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 goo.gl/Ta4oAX.
Published September 14th 2013
A Stroll Away from the High Street
Not to be confused with its larger cousin in Croydon, Wandle Park of Colliers Wood may be small, but makes the perfect place to walk the dog, have a stroll, or take the kids after running those bits 'n' bobs errands. Situated in a highly residential area, and just across the road from the tube station, it is easy to get to, which makes it ideal for spontaneous visits.
As the name suggests, the eleven acre park lies alongside the River Wandle, and is built on a site of a former millpond. Two watercourses were created, and came to be known as Old and New River.
Fountain Monument to James Perry
Two hundred years ago, it used to power Merton Corn Mill, which was owned by a man named James Perry. Perry built Wandle Bank House on the same grounds in 1791, and lived there until his death in 1821. Wandle Bank House was later bought by Wimbledon Corporation to be turned into a public park, which was opened on the 11th July 1907. At the main entrance to the park, you will find a monumental stone fountain to commemorate him and the park's opening. Enscribed on it is the following quote from "Lines Written in Kensington Gardens" by Matthew Arnold (1822-1888); it reads 'Calm soul of all things, make it mine to feel amid the city's jar, that there abides a peace of thine, man did not make and cannot mar!' In other words, amongst all industrialisation and retail, there is still a place untouched by man, which we can enjoy.
Fountain Monument to Harry Pollard Ashby and Robert Bloomfield Fenwick
Another stone fountain was later erected to commemorate Harry Pollard Ashby and his son-in-law, Robert Bloomfield Fenwick, who both lived in Wandle Bank House in the nineteenth century, and preserved the park as a public open space.
The park is home to several of my favourite type of tree, the willow. As a child, I always used to think there was something magical about them; they were fairy tale trees - wispy, whimsical, a place of hidden secrets.
Hiding under a willow tree.
Now, I find their trailing catkins make willow trees useful places to take shelter in the rain. Wandle park is also plentiful of my third favourite tree, the chestnut. Visit in autumn, and collect all the fallen chestnuts so you can roast them at home.
Branching off from the main river, is a small stream; it is pretty cluttered with plant life, creating a marshy area by the bridge.
Mini Obstacle Course
At the other end of the park is a children's playground, with a slider, swings, spiderweb tower, and mini obstacle course. The course tests your balance as you step across wobbly logs, and try your luck at a tight rope.
The Jug of No Reason
Also in the playground is a wooden sculpture shaped like a jug. Who made it? Unknown. What's its purpose? Not a clue. Why is it painted with maple leaves? No idea. Apart from that it's lovely, and so is the park.