diamond geezer

 Sunday, June 12, 2016

THE UNLOST RIVERS OF LONDON
Beverley Brook
Worcester Park → New Malden → Barnes (5½ miles)
[Beverley Brook → Thames]


For the second part of my walk along the Beverley Brook, an unlost river in southwest London, I'm following a trail rather than the river. This is an important distinction, because the Beverley Brook Walk is attempting to create a decent afternoon out rather than slavishly following the river. In this it succeeds, rather well, but occasionally at the expense of seeing any water. That said, there are two long brookside stretches through Wimbledon Common and Richmond Park, and they're better than anything a lot of London's other unlost rivers can ever hope to attain. And hurrah, this is an official waymarked walk, so there are generally signs to follow and you can also download a leaflet. You can't go wrong with Beverley. [OS map] [Google map] [river map] [walking instructions] [9 photos]



The Beverley Brook Walk kicks off by a bus stop on the A3, which isn't the easiest spot to get to, so a ¾ mile walking link exists from New Malden station. Or you could catch the bus instead, although interestingly the 265 tracks the river closely from here all the way to Putney so you might be spoiling the surprise. There's the river in a deep wide trench emerging from beneath the dual carriageway, and make the most, because after 100 metres it's vanishing again behind some houses. Instead you get to walk round to the shops by the Coombe Lane roundabout, which are also the last set of shops along this walk so best stock up if necessary.

Other than the clue in its name, Beverley Avenue doesn't look a very promising way to go, neither does the footpath at the end look especially appealing. When it squeezes round the back of a sports ground along a nettle-y path it'd be unwise to attempt in shorts, you may be even less convinced you're on the right track. But things open out past the tennis courts, crossing the edge of a rugby ground so behind the times they still use scrummage aids sponsored by Powergen. And an enamelled map beyond the touchline confirms you're on the right route, indeed you're at the very southwestern corner of Wimbledon Common. All the main facilities are a long way distant, this is deep woodland fringe, and probably all the better for it.



For the next mile the river runs immediately to your left beneath a thick leafy canopy. The first time I walked this way I thought it was natural, but looking again it's clear the hand of man has been at work. The brook hereabouts is about six metres wide, and consistently so, hemmed in by a run of wooden boards that create a curve too artificially smooth. The banks are deep and rather steep, and consistently so, meaning you're always up above the stream and never down at its level. However charming the brook appears it's really a drainage channel with potential high capacity, but then so many London rivers are, indeed have to be to prevent flooding to adjacent properties. Here there are no houses, only oak woodland and muddy tracks, and the rural illusion would be complete were it not for the rumble of the A3 running parallel to the far bank.

So anyway, that bit's lovely, and it's a pity when you finally step back out into the open by some playing fields. It's time to finally leave the A3 behind, but only after crossing it, which is achieved via a pair of lights with dual control for those on foot and those on horseback. Never fear, the brush with mainstream civilisation is only brief, because on the other side is Richmond Park's Robin Hood Gate. An old plaque on the brickwork confirms the Roehampton Gate is 1 mile 530 yards away, which is where both we and the river are heading. To follow it turn right inside the park to follow it up the eastern boundary, because the local golf course swallowed up everything on the far bank.



Again this is nice, with a path following the river all the way, only this time in broad daylight. Only the occasional tree intrudes, apart from a brief spell through somewhere called Killcat Wood, which sounds far more unpleasant than it is. And yet the river again has a certain uniformity, a result of its canalisation in the 1920s to create a channel deeper and safer but ecologically sterile. Which is why the Royal Parks have a restoration project underway about halfway up, with a 500m section fenced off to prevent damage from dogs and deer, and to allow the re-creation of less precipitous banks and differential shallows. This'll improve biodiversity by giving fish somewhere to lurk, even spawn, and increase the amount of in-flow vegetation. It might even be working, if the hungry heron I saw jabbering on a tree stump was anything to go by.

After the cafe and several deer, if you're lucky, the brook ducks under a wall to leave the park. The official path eventually follows, then runs alongside for the length of Palewell Playing Fields. Make the most of it, because beyond the pitch and putt course the route suddenly breaks away to exit the riverside through some rather nice allotments. Things you won't be seeing on the opposite bank include the National Tennis Centre and The Priory, if you've ever wondered precisely where celebs go for therapy. Instead there's a lot of road walking ahead, the only vaguely interesting bit a diversion via Priest's Bridge (where there is indeed a bridge), as well as the Halfway House (which is somehow the only pub on the entire walk).



