The Ravensbourne River no.4, Bromley South Station to Caesar’s Well

Finally, the time to walk the last section of the Ravensbourne River! The BBC Weather promised a fine day and we set off from the bus stop outside Bromley South Station. I couldn’t find a map on the internet and we used the A to Z during a tricky few hours, with no signposts,  intermittent rain, and a lot of mud – not at all what was promised. However, this is definitely a walk to be repeated in the summer.

Setting off from Bromley South Station

Setting off from Bromley South Station

We walked down Hayes Road where the river was hidden behind the houses.

At Hayes Lane we set off across Bromley CommonThere is no designated ‘Ravensbourne Path’, which is a pity, so you have to find your own path across the Common. Around the Nuffield Health Centre, and Bromley FC and Bromley Town Cricket Club the river runs in an untidy ditch.

Bromley Cricket Club

There was no way through Fishers Wood and so we followed a very muddy lane, passing lots of stables, horses, and ponies – a country scene not far away from the hustle of Christmas shopping in Bromley town centre!

Bromley Common

Bromley Common

Bromley Common

Bromley Common

We crossed the Norman Park Recreation Ground and slithered into Scrogginhall Wood – what an odd name.

Norman Park Recreation Ground

Norman Park Recreation Ground

The Ravensbourne in Norman Park Recreation Ground

The Ravensbourne in Norman Park Recreation Ground

The Ravensbourne in Scrogginhall Wood

The Ravensbourne in Scrogginhall Wood

The Ravensbourne in Scrogginhall Wood

This building, seen through the trees, looked like a pumping station, and perhaps it was. It is alongside a small lake which was not accessible and which was created by diverting the Ravensbourne in c.1750 in the grounds of The Rookery, the family home of the Norman family.

Pumping station?

Pumping station?

Scrogginhall Wood

Scrogginhall Wood

We had a brief look over open ground, and then plunged into Brook Wood and more slippery, muddy paths, followed by Mazzards Wood and Barnet Wood. A ‘mazzard’ is a local word for a kind of wild cherry, says the excellent Edith.

The beginning of Brook Wood

The beginning of Brook Wood

Heading for Barnet Wood

Heading for Barnet Wood

Slithering along the farm track towards Barnet Wood

Slithering along the farm track towards Barnet Wood

The Ravensbourne, hidden in Barnet Woods

The Ravensbourne, hidden in Barnet Woods

Barnet Woods

Barnet Woods

Finally we were in Padmall Woodan ‘..ancient coppiced woodland..’ where there used to be a mill and which was privately owned until 1989. There are sweet chestnuts here and apparently evidence of charcoal hearths. Darwin used the area for some of his research.

Duckboards in Padmall Woods

The Ravensbourne in Padmall Woods

The Ravensbourne in Padmall Woods

The Ravensbourne Open Space was land which belonged to Ravensbourne Lodge and which is now protected, with some housing development.

Ravensbourne Lodge and lake

Ravensbourne Lodge and lake

Noticeboard in the woods

Noticeboard in the woods

Keston and Hayes Commons are very old areas, apparently with evidence of habitation at least 3,000 BC – extraordinary. However, the two large Keston Ponds were dug in the 19C to supply water to Holwood HouseJohn Ward’s home.

The lower Keston Pond

The lower Keston Pond

Keston Ponds

Keston Ponds

The source of the Ravensbourne River – Caesar’s Well.

Caesar's Well

Caesar’s Well

You may be interested in
London’s Lost Rivers – excellent post and book
Norman Park & Hayes
Bromley Common – the excellent Edith’s Streets
The history of Hayes
The history of the Bromley area
Tony Roberts – excellent website with lots of walks and very good maps!
Naturally – super photographs & information about SE London & surrounds
The history of the last section – Padmall Woods & Keston