With my neighbourhood starting to feel like it’s part of Eastenders, I was grateful to get out to the outskirts of the city yesterday to enjoy some much needed peace and quiet.
Over the last couple of weekends, a number if things have got me questioning, for the first time in nearly five years, whether I should move further out of London, so I can live a more peaceful lifestyle…:
- A week last Friday we were kept awake by what can only be described as a carnival going on behind the flat (slight exaggeration of course…there were two girls whining (and no I don’t mean the grisly kinda whining) and grinding against some guys car whilst he proceeded to deafen the neighborhood with his sound system!)
- Last week we were entertained by an old guy from the flats behind who was pissed off that a maintenance van had parked in front of the dustbin shed. He proceeded to shout at the maintenance man, only to discover that he had locked himself out of his flat and had to ask the maintenance man to borrow his mobile so he could call his wife to let him back in 🤦🏼♀️
- Last weekend we heard a commotion on the street. Doing our neighborhood watch bit (cough) we rushed to the window to see what was going on. Seeing the manager from our local burger joint having a shouting match with a food delivery guy, my boyfriend decided to go running downstairs to see if he could calm things down 🙈 Thankfully he did…
- And that’s without mentioning the fact I’ve spent a good part of this afternoon sitting on my little terrace, listening to the hum of 3 police helicopters a mile from here, hovering over the US Embassy as people continue to protest against the unlawful killing of George Floyd in the USA.
In my recent blog post ‘Life After a Global Pandemic‘ I wrote about my concerns on returning to ‘normal’ and the impact that it may have on our mental health. It seems that with restrictions easing, the impacts of returning to ‘normal’ are already giving me a headache.
It will come as no surprise to you that by the time the weekend arrived, we were ready to get out of the city to explore somewhere slightly more tranquil.
I hadn’t been anywhere new lately, partly due to Covid and partly having run out of inspiration on new places in and around London to explore. Not wanting to go too far, we decided on Wimbledon Common. Despite having driven passed it hundreds of times, neither me or my boyfriend had ever been. So we packed up some snacks and the suncream and headed West.
Wimbledon Common sits just off the busy A3 which connects Portsmouth and London. Perhaps better known for The Wombles, Wimbledon Common sits between Kingston upon Thames, Putney and Wimbledon, The Common is also a Site of Special Scientific Interest (SSSI).
Due to the Covid crisis, it’s car parks are currently closed, so we parked up on a housing estate just off the A3 in Kingston Vale.
Wimbledon and Putney Common, also known as The Commons, consists of 1140 acres of open space which is made up of Wimbledon Common, Putney Heath, Putney Lower Common and the Richardson Evans Memorial Playing Fields.
We entered The Commons by the Commons Extension, which is a beautiful open space, with a beautiful line of trees blocking out the noise of the A3. I was surprised at how empty the space was considering the parks close to home have been packed for the past few weekends! Here, there was hardly a sole in sight.
We had heard that there was a woodland walk behind the extension on the edge of The Common, so we walked towards its southern tip and found a small entrance behind Colliers Wood Football Ground, which took us over a little footbridge into Fishpond Wood.
The little bridge took us over Beverley Brook which runs down the east side of the Common. We decided to head north and to follow the footpath by the Brook.
It was such a beautifully warm day, the woodland canopy gave us a nice bit of respite from the sun. Despite the tree cover it was still lovely and warm underneath the trees.
My boyfriend is a proper city boy and hasn’t really spent much time in the Great British countryside, but even he’s starting to get excited about our weekend trips to the countryside. He loved the naturalness of the woodland and the fact it looks untouched by humans. It was teeming with wildlife, and we saw the most beautiful vibrant dragonflies, as well as birds, ducks and squirrels, although sadly my iphone isn’t quite good enough to have picked any of them up on camera.
Although there was a steady stream of people (and their dogs!) on the walk, we managed to maintain a reasonable amount of social distancing, although we seemed to be the only people wearing our face masks.
Once we reached the top end of the brook, we headed out into the beaming sunshine, and made our way back the hustle and bustle of the city.
It was lovely to get away from the busy streets of South West London to the peace and quiet of The Commons for a couple of hours.
The houses located within 3/4’s of a mile of the edge of The Commons pay a yearly levy which raises just over £1 million a year in order to fund and maintain the SSSI, and this clearly shows throughout the woodland. Perhaps the maintenance of the area also has something to do with The Wombles who’s moto was ‘Make Good Use of Bad Rubbish’. It really was quite noticeable how little litter there was, especially in and around the brook.
There were no other visible signs of Great Uncle Bulagria and the rest of The Wombles, but its safe to say we will definitely return soon to explore more of The Commons to see if we can catch a glimpse of the famous furry creatures.