Sunday, 25 January 2009

A Wander on the Wandle

Fierce weather forecasts this weekend probably explain why Annie Lynn's expedition into south London only had five ramblers. As often happens, the promised (threatened?) rain never really materialised.

Signs at Waddon station showed they supported walkers...

And tantalised us... How bad was Waddon before?

The walk followed the River Wandle along good paths. The Wandle has a long industrial history, the strong-running river powering water wheels for grinding flour, snuff and gunpowder. Examples of the industrial history crop up all along the trail.

Walking past the edge of the nature reserve a few of us were lucky enough to see an Egret. This was a personal first for me. Unfortunately I was not quick enough on the draw to photograph it! These Parakeets were with us all day, and obligingly stayed put.

The Wandle trail had some ingenious ways of slowing down cyclists. This version of a kissing gate keeps the water-wheel theme of the Wandle logo, with a helical path..

An opportune pause for a group photo...

From left to right, Angela, Michael, Katherine and Barbara. Annie is pathfinding at the rear.

Nearing the end of the walk lay the former grounds of Merton Abbey. The great socialist artist William Morris took over a printing press by the river here in 1881.

This waterwheel is just downstream from the site of Morris' printing press.

Morris named a wallpaper after the river...

Morris' Wandle chintz.

As Morris wrote to his daughter in 1883, ‘the wet Wandle is not big but small’ and that he would make the wallpaper ‘very elaborate and splendid … to honour our helpful stream’.

It's fitting to sum up the walk in Morris' own words... "The buildings are not so bad... The water is abundant and good... The place itself is even very pretty"...

Though he obviously hadn't seen this handsome property, on a riverside allotment!


  1. I enjoyed my first experience of a blog! And commented in petto that you should never trust the weather forecast and go out when you feel like it!


  2. Many Thanks Annie.

    And I learned a new phrase, "In Petto". Excellent!

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