Lewisham is a major building site right now and the Ravensbourne River disappears under the new flats, road, cranes, bulldozers, and everything else. However, the Masterplan shows new landscaping which will encourage people to enjoy the Ravensbourne and become more aware of the Quaggy.
The Ravensbourne in Cornmill Gardens has been opened up and indigenous trees planted with indigenous plants and wildlife slowly populating the area. It is a pretty area. The name points to the activities here in the past. The Manor of Lewisham belonged to the Abbey of Ghent (!) in the Middle Ages and the Domesday Book 1086 listed 11 mills along the Ravensbourne.
The Glassmills Leisure Centre overlooks the Ravensbourne and in researching the site the developers research found this was originally the site of a watermill used to grind corn, and after 1756 the mill became a glass cutting business.
The Ravensbourne is briefly in River Dale Park before disappearing behind buildings.
I picked up the path again close to Ladywell Station, in Ladywell Road. The path is also known as the Waterlink Way and it is well signposted. Ladywell Fields are in three parts, of which this is the first section. These were originally water meadows in the Manor of Lewisham and mentioned in the Domesday Book. There was a ‘Lady’s Well’ (now under the approach road to Ladywell station – linked to the nearby Church of St Mary the Virgin.
The path crosses the railway line at the bottom of Malyons Road into the second field where you can find the Lewisham Dutch Elm, one of only a few mature Dutch Elm trees in London and classified as one of London’s ‘Great Trees’.
For the third of the Ladywell Fields the path passes under the railway again to emerge at Catford Bridge Station.
In Catford the path continues from the end of the business park across the road from the station, and the noise of the busy main road is soon lost as you walk alongside the stream.
At this point I continued down the River Pool to Lower Sydenham train station.
You may be interested in
New Developments in Lewisham
Lewisham – A History of South East London Suburbs
Glassmills Leisure Centre
Mills along the Ravensbourne
Facts about the area
The Ravensbourne River Valley – the geography of the river
Rivers of Lewisham on Pinterest – FANTASTIC SOURCE OF OLD PHOTOGRAPHS!
The Church of St Mary the Virgin, Lewisham