positive blog was sent in by Pippa Moss, early March 2022. Pippa lives in Sydenham. She enjoys running through and exploring green spaces in South East London.
Yet again, as the world seems crazy, having
somewhere to escape for a calming walk, run or cycle becomes so important.
Therefore let’s look at the delights of the Waterlink Way in case you haven’t
yet explored it. These photos were taken this week (early March) - hopefully
they give you a taste - Spring & Summer will mean more green (hiding the
buildings nearby) and less mud!
There are several routes to join the Waterlink
Way from Mayow Park but a suggested starting point is down at Bell Green. It’s
not the most inspiring approach down between one end of Sainsbury’s and the B
& Q carpark, but it quite quickly feels like you are somewhere different.
Look out for the blue bridge and turn left and you are walking along next to
Pool River. It’s a small river for sure but in the summer you will see
picnickers, children and dogs paddling. Schools sometimes do pond dipping and
nature trails. A river is a river - although you are unlikely to see any
boating on this one. You might get lucky and see a variety of river birds.
You will see walkers, runners, and many cyclists
who may be planning to go all the way to Greenwich. Running to Greenwich
provides a great reward, particularly when the weather is great, as after 5
miles you stand on the bank of the River Thames (and you can always get public
transport back!). However, this blog is going to talk about an approximately 5
mile round trip from Sydenham to Ladywell. A good starting point for most,
including those with children.
The scenic path (which is wide and always easy
for bikes, buggies, scooters etc) closely follows the River Pool until you
reach the ‘Ravensbourne Confluence’ - at this point you are then following the
Ravensbourne River. There’s a slightly strange part when you pop out in a
carpark at Catford but after crossing it, going through the tunnel under the
road (where you usually then find a great coffee van!), you walk past some
attractive newly built flats and you are back joining the path by the river
For the kids, you could call this route a
‘playground crawl’, as you will then pass playground number 2 which is actually
a bit different to your average playground - see photo below of one of the
pieces of equipment (although wait until a less muddy time of year!!).
At this point you are at Ladywell Fields. There
are paths either side of the water so you can spice things up and take a
different one on the way back! There is an adventure playground (mostly open in
school holidays) and then a spiralling bridge that takes you into the next section
of Ladywell near the hospital. Here there is a skateboarding area, tennis
courts, and the Good Hope Cafe with playground number 4 next to it.
If you carried on you would pop out on Ladywell
Road. It has a real village feel with some lovely looking shops and cafes. (To
join the Waterlink Way after this is a little of a wiggle and probably a 15
minute walk until you pick up the river again - just follow the cycle route
Or you can grab a Good Hope coffee (a chilled out
kind of run with a drink break is surely allowed?) and then head back.
Here are a few photos of things you can look out
for on the way, including some rather nicely designed signposts. It is
certainly an attractive route, largely hidden from the urban world, with the
babbling water alongside you, also with an appealing end goal (either the Good
Hope Cafe or the River Thames). You could even take a litter picking stick and
black bag with you, especially if you are walking, as parts can unfortunately
be spoiled by litter but there are plenty of bins. There are also groups like
‘Nature Volunteering in Lewisham’ (see Facebook) who advertise clean ups. They
have one on Saturday 26th March.
Do enjoy and explore this route soon if you