Mountsfield Park is one of the largest open spaces in Lewisham with a really interesting and chequered history. Did you know Charlton FC played on the site for a period, or that it was once the grounds of a house belonging to famous Victorian entomologist Henry Tibbets Stainton?
Because of its size it is also home to Lewisham People’s Day, which attracts audiences of around 30,000 people in July each year. The park is well known for its beautiful views across to Hilly Fields, Brockley, Canary Wharf, Docklands, and Crystal Palace, and is popular with local joggers and dog walkers.
MUMMY’S GIN FUND SAYS:
Mountsfield Park tends to be a bit overlooked in favour of other local parks but it really is beautiful and there’s loads to do. It’s very popular with people who live close by. Recent renovations of the playground and the Community Garden have helped to make this park a great place for families, and plans for a new cafe and toilet facilities will make it even better. Highlights for me are the opportunities it gives my kids to play in the trees, pick blackberries in the Autumn, and search for stag beetles (by Maria Conyard).
Mountsfield Park is often overlooked in favour of other nearby parks with an onsite cafe. But if you can embrace the humble thermos flask, this park has something for everyone. The large play area is split into two main zones; the toddler area is a giant sand pit, and there is an adjacent area for older children too with the usual slide and climbing apparatus. The actual park itself is vast and peaceful, a haven of calm in the centre of crowded Lewisham. It seems to swallow people up and rarely feels crowded. Wisteria in the gardens looks gorgeous in the spring, and the paths are wide enough to do a lap side-by-side with a friend. It’s worth saying though, that this park has had significant problems with litter in the past few years. Sometimes it’s foxes, but sometimes it’s after local late night partying and it takes the council a while to come and deal with it all. The lack of permanent cafe is also on the radar of local people, and somewhere out there on the internet there is a petition, but for the meantime most people walk around the corner to the Cafe of Good Hope, which does a lovely coffee. This park is host to the Hither Green Festival once a year, with food trucks, live music and craft stalls, and it’s a fantastic setting for it (by Esther Smith).
Address: Stainton Road, SE6 1AN.
Entrances on Stainton Road, George Lane, Brownhill Road, and Carswell Road.
Website: www.lewisham.gov.uk/inmyarea/openspaces/parks/Pages/mountsfield-park.aspx – main listing on Lewisham Council site
Follow the Friends of Mountsfield Park park users group (FOMP) for up to date information and events. The website is https://mountsfieldpark.wordpress.com, or you can follow them on Facebook – www.facebook.com/Friendsofmountsfieldpark or Twitter – @mountsfieldpark.
Playground: Oh yes! A major renovation in 2015 means that Mountsfield Park has one of the best playgrounds in Lewisham.
Cafe: Sammy T’s is a container cafe run by ForJimmy (the new name for the Jimmy Mizen Foundation). Opening hours can be a little sporadic but there was a commitment to open the cafe 7 days a week over the summer holidays.
Toilets: Toilets (also built in old shipping containers) are generally open when the cafe is open.
Pram / wheelchair / mobility friendly: Yes, access is good across the park.
Parking: Permit free parking is available on Stainton Road but it gets quite busy. There are pay and display areas on some local streets if you look carefully.
Hither Green is the nearest station but it’s also within walking distance of the Catford stations. It’s also served by lots of local bus routes – it’s walkable from bus stops on Lewisham High Street / Rushey Green, Brownhill Road, and Hither Green Lane for example.
Phone: 020 8318 3986 (Glendale, who manage the park for Lewisham Council).
Email: You can email FOMP at [email protected].
– Sports facilities in the park include full sized football pitches, basketball and tennis courts, and a table tennis table.
– The newly renovated playground is large and is suitable for different ages groups with large and small climbing equipment, a zip wire, and sand play. There’s also plenty of space for parents to sit within the fenced off playground area.
– There are some beautiful short walks and wilderness areas in the park and lots of wildlife including stag beetles, and lots of birds!
– With large expanses of open grassland and a historic bandstand, it’s a great place for a picnic.
– Mountsfield Park has its very own Community Garden which is looked after by FOMP and absolutely worth visiting. There are plenty of volunteering opportunities, and keep an eye out for family and children’s gardening sessions too!
– FOMP runs regular events and it’s a good idea to keep an eye on their website (or join their mailing list) for details. This includes an annual Christmas celebration, and end of Summer picnic. The pizza oven and BBQ in the community garden help to make sure that food/drink at their events is great!
Review by Maria Conyard.