EMBRACE ‘GREATER BROCKLEY’

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St. Hilda's Church

I thought I would do a very quick, SHORT, blog on the ‘Walking Neighbourhoods competition that is currently taking place by the Ramblers association and ‘Brockley’ or ‘Greater Brockley’ as it was famously coined by Carol Kirkwood on BBC Breakfast 3 weeks ago is one of the ten finalists across the country looking to win the award.

VOTING has been taking place over the past 19 days. The Lewisham social media network has kicked into gear and doing a great job on spreading the word to get people voting but in these last days leading up to the deadline on the 30th June we need to really extend the network and encourage EVERYONE to get voting! 

Why do we deserve to win the BEST Walking Neighbourhood award? Now anyone reading this and living in our area will not need reminding that ‘Greater Brockley’ that encompasses Brockley, Crofton Park, Ladywell and Honor Oak, is the most amazing place to live. It is an inner city area but has all the feel of a village community with fantastic local businesses, local festivals & events, but more than anything brilliant OUTDOOR SPACES! I don’t think there are many streets in these postcodes that aren’t within a 10 minute walk of a local park and often two, and if you are lucky 3.

Now these parks aren’t just any old ordinary green spaces they are all TRULY MAGNIFICENT. Hillyfields, Ladywell Park, Blythe Hill, Ladywell & Brockley cemetery and One Tree Hill are truly unique. The views from the three peaks namely Hillyfields, Blythe Hill and One Tree Hill are outstanding looking across to Canary Wharf, the city and beyond. There are great community cafes at two of them, always packed with dogwalkers, runners, families and people just passing by enjoying the outdoor life.

Hillyfields is home to  the ‘Hillyfields 5K park run on a Saturday morning and then the juniors on a Sunday morning and an amazing community and friendships have developed around this shared/supportive activity. Come rain or shine they run/stroll or walk and attract hundreds each week. Hillyfields is also home to the Brockley Nordic walkers which has gone from strength to strength over the years under the leadership of the inspiring Laura Kinnunen. Cricket, football, basketball and tennis plus crown green bowls are also played and enjoyed in Hillyfields. Brockley Max and Hillyfields fayre are annual popular events taking place in the park. 

All of the parks have great children’s play areas plus outdoor gym equipment. Ladywell fields now has five refurbished hard tennis courts with floodlights and they are used on a regular basis for singles and doubles. Group coaching for adults and children is provided by South East London tennis all year round. Ladywell fields is split into 3 main areas, divided by the very lovable ‘wurly gurly’ footbridge over the railway line. Each of the parks has the River Ravensbourne running through it and there are many access points where kids can paddle and explore the water and the riverbanks The wildlife is extensive and Kingfishers are often spotted. 

Blythe Hill is home to arguably the most extensive views across London in the area and there are many benches on the top of the hill to sit and admire the scenery. The Blythe Hill festival now takes place annually in July and is a firm favourite in the local event calendar and there is always a lovely atmosphere. If we are lucky to get snow Blythe Hill becomes very popular and you can’t beat hurling yourself down on a sledge towards the road! 

One Tree Hill, in Honor Oak is the final peak within the 3 peaks walk and if you manage the steep climb up the steps beside the beautiful St. Augustine’s church you will be rewarded with a magnificent view between the trees across into London.  

Another beautiful green space that I shouldn’t forget to mention is the cemetery, located within the middle of the ‘Greater Brockley’ area. This is a great space to wander or run around (and get lost in!). People use it as a cut through to get from the main Brockley road onto Brockley Grove or just go for a leisurely stroll, checking out the gravestones and stories behind them whilst also appreciating the greenery with the many varieties of trees and wild flowers. The friends of Brockley and Ladywell cemetery are very active and do frequent, popular guided walks plus events in the lovely chapel.

Cycling is encouraged around and between all of these green spaces and is a great ride to take the family. The 3 peaks walk was officially launched in 2015 and there is a fantastic map created to show the circular route with interesting information and stops along the way. Of course besides the main parks I have mentioned above there are lots of beautiful nature reserves and community gardens within the area of ‘Greater Brockley’ and we are very lucky to only have the wonderful ‘Crofton Park community railway garden’ officially opened at the beginning of June for everyone to use 6 days a week. 

Right I was thinking this was going to be a very short blog but as I began writing it I realised how much beautiful green spaces there are in the area and felt compelled to write more! The purpose of this was to encourage people to VOTE Brockley to WIN the Walking Neighbourhoods award. I hope you have already done that but if not please click on the link here. Please pass onto your friends and family to help get the VOTE OUT. 

WALKING is a fantastic easy & free exercise to do for all the family and there really is no excuse in our area not to be able to pop down to your local park for a half hour stroll or a longer stride out by going on the 3 peaks walk that takes approx. 2 to 3 hours. This can of course take longer by popping into and supporting one of our fantastic local independent businesses for a coffee/lunch/glass of wine or dinner! 

FINALLY ‘GREATER BROCKLEY’ DESERVES TO WIN THIS AWARD-we are an amazing WALKING NEIGHBOURHOOD and COMMUNITY – LET’S DO THIS SE4, SE23 AND SE23. VOTE AND SPREAD THE WORD.

Bye for now 

Jane x