Take care walking up Vine Road, which is the location of the Barnes double level crossing, where you'll probably be stopped twice by commuter services. Eventually it's possible to step out onto Barnes Common, where the official route makes a brief dash for the footbridge at Barnes Green where the river reappears, then immediately retreats. The Common's very pleasant, and very popular, although if you've come on this walk for liquid scenery you'll be wondering where that's gone. By this point the Beverley Brook has bent round to flow east rather than north, and is heading for the Thames on the opposite side of the Barnes meander. Meanwhile the path is running parallel about a hundred metres away, passing between a large sports centre and a derelict cemetery with tumbledown monuments and the occasional headless angel.

Finally, with barely quarter of a mile to spare, the Beverley Brook Walk and its associated river recombine. A footbridge returns you to a bankside path, with the river somehow not as wide and voluminous as geomorphology suggests it should be, as if a substantial part of the flow has been removed somewhere upstream. One last leafy promenade delivers you to one final bend, where a sluice traps any waterborne detritus before it exits the river. There's a considerable differential in height from one side to the other, the last few upstream metres being entirely tidal and resembling more a dock or inlet than the mouth of a river. And we're done, the prize being a stately panorama along the Thames, with Craven Cottage almost immediately opposite, and Putney Bridge in the distance beyond a string of boathouses. Thank you Beverley, you certainly delivered.

[part 1 yesterday]


<< click for Newer posts

click for Older Posts >>


click to return to the main page


...or read more in my monthly archives
Jan16  Feb16  Mar16  Apr16  May16  Jun16  Jul16  Aug16  Sep16  Oct16  Nov16  Dec16
Jan15  Feb15  Mar15  Apr15  May15  Jun15  Jul15  Aug15  Sep15  Oct15  Nov15  Dec15
Jan14  Feb14  Mar14  Apr14  May14  Jun14  Jul14  Aug14  Sep14  Oct14  Nov14  Dec14
Jan13  Feb13  Mar13  Apr13  May13  Jun13  Jul13  Aug13  Sep13  Oct13  Nov13  Dec13
Jan12  Feb12  Mar12  Apr12  May12  Jun12  Jul12  Aug12  Sep12  Oct12  Nov12  Dec12
Jan11  Feb11  Mar11  Apr11  May11  Jun11  Jul11  Aug11  Sep11  Oct11  Nov11  Dec11
Jan10  Feb10  Mar10  Apr10  May10  Jun10  Jul10  Aug10  Sep10  Oct10  Nov10  Dec10 
Jan09  Feb09  Mar09  Apr09  May09  Jun09  Jul09  Aug09  Sep09  Oct09  Nov09  Dec09
Jan08  Feb08  Mar08  Apr08  May08  Jun08  Jul08  Aug08  Sep08  Oct08  Nov08  Dec08
Jan07  Feb07  Mar07  Apr07  May07  Jun07  Jul07  Aug07  Sep07  Oct07  Nov07  Dec07
Jan06  Feb06  Mar06  Apr06  May06  Jun06  Jul06  Aug06  Sep06  Oct06  Nov06  Dec06
Jan05  Feb05  Mar05  Apr05  May05  Jun05  Jul05  Aug05  Sep05  Oct05  Nov05  Dec05
Jan04  Feb04  Mar04  Apr04  May04  Jun04  Jul04  Aug04  Sep04  Oct04  Nov04  Dec04
Jan03  Feb03  Mar03  Apr03  May03  Jun03  Jul03  Aug03  Sep03  Oct03  Nov03  Dec03
 Jan02  Feb02  Mar02  Apr02  May02  Jun02  Jul02 Aug02  Sep02  Oct02  Nov02  Dec02 

eXTReMe Tracker
jack of diamonds
life viewed from london e3

email    twitter    G+

my flickr photostream

What's on this weekend?
Sun 4 December (8am-10pm)
Tower Bridge fully closed
For one day only, cross the river by free passenger ferry!

