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Wimbledon Common

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by Kat Parr Mackintosh (subscribe)
Young and coffee in varying degrees, Kat also says stuff @ThoroughlyMode
Published July 23rd 2010
At the vanguard of the recycling movement, the Wombles of Wimbledon Common made good use of the things the every day folks left behind before Sting had even joined The Police, let alone tried to save the Brazilian Rainforest. Underneath the common there was supposedly a large Womble burrow system where they made 'good use' of the things that they found. It's unclear if these visionaries of the practical recycling movement are still active in the area - but considering they're supposed to live to the age of 300, then it's reasonable to assume that they are - and trying to spot one of these friendly fur-bags going about their business is just one of the modern pleasures of Wimbledon Common.

This large open space promising tranquility at the end of the District Line has several different parts to it, three of which have distinct names: Wimbledon Common, Putney Heath and Putney Lower Common. Beyond that there are several visually distinct areas: a forested bit, which is popular with ramblers, and trail riders of both the two wheeled and four legged variety; the heath bits, which are nice and flat, with trees neatly arranged so as not to spoil ball games or get in the way of festival tents or fairground rides, or people trying to soak up the sun; and the heather bit, which is near the centre of the common and is popular with picnic-ers and dogs and people on Sunday strolls. There is also a bog which is where people who like looking for unusual bog-critters and plants go, and two small lakes or pools, called Kingsmere and Rushmere which are on the high common, and seven smaller meres or ponds.

The common also has its own windmill, which is a surprisingly unexpected find if you don't know it's there. You can't really see it over the common's trees so when you do run into it it's quite secluded. Apparently this is where Robert Baden -Powell wrote parts of his opus: Scouting for Boys. It's also got some of the common's only public conveniences and a tea and refreshment shop, so it's good to know about.

Wimbledon Common has its own little village with some cafes, boutiques and a couple of nice places to eat one of them a pub. There's a couple of places to pick your picnic up here, but there are more options round Wimbledon Station, which is at the bottom of the hill.

One way to get the most out of Wimbledon Common is to join in with the parkrun, which is a free 5km fun run that's held every Saturday by the windmill starting at 9. It's a timed event and to participate properly you have to register while there is a winner it's supposed to be you against the clock. But the traditional option has got to be to pack your picnic and your rug and when you've finished eating lay a trail of interesting, recyclable, looking items around you and lie very still pretending to be asleep even? - hoping that a Womble will be tempted to pop by.
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Why? For peace and quiet in the middle of town
When: Whenever the weather's fine
Where: Wimbledon Common - up the hill from Wimbledon Tube station
Cost: Free
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