Whilst called a park, this area is actually 300 acres of ancient bluebell woodland, here since around 1200. It started off as part of the original Scadbury House estate, the ruins of which can still be seen, surrounded by a moat. For those with older children on foot, there is a nature trail.
MUMMY’S GIN FUND SAYS:
This is really a little slice of the countryside within London, the dense woodland cuts out all city noise save the occasional plane overhead. It’s a fabulous, natural enviroment for kids and adults alike to splash, climb and get muddy. When I visited it was a lovely spring day, bluebells out in force, the sunshine breaking through the trees with a dappled mysterious glow. We started by parking on the A20 end of Old Perry Street, not realising there was a car park further along and entering through the gate which is visible from Perry Street (A222).
This first took us through a meadow, fabulous for throwing sticks for dogs, then into the Picnic area. We started wandering along the wide, stony paths but soon the call of the wilderness summoned us off road and we went exploring through the central woodland. We discovered all sorts of interesting things including bird boxes, shelters and a stream at the bottom of the valley. Having gotten totally lost in the process, we eventually made our way out of the valley and rejoined the path on the other side of the park which we then followed back to the car park, exiting to stop for refreshments at the Sydney Arms which is obviously a popular watering hole for weary explorers, kid friendly and with good food.
Address: Old Perry Street, Chislehurst, Greater London BR7 6PW.
Cafe: No, but there is a picnic area.
Pram / wheelchair / mobility friendly: Partly, some areas of the site have wide, stony paths which are suitable for rugged buggies / wheelchairs.
Parking: Yes, car parking is available at the Old Perry Street entrance, or off St Paul’s Wood Hill.
Train: St Mary Cray, Chislehurst or Sidcup.
Phone: 01689 862 815.
The Acorn Nature Trail features steps, kissing gates and potentially muddy areas and is a 2.5 mile signposted trek through the wilderness,starting at the Old Perry Street car park. There is a leaflet available to download from the website which features a little history, a map and lots of information about wildlife to look out for which will keep children interested! There is a picnic area a short walk from the car park, great for resting tired legs and refuelling for the journey home. No facilities or playground here, although there are felled tree trunks to climb and play on.
For those who prefer a pint of something chilled and a hot meal, the Sydney Arms is just outside the park, exiting either through the picnic area or car park. Regular events run at the park seem adult focussed and include litter picking days, birdwatching and ODAS (Orpington and District Archaelogical Society) hold an open weekend each September for those interested in having a closer look at the ruins and associated excavations. The park is only closed occasionally for scheduled maintenance the first Thursday and third Saturday of every month.
Review by Lis Dukes.