Walking is a wonderful leisure pursuit – free, eco-friendly and a simple way to be more active, lose weight and become healthier. It’s known to improve your mood, reduce stress and combat depression.
We’re lucky enough to have The Wandle Trail in our valley – 14 miles long, passing through four boroughs, linking parks and green spaces and two National Trust properties.
It was created in 1988, by the Wandle Group and the Wandle Industrial Museum. The Wandle Trail Map and Guide was compiled in 1996, full of interesting places to visit along the way, such as Morden Hall Park, a National Trust property with renovated snuff mill and a tranquil rose garden.
The Wandle Art Trail adds interest with a series of beautifully-crafted entrances, gateways and bridges.
There are cafés, pubs and restaurants on the way — and plenty of places to picnic while you soak up the natural beauty and observe the huge variety of flora and fauna.
In the footsteps of Nelson
In the Borough of Merton, The Nelson Trail has several sites to visit, which give a glimpse of Admiral Lord Nelson’s life when he wasn’t at sea. He loved the peace and quiet of the area, calling it, ‘Dear, dear Merton.’ In the early 1800s, he lived at Merton Place with both his lover, Emma Hamilton, and her husband, his status as a national hero protecting his reputation from the scandal.
Poulter Park and the Big Green Fund
Most of The Wandle Trail is accessible for cyclists as well as walkers but sometimes the paths diverge, allowing people on foot to explore wilder places. In Poulter Park, walkers can wander right along the banks of the river. A grant from the Mayor’s Big Green Fund has enabled improvement of this stretch of the trail, as well as the creation of a backwater to make a welcoming habitat for water voles.
Healthy Walks with Get Active Wandle Valley
Get Active Wandle Valley runs a series of weekly health walks across the Wandle Valley. Explore them here.Healthy Walks
Links to other long distance paths
The Wandle Trail provides a link from the Vanguard Way – which runs 66 miles from Croydon to Newhaven – to the Thames Path National Trail at Wandsworth. This path follows the route of the river 184 miles from its source in the Cotswolds to the sea, so if 14 miles is not enough walking for you, you can just carry on to places new.