*Weekend walks* Join us on a fascinating short walk from Carshalton to Morden Hall taking in Ravensbury Park and the charming Watermeads Nature Reserve, land saved and protected thanks to National Trust founder Octavia Hill and her sister Miranda.
It takes about an hour and a quarter to reach Morden Hall from Carshalton, and you can easily get a 157 bus back to the village. The Wandle Trail is marked and you just need to follow the river.Claim this banner space for your business
Start at Carshalton Park and the source of the Wandle
In wet weather this usually-empty canal fills up with water, which flows from a hidden spring under the Grotto.
Walk from here to take a look at the picturesque Carshalton Ponds and then go through The Grove park and take the footpath between Mill Lane and the river.
A short detour to Wilderness Island
Take a small detour around Wilderness Island if you wish (there’s only one bridge on and off the island). The area is maintained by the London Wildlife Trust.
Leave the way you came in and continue your walk via Hackbridge.
Stone memorial bench at Watermeads Nature Reserve
You’ve now reached Watermeads or ‘water meadows’ which is in the London Borough of Merton. It had been left derelict for over 100 years, before being renovated and opened to the public in 2015.
The wetlands contain a stone bench dedicated to social reformer Miranda Hill – she was a local school teacher and created the influential Kyrle Society. Her sister Octavia Hill was the Treasurer. Octavia was the person to first coin the phrase ‘Green Belt’ back in 1875.
The bench, pictured close-up at the top of this page, reads: “This seat is placed on land part of which was given in memory of Miranda Hill by some of her grateful and affectionate pupils. Born January 1st 1836 – Died May 31st 1910”. The bench overlooks Paper Mill Cut, one of the many channels used for milling before the land was acquired by the national trust in 1913.
Spot the old mill buildings.
Watermeads was a trout stream in the middle ages. In the 19th century, there were 4 mills here, and in the 1930s, the area was planted with cricket bat willows.
There’s a fantastic array of fish that have been found in the river recently, the most common being chub, dace, brown trout, roach, gudgeon, stickleback, barbel, and rudd. Other fish that are less common are bullhead, common carp, mirror carp, stone loach, eel, tench, grayling, perch and minnow (source: The Wandle Piscators). Considering how polluted the Wandle had become, this is an amazing achievement.
Riverside walk at Ravensbury Park
There were various large houses on this site, dating back to at least the C13th. You can walk through the old gardens, and some trees are up to 200 years old.
The Wandle has been a hugely industrial river and you can see these old millstones, once used at nearby Ravensbury Mill.
End your walk at the historic Morden Hall and Park
The final part of the walk brings you to the edge of the National Trust’s Morden Hall Park. A beautiful collection of water canals, stables, gardens and old mills.
At the heart is Morden Hall itself, once the grand home of Gilliat Edward Hatfeild. It was operating as a war hospital when it was donated to the national trust in 1941. Now it’s a wedding venue.
Finish with a wander around the garden centre and a hot drink at one of the cafes. Take the car park gate and turn left towards the roundabout to catch the 157 back.
That’s where our short walk ends. You can continue this walk towards Wandsworth. Did you know that all the walks on this website have been walked by Secret Carshalton, and feature exclusive photos and insight? If you enjoyed this please comment below.
£1.50 – Download an optional A4 printable route map with the locations above marked.
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