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The Living Wandle Celebration

Home > London > Family | Festivals | Fun Things To Do | Parks | Walks
by Bastion Harrison (subscribe)
Freelance writer and poet from London; if you would like to read my poetry, please check out my book, 'Poems on the Page', available from
Doing the Wandle Walk
morden hall park, river wandle
The River Wandle

If you are fortunate enough to live by a beautiful river, it inevitably comes with the downside of flooding. I, however, am lucky on two counts. I live opposite the River Wandle, but never in my time here has it ever flooded, despite some torrential down pours. In fact, the only negative I can think of is the gnats. Annoying in spring time, but their brief appearance does little to mar the scene.

The name 'Wandle' comes from the Old English, 'Wendlesworth' and mean's 'Wendle's Settlement'. Travelling through the London Boroughs of Croydon, Sutton, Merton, and Wandsworth, it is nine miles long and joins the River Thames on the Tideway at Wandsworth.

The River Wandle has been of great economic importance since Roman Times, but suffered from heavy pollution during the seventh and eighteenth centuries due to industrialisation. Since then, however, it has been cleaned up, and home to many species of wildlife.

In honour of my favourite river, Living Wandle is a festival to celebrate its history. On the 29th September there will be family activities dotted around the Merton area.

Morden Hall Park
Morden Hall Rd, Morden, London, Surrey, SM4 5JD

Print Block at Merton Priory Chapter House.

Drop-in activities will be going from 11am-4pm, and include things such as archeological dig boxes for children, river dipping, fabric hand block printing, a duckathon, paper boat races, drawing & watercolouring, make-a-hedgehog, and fishing taster sessions. There will also be music, and educational talks.

Merton Abbey Mills
Merantun Way, London, SW19 2RD

abbey mils, william morris pub
William Morris Pub

Kids can also have a go at fishing at Merton Abbey Mills, while adults make floats, do material dying, fly tying, and learn about riverfly monitoring. Dominic Garnett and local author Theo Pike will also be doing book signings.

Explore the excavated remains of the Chapter House for one of its rare open days, and join the Environmental Agency at the William Morris Pub to get involved in the pollution river monitoring scheme.


There will be various walks you can attend for Living Wandle. Starting from 11am at Mitcham Junction Station, you can go on a landscape walk to Carshalton and do some birdwatching. Then at 1pm, meet up at The Hub on Bishopfords Road for a guided tour of Watermeads. Finally, at 6.30pm, you'll go on a bat walk at Ravensbury Park. Meet at the entrance on Wandle Road.
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Why? Fun for the family
When: 29th Sept
Where: Morden Hall Park & Merton Abbey Mills
Cost: Free
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