Part of Wandle Valley Regional Park’s vision is to enhance people’s leisure experience in the midst of the sprawling suburbs of London, by opening their eyes to the wealth of green spaces and open places on their doorstep with a huge range of activities on offer.
It’s well known that The Wandle Trail is a wonderful resource for cyclists and walkers and the River Wandle is a haven for freshwater anglers and nature lovers – but there is so much more to the valley than this, for every age-group.
You can find indoor and outdoor sports, arts and crafts, cinemas and theatres. There’s plenty of opportunity for retail therapy, as well as cafés, restaurants and pubs to refresh you.
Just as a sample, King George’s Park has tennis courts, games pitches, trim trails, three children’s play areas and a bowling green amongst the facilities. Westcroft Leisure Centre is full of leisure opportunities, with a gym, swimming pools and a sports hall for badminton, gymnastics, trampolining, basketball, football, netball and volleyball. There’s a cricket club in Beddington Park.
As well as the Wandle Trail providing ample walking and cycling opportunities there are opportunities to play football, rugby, bowls and tennis in most of the larger parks in the WVRP.
- Why not try horse riding at Deen City Farm
- Try your hand at rifle shooting at the Croydon rifle and pistol club on Mitcham Common
- Enjoy a round of golf at Mitcham golf club
- Go fishing with the Wandle Piscators on the Wandle River
- Go Karting and Quad biking near Mitcham Junction
- Try urban Kyaking on the river – http://canoelondon.com/kayaking-river-wandle/
- Play cricket on Mitcham Cricket Green. Home to Mitcham Cricket Club and reportedly the oldest cricket ground still in use, having been used for cricket since 1685.
- Try your hand at athletics in the Canons, Mitcham, where the gold medallist high jumper Dorothy Tyler trained
Arts and crafts
In the past, at Merton Abbey Mills, the water wheel was use by Liberty’s to rinse the gum off printed silk. It now powers a potter’s wheel and there you can take classes every weekend, no matter what your ability. There’s also a market selling arts and crafts. Honeywood Museum, near Carshalton Ponds, shows the work of local artists as well as putting on craft workshops for children.
Most of the leisure activities in the Wandle Valley are family-friendly but some are reserved specifically for children. In the Wandle Recreation Centre, for example, there’s a 3-storey Adventure Zone with a slide, ball pond and ‘bish bash bags.’ Garratt Park has a children’s centre with a multi-sensory room and opportunities for creative activities. Deen City Farm is an educational resource which offers riding lessons.