Walking The River Wandle

Just like last week's Lea River trip, this one started in a grim New Town and ended at the Thames in London. There may be be some pleasant parts of Croydon but they're not on the route of the Wandle.

I was following the river, along the course described in Tom Bolton's London's Lost Rivers. Unlike the other rivers described in the book, the Wandle is mostly still visible, the rest having been covered up and/or converted to sewers. Once you leave Croydon, its a very pleasant walk, run or cycle through some hidden parts of the capital.

The route starts at the 120 year old Swan and Sugarloaf at the south end of Croydon High Street. Once a historic pub and hotel, its now a Tesco Express in a dingy part of town. The river has been covered up in this area, so the best plan is to head north quickly. If you're not bothered about visiting the source, the Wandle car-park, slightly further up, is alternative place to start. 

The Wandle becomes visible about half a mile in at the south-east corner of Wandle Park. The pleasant part of the trip only really starts at Waddon Ponds where the signs for the Wandle Trail begin.

The river meanders ~11 miles through parks and industrial areas before reaching the Thames at Wandsworth. In between there's Beddingon Park, Ravensbury Park and Morden Hall National Trust, amongst others as nice places to stop for a rest.

The confluence with the Thames is just north of Wandsworth centre. I've crossed the bridge several times on the Thames Path, not realising what it was. From here I picked up a Boris Bike (TFL Santander Cycle) just round the corner at Smuggler's Way and took a 6 mile route via the Thames Path to Victoria Station. Regular trains go from here to West Croydon.

Richard gowerComment