|A Wandle Heritage Walk
Route & what to see
A 4 mile walk between Mitcham and Phipps Bridge Tramstops following the River Wandle through Morden & Merton. It is possible to join the route from Colliers Wood tube station (Northern line) but in this case it will be necessary to travel by tram from Phipps Bridge to Mitcham as the route is not circular (instructions below).
From Mitcham Tramstop take
the path towards the main road
To the right across the track is the building which used to be Mitcham Station. The road to the left Tramway Path marks the route of the Surrey Iron Railway laid in 1801-3 for horse-drawn wagons.
Cross London Road at the
lights and go left. Just beyond Rawnsley Avenue join the Wandle
Trail going through Ravensbury Park.
The Ravensbury Park estate was broken up in 1929. Much of it was developed for housing but the present park was purchased by the local councils. There is a Cedar of Lebanon, some swamp cypresses and large London Plane trees which are probably over 200 years old.
Cross the bridge and go
left, keeping the river on the left. At the millstones feature
cross the bridge to the right and take the path to the left.
At the end is a former mill race
Exit park into Morden Road
To the left is Ravensbury Mill which produced tobacco and snuff until 1926 and was one of the last working mills on the Wandle (1960s). The present buildings date to the 18th century and 1804 but there has been a mill here since the 1680s.
Go to the right along Morden
Road crossing at the lights. Go into Morden Hall Park on the left
just before the Surrey Arms.
The Morden Hall estate was sucessively held by the Garth and Hatfeild families for over four centuries. It was bequeathed to the National Trust by G E Hatfeild who died in 1941.
Take the left fork then
follow the riverside path to the left (not avenue ahead).
Continue through the rose garden.
This was laid out in 1921 but a replanting programme was started in the 1990s.
Go through two gates to the
Morden Cottage has an 18th century Gothick facade. Beyond are the former snuff mills and kilns. The east mill is 18th century and the west mill was added c1830. They were in use until 1922.
Continue on the path ahead
To the left is the Snuff Mill Centre, Mill Cottage (former home of the works foreman) and Bothy (used by estate workers). On the right is the stable block with a trout weathervane. This houses exhibitions, seasonal cafe, toliets and bookshop.
Cross the river to the left.
Go past the workshops and through the arch on the left
There is a dairy building to the right. Beyond the arch is a garden centre and shop to the left and a cafe to the right. The car park occupies the site of the walled kitchen garden.
Return to the stable block and go to the
left just past this (signposted Deen City Farm etc).
Morden Hall was built in the 1750s and was the Garth family home until 1787. It served as a school from 1830-1873. The last private owner, a bachelor, moved into Morden Cottage and during WWI the Hall was used as a convalescent home. It was subsequently used by the council as offices before becoming a restaurant in 1996.
Take the new (2016) Boardwalk through the wetlands area.
Go right and cross tramway
with care. After a short distance cross the bridge to the right.
This is Bunce's Meadow, an area once used for bleaching cloth. Deen City Farm is to the left further along.
At the farm entrance
continue along the roadway ahead (signposted Merton Abbey Mills).
Cross Windsor Avenue and continue ahead.
At the end of the path is the Paul Bowness Memorial Garden and an information board about Merton Priory. There is also a view of the show house (this is part of the Merton Abbey Mills complex which will be seen later).
Cross at the lights and go
through the arch opposite.
A plaque gives more information. This was the site of Merton Abbey Station.
Go to the right then rejoin
the Wandle Trail to the left
William Morris had his works on the site now occupied by Sainsburys and M&S.
From Colliers Wood Station go south along the High Street Take Wandle Bank to the right.
Cross the main road at the
lights and go to the right. Take Wandle Bank to the left.
The houses of Wandle Terrace were rebuilt in 1977. Further along is a view of the former Connellys Leather Works, now flats. This was built as a flour mill by John Rennie in 1789.
Take the bridge to the right
into Wandle Park.
The 10 acre estate of Wandle Bank house was purchased in 1907 to become a public park. The house survived until 1962.
Bear right to the marble
This commemorates Harry Pollard Ashby (1809-1892) and Robert Bloomfield Fenwick (1835-1897) both residents of Wandle Park.
Take the path across the
bridge then to the right
At the end is another drinking fountain of 1907.
Exit the park and cross at
the lights then go to the right. Opposite the former Five Bells
pub go into the retail park to the left.
The Pickle Ditch flows alongside this.
Keeping the river on the
left take the path going out of the retail park
There are views of priory wall remains across the river.
Cross the bridge to the left
and continue along the riverside path. Go through the Sainsbury
store continuing ahead through the car park. Go through the
subway opposite (signposted Merton Abbey Mills)
Remains of the chapter house have been preserved here.
Bear right through the car
park across to the mills entrance
This complex produced cloth 1724-1981 including Liberty fabrics around the turn of the century. The buildings are as follows: Apprentice shop 1926 (shops), Coles Shop 1890 (cafe & shops), Colour House 18thc (theatre), Wheel House 18thc (restored Victorian wheel) , Show House 1912, Long Shop (market), 1929 Shop (shops), Block Shop 1925 (pub). There are information boards.
Cross the river by the
bridge alongside the William Morris pub and go left. Return to
the farm then cross the bridge to the left and go right along
Phipps Bridge Road, keeping to the path alongside the wall
Everetts Place, millworkers cottages of 1824, are supported by a mock ruin folly, probably constructed with priory stone. Wandle Villa was built in 1788 and has a castellated lodge of 1824. These are all owned by the National Trust but privately occupied.
Just beyond number 174 go to the right to Phipps Bridge Tramstop
River Wandle Companion by Bob Steel [webpage]
The Wandle Trail (PDF map) [click here]
An Hour Passed at Mitcham Grove/ Ravensbury Park / Morden Hall / Merton Abbey
Historic River Wandle Mills in Pictures
Merton old photos [website]
Merton Priory - Museum of London publication
William Morris at Merton - Museum of London publication
Wandle Valley Regional Park [website]
Wandle Industrial Museum [website]
Merton Priory [website]
Photobox album [webpage]
© london-footprints.co.uk 2017
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