape. We will follow the course of the river Ravensbourne which flows through the park and look out for birds, trees, flowers and anything else of natural interest.

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The land that we now call Ladywell Fields is basically a set of flood or water meadows which have existed on the banks of the river for thousands of years.  It gets a mention in the Domesday Book as ‘thirty acres of meadow in the Manor of Lievesham’  and is thus in human terms an ancient landscape. Extra land has been incorporated into the park which now covers 46 acres. Our walk will zigzag across the park from north to south and back again with maybe time for a coffee at the cafe. I’m taking a break in December, so this will be the last walk I lead before Christmas. Hope to see you there.

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Thank you to those who came on the 9 October walk. The weather wasn’t wonderful but didn’t impede the magnificent views from Point Hill. On the way there, we walked through Brookmill park and saw a heron in flight and some of the 200 year old Plane trees.

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