Beckenham Place Park is the largest green space in the borough. The park is great for walks and nature spotting, with 60 acres of beautiful ancient woodland, grass meadows and a riverside walk.
MUMMY’S GIN FUND SAYS:
Beckenham Place Park is one of London’s best-kept secrets. It is one of our favourite family places to explore and play. Nestled on the edge of Lewisham and Kent, it gives us a real taste of the countryside on our doorstep and is a quick and easy way to escape the hustle and rebalance ourselves.
The ancient woodland and meadows are beautiful all through the year and the views across the parkland are stunning. There is plenty of room to run and roll around in the meadows, spot squirrels and parakeets in the woods and jump in muddy puddles and streams (dogs and children alike).
Walk through any gate and you are immersed in a magical place. The woodlands are criss-crossed by lots of paths, so you can spend ages just wandering around and having adventures in the bush.
We love: early morning weekend walks around the woods; picnics in the meadow on top of the hill; drinking ‘tea’ in the den (if you can find it); seeing the bluebells in Spring; and enjoying a drink from the cafe overlooking the beautiful parkland.
The restoration should make the park even more lovely and attractive. The park definitely has the opportunity to catch up with others in the region, offering more designated activities for children such as a wooden adventure play area, informal forest-school type activities and clearer den and stepping stone areas.
The plans are not without their controversies however. The oldest public golf course in the country is under threat in favour of an open events space, which the council believe will benefit more people locally. A Save Beckenham 18 campaign [www.facebook.com/SaveBeckenhamPlaceParkGolfCourse] has been launched to prevent its closure.
Regulars might find the wildness may be slightly lost and the beauty of this amazing place changes too. There are calls for better maintenance and upgrading what is there already rather than re-landscaping – not removing the trees making the golf fairways so beautiful.
The old mansion house is also still in need of funding for repair.
The Friends of BPP are inviting views on the proposals. Email their survey [www.beckenhamplaceparkfriends.org.uk/Survey%20FBPP.pdf] to [email protected] and send comments direct to Lewisham Council at [email protected] (October 2015).
Gin mummies, if you love the park, please take a moment to let the Council know what you think.
Address: Beckenham Hill Road, Lewisham, London, BR3 5BP.
Playground: Children’s playground and skate park / BMX ramp on Downham side of park, with a splash pad during the summer. Entrance on Old Bromley Road.
Café: Child-friendly cafe, the Nineteen Bar and Kitchen, in Beckenham Place Park Mansion by the golf course. Indoor and outdoor seating looking over golf course. Wide range of food, including bangers and mash, burgers, cooked breakfasts, panninis and homemade cakes! Kids menu and toys available on request. Fully-licensed bar, including kids hot chocolate with marshmallows and cream.
Take buggies in back entrance.
Open Wednesday to Sunday 8am-4pm.
Also a coffee stall at Ravensbourne station, open weekday mornings.
Toilets: Plenty of trees! Well-maintained toilets in cafe, with sofa for baby changing. Wheelchair users buzz for assistance.
Pram / wheelchair / mobility friendly: Golf course entrance opposite Beckenham Hill station has smooth paths up to mansion and across golf course area. Venturing further into the woods and parkland, slings, all terrain/lightweight buggies and wellies are best. Some of the ornamental gardens are accessible but there are some steps.
Parking: Parking freely available in and around park. Golf course has free carpark, BR3 5BP. Free on street parking around Ravensbourne station entrances on Crab Hill, BR3 5HE (though fairly busy during the week) and Westgate Road (private un-maintained road) BR3 5DT.
Nearest Station: Easy to get to by train. Beckenham Hill station for golf course / cafe entrance. Ravensbourne station for woods and dog walking fields.
Phone: Green Scene on 020 8314 2047 or Friends of Beckenham Place Park on 020 8325 8781.
Email: [email protected].
The formal gardens near the old listed buildings are nice for picnics with babies. The public 18-hole golf course is beautiful to play on or walk through. There are also football pitches, a children’s play area, tennis courts, a cycle track, nature trail and nature reserve areas.
Grade II listed Beckenham Place Park Mansion (built in the late eighteenth century) houses the cafe, bar, visitor centre, golf clubhouse and toilets.
Run by Lewisham Council, the park is free and open to all every day of the week during daylight hours. It makes up part of the South East London Green Chain Walk and the regional Capital Ring.
The park is an important wildlife site. The Friends of Beckenham Place Park arrange events, including walks, sensory garden workdays and litter picking. See the website [www.beckenhamplaceparkfriends.org.uk) or pop into the Friends Visitors Centre in the Mansion on Sundays from 2-4pm.
The nature trail is downloadable here: http://www.beckenhamplaceparkfriends.org.uk/NatureTrailGuide.pdf and here: http://www.beckenhamplaceparkfriends.org.uk/Nature%20Trailprint.pdf
Major restoration plans are being developed for the park and key buildings following the announcement of a £4.9m Park for People funding award from the Heritage Lottery Fund and Big Lottery in 2014. The aim is to restore many heritage features of the park and make it more attractive to a wide range of local and regional visitors. Think boating lake, adventure playground, better pathways and even open air concerts.
Review by Pippa Ranger.