Named after Chin Brook, otherwise known as the River Quaggy, Chinbrook Meadows is on the border of Bromley and Lewisham, behind Grove Park station. It was given a £1.1million renovation in 2002 and has since won the Green Flag Award in two years in a row. Despite being only around half a mile long, the park boasts two playgrounds; one for toddlers, and a larger one for toddlers and older children complete with large sandpit.
The park is mostly made up of well maintained, short grass which makes it ideal for trainee cyclists and frisbee fans. It is well equipped for sports lovers with a ball court, bowling green, cycle route, football pitch and tennis court. The Chin Brook runs through the centre of the park and can be paddled in at several points. There are several bridges and boardwalks which are crying out for pooh-sticks and fish spotting.
MUMMY’S GIN FUND SAYS:
Chinbrook Meadows is an ideal choice for anyone wanting a flat, open space for bike practice. There are also a couple of great spots for ‘fishing’ in the stream. You’ll need crocs or similar though, the bottom of the brook is pretty pebbly and sharp. The best place to get in the water is to the right of the first bridge when you enter the park from the main entrance. There’s a natural opening and the water is just the right depth – around ankle height. We actually caught loads of stuff, much to the delight of the kids and adults.
If you can bend low enough, you can get under the bridge and paddle through the undergrowth for a few meters. Apparently, this was ‘as exciting as going on safari’, according to my five-year-old. The toilets are clean and open whilst the park is open. The cafe is really just a portacabin with a few plastic seats outside but the staff are friendly and they serve hot and cold drinks and snacks. They always have a gathering of regular dog-walking punters outside so they must be doing something right. The toddler park is small and contains all the usual suspects when it comes to entertaining a small person. The larger playground at the back of the park (the furthest point from the main entrance) is great for toddlers upwards.
My seven-year-old has a great time with friends and loves it as much as the two-year-old. There is a large sandpit and some larger wooden climbing frames for the older ones. It’s one of my favourite playgrounds in the area but I’m biased, my youngest took his first steps at the bottom of the slide there! The park is the perfect size for letting older kids cycle off around the lap by themselves as they are not out of view for more than a few seconds. This makes it deal for entertaining groups of children of mixed ages. There is a football pitch, basketball court and tennis court and loads of open space for picnics and kick-abouts. Quieter than the more popular parks in the area, Chinbrook is ideal for some good, outdoor, sporty fun.
Address: Amblecote Road, London SE12.
Playground: Yes, two in fact. One is a toddler sized one and is great for letting the littlest ones climb and swing whilst you sip your tea from the cafe next door (use the Amblecote Road entrance). There is also a much bigger play area at the Mayeswood Road entrance (only 5-8 mins walk from each other). This has a lovely big toddler play area with swings, climbing frame etc nestled next to a big sister version featuring a death slide, tyre swing, bigger slide and climbing frame and other child friendly stuff. There is also a large (and very clean) sand pit which houses a spider web and other things my 5-10 year olds love.
Cafe: There is a tea hut with seating outside serving hot drinks, ice-creams and snacks. Equally popular with dog walkers and pram pushers, your refreshments are always served with a smile.
Toilets: Yes, near the Amblecote Road entrance. No baby change.
Pram / wheelchair / mobility friendly: Yes, wide smooth paths all around the park.
Parking: Yes, free car park at the park but it gets locked so check the signs when parking there. There is some free parking on the nearby streets (try Luffman Road if you want the cafe / brook to paddle in / toddler playground or Mayeswood Road if you want the older kids’s playground).
Train: Grove Park.
Bus: Wikipedia says: ‘There are bus stops by the northern entrance on Chinbrook Road which London Buses 124, 126, 273 and school bus 638 serve. Grove Park centre is less than half a mile to the west of this entrance and is also served by these buses plus four more, 136, 181, 261 and night bus N136 as well as Grove Park railway station and the A2212 road. The 284 bus serves Chinbrook which is a similar distance east from the same entrance’.
Phone: 020 8318 3986.
Email: [email protected].
The public footpath running through the meadows forms part of the South East London Green Chain Walk and the regional Capital Ring. There is a small onsite car park and some surrounding streets have free parking. There is cafe serving drinks and snacks and public toilets.
Review by Helen Hamston