Dave Sergeant

The River Wandle flows from two sources at Carshalton and near Croydon towards the Thames at Wandsworth. The Wandle Trail, or Wandle Valley Trail, follows it most of the way. I followed the guide available here, although it was quite small and confusing when printed so I added my own Open Street Map printouts. As it is a 12 mile walk I split it at Mitcham Junction

Part 1 - July 18th 2023

I started the walk at East Croydon station then a longish walk through Croydon to reach the official start point. I got a bit disorientated around here as street signs seemed absent from the town centre and it took me a while. With a bit of research I could have just jumped on a tram to take me directly there.

The walk starts in Wandle Park with the river seen for the first time. But after an initial glimpes the river promptly dives underground again.

After a bit of street walking and crossing the busy A23 Purley Way Waddon Park is reached. The river is still underground but the water from these large ponds feed into it, another source. These were originally part of a large estate but the mill and grand house are long since gone.

Now a pleasant walk on a wooded path with the river somewhere to the right. The trail is marked by signs but these are few and far between. This one is the first I saw.

The river now in full flow as I passed the old Beddington Mill (now flats).

A nice little waterfall as I approached Beddington Park.

Beddington Park and the adjacent Beddington Farmlands is huge with the river very much a part of it. Once part of the estate of Carew Manor, now a school. The walk leaves the river for a while in the park - I tried to follow it through the woods but it soon became impassible.The large lake dominates the middle, though this is separate from the river.

A couple of bridges, I crossed the long one to reach the other side as I followed the river out of the park.

The river widens to a lake then flows under the A327. The walk leaves the river for a while along urban streets. I should have now headed for the second source at Carshalton Ponds but there were no signs and I missed it.

I pick up the Wandle again alongside Wilderness Island, a public park. Somewhere inside here the two branches of the Wandle join but I did not venture into the park to see.

Now a quite long and pleasant walk along the river. Eventually I reached Goat Road and ended today's walk. I left the river and a short walk along Goat Road and the A237 brought me to Mitcham Junction station.

From there I caught the train to Victoria and had a pleasant lunch in the Shakespeare outside. Then back to Waterloo on the tube. I had intended to see the special exhibition there celebrating the station's 175th anniversary but found it had already closed so back on the train to home.

Part 2 - July 26th 2023

The aim was to complete the Wandle right up to the Thames but I didn't quite manage that. I made my way to Mitcham Junction station where I had finished last week and even found a bit of countryside along the busy roads to the starting point.

The Wandle is soon reached at the bridge over Goat Road and the path continues along the wooded Poulter Park.

Soon Watermeads Nature Reserve is reached, one of the first properties purchased by the National Trust and after recent rennovation is now open to the public. The Wandle trail follows the large lake.

Another view at the lake. At the top end there is a spectacular waterfall.

After the nature reserve the trail follows the river as it flows through Ravensbury Park. At this bridge, with a large 70 on it whose meaning I didn't understand, the river divides. I took the wrong branch and ended up in a housing estate and had to ask for guidance to point me the right way. Special signs or whatever, actual Wandle Trail waymarks were conspicuous by their absence.

Leaving Ravensbury Park there is a short but not unpleasant walk along Morden Road and Morden Hall Park is entered.

Morden Hall Park is a large National Trust estate and the Wandle flows through it as several branches. I had a pleasant time wandering through it and it was fairly busy during the school holidays.

Another view of the Wandle before leaving the Park. The tram line is crossed then the river is picked up again.

A long path first through a busy car park and narrow access road then quiet woodland along the river.

Approaching Coliers Wood is a large water mill. At the main road through Colliers Road I again got confused but eventually managed to find my way across the high street and into Wandle Park.

Through Wandle Park and then a few urban streets to reach the Wandle again where I was given very helpful suggestions by a passing couple to guide me on my way.

After some paths across open country I reached the somewhat hidden underpass under the railway. Then the Wandle flows past the Havelock allotments.

Now the trail starts to become more industrialised, passing Wimbledon substation and more factory buildings. Earlsfield is reached and the trail passes right past the railway station. Being 1pm I felt the need for a break so decided to finish my day's walk there and took the train back to Clapham Junction. A nice meal in the Wetherspoons then the train back home. Still a couple of miles to finish the whole trail, that is for another day.

Part 3 - August 9th 2023

From Earlsfield station the Wandle trail initially follows suburban streets. It crosses the river at a bridge nearby but more streets followed for a while.

I misread my map and for a while wrongly walked along the busy Merton road but soon realised where I had gone wrong and reached the river again as it flows through King George's Park, a pleasant area.

The brook is mainly hidden by vegetation but can be seen from several bridges along the way. Open playing fields form the main part of the park.

Another view of the river, now quite wide. Then an interesting information board gives some of the park's history. It formed a large housing estate of prefabs in the post war years and I learnt about one of its inhabitants, the Allens, and post war life.

Towards the top of the park is a large lake, not linked to the river, but I soon reach the busy centre of Wandsworth and the river approaches the Thames.

Two views of the Wandle as it flows into the Thames. From here I began the second walk of the day along the Thames to Battersea Power station which you can read about here.

Back to London Loop