The Green Chain - Walk 4
Beckenham Place Park to Nunhead Cemetery
Today was my last stroll around the Green Chain and completes all 11 sections of the walk, which can only mean one thing, as this is a Walk London route there is a lovely certificate you can download and pop in your trophy cabinet. So starting off at Beckenham Place Park, section 10 finishes in Crystal Palace. Highlights include Cator Park which was once part of the Cator Estate, owned by the Cator family from the late 18th century. The are which is now the public park, since 1931, was a private pleasure ground for the private use of the residents of the estate, for an annual fee.
Through the park runs the River Pool, a lesser known London river, which is a tributary of the River Ravensbourne. The 5.1km (3 miles) river rises between Shirley and West Wickham, both in Croydon, and joins the Ravensbourne in Catford. In 2009, former London Mayor Boris Johnson fell into the River Pool whilst promoting volunteering to clean up the river.
he section ends in Crystal Palace Park which was home to 'The Crystal Palace' resited here after the 1851 Great Exhibition but was destroyed by fire in 1936. The park also boasts full scale models of dinosaurs, a maze, lakes and a concert bowl.
Section 11 heads from Crystal Palace Park and finishes Nunhead Cemetery, with a quick there and back to Dulwich Park. Things to look out for in the section include Sydenham Wells Park, which opened in 1901 and is named after the medicinal springs which were found in Sydenham in the 17th century.
Along the Dulwich Park Link, you will find Dulwich Park a 30.85 hectare (76.2 acre) park which was created by the Metropolitan Board of Works from former farmland and meadows. The park was opened in 1890 and in 2004-2006, following a grant from the Heritage Lottery Fund, it was restored to its original Victorian layout.
Back on the main route and you pass by the Horniman Museum & Gardens which was commissioned in 1898, opened in 1901 and designed by Charles Harrison Townsend in the Arts and Crafts style. The museum was founded by Frederick John Horniman who had inherited the Horniman's Tea business and allowed him to travel extensively and collect some 30,000 items ranging from natural history, cultural artefacts and musical instruments.
At the end of the walk you pass through three cemeteries - Camberwell Old, Camberwell New and Nunhead. Camberwell Old Cemetery opened in 1856 and over 30,000 burials took place over in the subsequent 30 years. It was expanded in 1874 and by 1984 300,000 interments had been carried out. In order to provide more space Camberwell New Cemetery opened in 1927 and is home to Honor Oak Crematorium which was designed by Aston Webb and comepleted in 1939. It is notable for it's beautiful stained glass window. Originally known as All Saints' Cemetery, Nunhead Cemetery is the second largest of the Magnificent Seven cemeteries and has views across London which includes St. Paul's Cathedral. Consecrated in 1840, with an Anglican chapel designed by Thomas Little, the first burial was Charles Abbott (a 101-year-old Ipswich grocer) but by the mid 20th century the cemetery was nearly full. It is now a Local Nature Reserve and Site of Metropolitan Importance for wildlife, populated with songbirds, woodpeckers and tawny owls, and after a period of closure it reopened in 2001 after an extensive restoration project funded by Southwark Council and the Heritage Lottery Fund.
Distance: 12 miles.