Walking the world, one trail at a time

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An escape in the city: south east London’s Waterlink Way

In a borough with more than 1,100 acres of green space, the Waterlink Way is easily Lewisham’s crown jewel.

The Waterlink Way is an 8-mile that route winds its way from Lower Sydenham all the way north to Greenwich, following the River Pool to start before meeting the Ravensbourne river.

You could run, walk or cycle this route, and with an abundance of stations along the way it’s easy to chop, change and adapt the route depending on how far you want to walk and what you’d like to take in on the way. Some fun detours are the oddly-shaped Ladywell Playtower, currently undergoing consultation to hopefully bring it back to use, and the Catford Bridge Tavern for refreshments.

Skip to the route.

Our walk is a slight adaptation of the full route. I wanted to go and see the mansion at Beckenham Place Park, incorporating the Waterlink Way as much as possible so we could walk from Brockley. I’ve walked the stretch up to Deptford before, and didn’t fancy taking in the muddy creek again..

This route sums south-east London up quite nicely: we passed through the lovely manicured parks in Ladywell before reaching the wild, overgrown paths that between the industrial sites at Catford. We left the River Pool just before Lower Sydenham station, strolling through streets of housing before we finished the walk in Beckenham Place Park.

This is Lewisham’s largest green space, jam packed with ancient woodlands, a mansion, a now-defunct golf course, ponds, and plenty of trees to recline under.

After we had a little rest, we strolled through the woods. I’m not sure we went in the most logical way, after skirting around the edges of this mini forest we pop through a vague opening in the trees/brambles. Even though you’re in a tiny space, the dense trees and plants surrounding you make it really feel like you’ve escaped London altogether. And when you’re done, you can just pop out the other side by Ravensbourne station, ready to go home.

Getting there

Take the London Overground to Brockley station, or the National Rail to Ladywell.

Pub stops

The Catford Bridge Tavern is a great pub stop just under halfway into the route. I haven’t been but would like to try the Chancery in Beckenham, which has good reviews.

Distance

8.75km / 5.4 miles

Time

2 hours

Difficulty

Easy

The Route

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