Thursday 7 September 2023

Green London: Riverview Walk & River Pool Linear Park

You can walk for miles beside a river surrounded by nature and still be in London. Riverview Walk and River Pool Linear Park are part of Waterlink Way, which runs through South East London to the Thames following the Pool and then the Ravensbourne rivers. It's one of city's hidden gems. I took these pictures when I walked the section to Ladywell. 

Although I was aware of Riverview Walk because I'd seen it behind a big local Sainsbury's and trains I sometimes use run beside part of it, I'll admit the first time I walked the route was this summer. I'd been missing out on a wonderful experience. 

I had no idea quite how lovely this waterside green space was or how far it stretched. What's more, although most of the walk is behind rather scummy buildings and parallel to a busy road, you rarely see them when you're next to the river. That's thanks to carefully planted trees and shrubs along the bank and paths through stretches of wild flower grassland. 

When you do cross roads or go under bridges, the water's still close and you can catch glimpses of it beyond railings. There are a few other clues that you're in the city rather than the countryside. For a start the walk's well signposted. I'm not complaining about that. While aimless wandering and getting lost can be part of the psychogeographer's toolkit, sometimes I prefer to know where I'm going. There's also street art on many of the walled bits. I happen to love well executed street art and that's probably good as I live in SE20, which is famous for it

Litter is a less welcome sign that the Pool and Ravensbourne flow through urban parks, but from posters along the way I learnt that a lot is done to keep the rivers clean and restore nearby ponds. You can find out more on the Friends of River Pool Facebook group.

Two things prompted me to put on my walking shoes and follow the river. Firstly, I've been blogging regularly about London's green spaces in an effort to dispel a prevalent myth in the pagan community that the city is just all concrete. Secondly, I'm taking part in The Silversnake Project, run by Phil Smith of Plymouth University. This is a research study that has really caught my interest. It offers a book of eco-gothic literature with the same name and a toolkit of actions inspired by the tales aimed to intensify readers' relationships with their environment. Rivers are a theme throughout the stories and the first prompt is to "take a walk to follow the waters close to where you live". 

I'm grateful for the project and prompt to help me discover something new and beautiful about my home city of London. You can find details of Riverview Walk and River Pool Linear Park, including a map, here. Waterlink Way continues to the Thames and I'm intending to walk the rest of the route soon.

The Silversnake Project book is published by Triarchy Press and there's still time to read it and try the prompts. I'll be trying out more of the suggested actions and blogging about them as well. Phil Smith previously wrote On Walking and Living in the Magical Mode. (Please note I earn commission from some links)

Previous related posts

No comments: