I don’t think I could have chosen a finer week to become unemployed. The weather has been great as we change from Winter to Spring this week. And to celebrate (?) my freedom from work (hopefully just very very temporary) I treated myself to a bicycle tour of an unexplored part of London. I checked out the London Parks & Garden Trust website for some inspiration. They have created several bicycle and walking routes throughout London, which make their way through notable parks. Perfect for me. So the one I chose went through the London Borough of Sutton, which is a just a couple miles to the Southwest of where I live.
The route took me through many of the towns, which are stops after mine on the train. It was nice to finally have a picture to a name. I took off Tuesday morning, the 1stday of Spring heading south. The route, said it
was about 8.5 miles, which didn’t feel like much since I’ve been doing a lot more than that on my commute to work. The first park that I visited, which is the park I’ll be highlighting, was Beddington Park. Beddington Park used to be a deer park as part of the Carew Estate. The London Parks and Garden Trust website said the Carews arrived in the area in the 14th century. Deer parks used to be fashionable back in the day for those aristocrats who couldn’t be bothered to travel far from home to partake in some hunting. Good for them and a long term win for me and the others enjoying the park these days. Part of the park included a church built in the 19th century, I do believe. Though judging by the amount of very mature yews in the church yard, there’s been a church there for much longer than that. Yews (Taxus baccata) are often found in church yards. You can read more about their significance here.
After checking out the old manor house, which is now a school, and the church I headed up North along the cycle path. It lead to a pretty phenomenal avenue of old lime (Tilia europea) trees. They had obviously been pollarded in a previous life but have not been touched in a long time. I’m not sure what the maintenance plan is for these guys, but I didn’t really see many downed branches as I expected. It also could be that they just did maintenance in the park. Who knows. Either way there’s some sweet limes with gnarly growth and severe dieback in the top. I will have to go back in the summer and see how the trees end up flushing out leaves.
After admiring the limes for a bit, I continued north to the rest of my bike adventure. The bike path went a long ways along the River Wandle. I had never seen much of River Wandle before, but it’s pretty nice. It goes north from here and dumps into the Thames somewhere in the Putney area of London. Beddington Park: worth a visit! My next installment will be about the final park I visited on my bike ride. It’s great to get out and explore new parts of the city and find hidden gems of awesome in the parks and gardens of this city.