Streatham Common, London, SW16

 

Tree, Streatham Common

Streatham Common is an attractive green space in South London. The grass on the Northern and Western section is maintained and dotted with trees. It looks very pretty sloping upwards towards the rookery from the A23. On summer weekends it is quite busy with people, flying kites, having picnics or just chilling out. This area of the park often has events running when the weather is warm. An interesting one booked for September is “A Midsummer Night’s Dream” performed by the world first cycling theatre company!

Path, Streatham Common

 

The eastern side is left in a more natural state. It has been designated a local nature reserve and it has many oak trees and some beautiful old cedars. Where the western part meets the east there is beautiful formal garden called The Rookery. A mineral spring was discovered here in the 1650s and was visited by royalty to take the waters. Streatham was a very fashionable out of town location in the 19th century and the Rookery Gardens are kept as they would have been in those days. There is a rockery with a pond, lovely herbaceous borders, and it has an ornamental stream running through it.

Camellia, Streatham Common

The Rookery Café is outside the wall of The Rookery just on the border between the maintained and more natural parts of the common. It is a well run café, serving hot and cold food. There are seats outside with big views to the west and south.

Trough, Streatham Common

 

The Common is surprisingly large – over two kilometres along the perimeter from its northwestern corner to the northeastern one. As you head farther east, the park becomes part of the borough of Croydon and is known as Norwood Grove, although historically, it has always been part of the Great Streatham Common. There is a nice 19th century house here, inside the park, Norwood Grove House, although it is known locally as the White House. This also has nicely laid out gardens and pretty, if urban, views out over Croydon.

Dog Walker on Streatham Common

Streatham Common is a well used park, surrounded on all sides by houses. There are joggers, dog walkers, parents with buggies, yet it is big enough to avoid feeling crowded.   It is on the Capital Ring, which is a 120 kilometre walk around London, broken up into 15 smaller sections. This is a surprisingly green and traffic light walk for such a large metropolis. The park itself is a varied and interesting area with lots of different types of scenery, I would say that it is certainly worth a visit if you are in South London on a sunny day.

Streatham Common

 

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The Rookery Café, Streatham Common, London.

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The Rookery is an ornamental garden on Streatham Common. It is on the site of an old guest house, now gone,  where Queen Victoria used to visit, to take the water, from the three springs, on Streatham Spa. It is still a very pretty, well maintained garden with long views over South London and the South Downs.

The Rookery Café is a nice, old style, park café, with indoor and outdoor seating. There are  pleasant views from the outdoor tables. It is child and dog friendly. It has bowls for water and dog treats in a jar on the counter.

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It has a good selection of hot and cold food. It has vegan, vegetarian and gluten free choices. It has a well maintained community noticeboard offering everything from local plays to invitations to join a brass band.

rookery cafe notice board

It is on the Capital Ring, near the end of Section 5, a very pleasant place to stop for refreshment, if you are doing that walk.

Springfield Park Café, Capital Ring, Section 13, London.

Springfield Cafe

Springfield Park is a pretty park with lovely views over Hackney Marshes. The Café is just inside the main entrance to the park on Springfield Road. It is in North London, not far from Stamford Hill.  Its a lovely old fashioned park café with plenty of seats inside and out. The view from the outside seats is very pretty; over the Lea River and the canal boat marina.

The café has a great choice of both hot and cold food, with the menu hand written in chalk on blackboards behind the counter. I loved the, industrial sized, vintage orange press that freshly squeezes your juice while you wait. It looks like it comes from the early 1970s. There is a big community notice board in the hallway, crammed with flyers for events in the area. It has everything from flats to rent, through mindfulness meetings to trombone tuition!

 

view from Cafe
View from the tables outside.

 

The park itself is on the Capital Ring, a long distance walk around London. Although the café is  a bit nearer the start of section 13 than the end, it is definitely the nicest place to stop for a break, if you need one.

A lovely café in a very pretty park.

Regent’s Park, London

https://www.endomondo.com/routes/731348501

Regent’s park is one of my favourite places to walk in London. This 7 kilometre walk is a lovely route around the park if you have a couple of hours to spare. It starts at Chalk Farm tube and heads up primrose hill, where there are stunning views of London’s skyline. It then heads down round the edges of London zoo and over the Regent’s canal. It gives a pretty view of the London Central Mosque before turning down the side of the boating lake. Near the foot of the lake it crosses the bridge, passing the open air theatre and going into to rose garden. The ornamental bridge has a beautiful wisteria in flower in May. It then heads to eastern edge of the park to walk along Chester Terrace a designed by Nash in the early 19th century. Finally along the southern part of the park to Park Street where you can catch buses to north London or turn left for Baker Street tube and connections to the city centre.

The photos are: (top) Skyline from Primrose Hill, Egyptian Goose by the boating lake, Regent’s Canal from the Broad Walk, (bottom) Wisteria in Queen Mary’s rose garden, Deckchairs and Daisies, The City from the Hill.

This link at the top is a downloadable route, you can download it on to your phone or tablet and follow it in real time as you walk. I am hopeful that you can expand the areas nearby on the map too, so if you decide to stop early, it is possible to see transport options nearby. If anyone spots a difficulty in using it, I would be grateful for feedback as, if it works well, I plan on publishing a list of my favourite walks from around the world.

A walk along Regent’s Canal

https://www.endomondo.com/routes/725067575

A walk from Warwick Avenue tube to Angel tube along the Regent’s Canal is a fine way to spend a summer day.

It starts off in leafy Little Venice with houseboats all along the canal. It skirts the edges of Regents Park where grand houses have manicured gardens that run down to the water’s edge.

The canal cuts through London zoo – you can look up to see the birds in the Snowdon aviary and see animal enclosures on the far side. Soon after you will come to busy, buzzy Camden Lock – you can walk through a door in the wall of a building on the side of the canal if you fancy a detour into Camden market.

Next up is urban King’s Cross, where it is interesting to see the inventive rejuvenation, for example the new circular apartment blocks being built inside the frames of 19th century gas holders.

Finally, Chapel Street Market is one of the few remaining old fashioned London street markets. It still has a wet fish stall and even a ribbon and haberdashery stall.

The walk is almost 10k; so expect to spend a few hours but it is varied, interesting and well worth the time.

Fox Glacier, South Island, New Zealand

This will never look the same on different days, today the low cloud cover gave it a brooding dark appearance. I’m told it can seem brilliant and shiny when in direct sunlight.

The closest view is about a thirty minute walk each way from the car park. This will be different in different seasons and dependent on the weather. It is not an easy walk; quite steep and lots of loose scree. However it is not without attractions; through the steep cliffs that the glacier has carved out over the centuries.

Glaciers are not pretty things, looking dirty and rough, but one can’t help but be in awe of something that can clear mountains out its way. It is also interesting to see how much it has receded since 1750.