twenty blogs
853
arseblog
ian visits
londonist
scaryduck
blue witch
city metric
the great wen
onionbagblog
edith's streets
spitalfields life
linkmachinego
in the aquarium
round the island
wanstead meteo
london museums
christopher fowler
ruth's coastal walk
london reconnections
dirty modern scoundrel

quick reference features
Things to do in Outer London
The DG Tour of Britain
Comment Value Hierarchy

read the archive
Dec16  Nov16  Oct16  Sep16
Aug16  Jul16  Jun16  May16
Apr16  Mar16  Feb16  Jan16
Dec15  Nov15  Oct15  Sep15
Aug15  Jul15  Jun15  May15
Apr15  Mar15  Feb15  Jan15
Dec14  Nov14  Oct14  Sep14
Aug14  Jul14  Jun14  May14
Apr14  Mar14  Feb14  Jan14
Dec13  Nov13  Oct13  Sep13
Aug13  Jul13  Jun13  May13
Apr13  Mar13  Feb13  Jan13
Dec12  Nov12  Oct12  Sep12
Aug12  Jul12  Jun12  May12
Apr12  Mar12  Feb12  Jan12
Dec11  Nov11  Oct11  Sep11
Aug11  Jul11  Jun11  May11
Apr11  Mar11  Feb11  Jan11
Dec10  Nov10  Oct10  Sep10
Aug10  Jul10  Jun10  May10
Apr10  Mar10  Feb10  Jan10
Dec09  Nov09  Oct09  Sep09
Aug09  Jul09  Jun09  May09
Apr09  Mar09  Feb09  Jan09
Dec08  Nov08  Oct08  Sep08
Aug08  Jul08  Jun08  May08
Apr08  Mar08  Feb08  Jan08
Dec07  Nov07  Oct07  Sep07
Aug07  Jul07  Jun07  May07
Apr07  Mar07  Feb07  Jan07
Dec06  Nov06  Oct06  Sep06
Aug06  Jul06  Jun06  May06
Apr06  Mar06  Feb06  Jan06
Dec05  Nov05  Oct05  Sep05
Aug05  Jul05  Jun05  May05
Apr05  Mar05  Feb05  Jan05
Dec04  Nov04  Oct04  Sep04
Aug04  Jul04  Jun04  May04
Apr04  Mar04  Feb04  Jan04
Dec03  Nov03  Oct03  Sep03
Aug03  Jul03  Jun03  May03
Apr03  Mar03  Feb03  Jan03
Dec02  Nov02  Oct02  Sep02
back to main page

diamond geezer 2015 index
diamond geezer 2014 index
diamond geezer 2013 index
diamond geezer 2012 index
diamond geezer 2011 index
diamond geezer 2010 index
diamond geezer 2009 index
diamond geezer 2008 index
diamond geezer 2007 index
diamond geezer 2006 index
diamond geezer 2005 index
diamond geezer 2004 index
diamond geezer 2003 index
diamond geezer 2002 index

my special London features
a-z of london museums
E3 - local history month
greenwich meridian (N)
greenwich meridian (S)
the real eastenders
london's lost rivers
olympic park 2007
great british roads
oranges & lemons
random boroughs
bow road station
high street 2012
river westbourne
trafalgar square
capital numbers
east london line
lea valley walk
olympics 2005
regent's canal
square routes
silver jubilee
unlost rivers
cube routes
metro-land
capital ring
river fleet
piccadilly
bakerloo

ten of my favourite posts
the seven ages of blog
my new Z470xi mobile
five equations of blog
the dome of doom
chemical attraction
quality & risk
london 2102
single life
boredom
april fool

ten sets of lovely photos
my "most interesting" photos
london 2012 olympic zone
harris and the hebrides
betjeman's metro-land
marking the meridian
tracing the river fleet
london's lost rivers
inside the gherkin
seven sisters
iceland

just surfed in?
here's where to find...
diamond geezers
flash mob #1  #2  #3  #4
ben schott's miscellany
london underground
watch with mother
cigarette warnings
digital time delay
wheelie suitcases
war of the worlds
transit of venus
top of the pops
old buckenham
ladybird books
acorn antiques
digital watches
outer hebrides
olympics 2012
school dinners
pet shop boys
west wycombe
bletchley park
george orwell
big breakfast
clapton pond
san francisco
thunderbirds
routemaster
children's tv
east enders
trunk roads
amsterdam
little britain
credit cards
jury service
big brother
jubilee line
number 1s
titan arum
typewriters
doctor who
coronation
comments
blue peter
matchgirls
hurricanes
buzzwords
brookside
monopoly
peter pan
starbucks
feng shui
leap year
manbags
penelope
bbc three
vision on
piccadilly
meridian
concorde
wembley
islington
ID cards
bedtime
freeview
beckton
blogads
eclipses
letraset
arsenal
sitcoms
gherkin
calories
everest
muffins
sudoku
camilla
london
ceefax
robbie
becks
dome
BBC2
paris
lotto
118
itv