Wandsworth prisoners need your help

These are unusual times so we are using this medium as a one off to to make a plea for a very local cause. A team of friends of the prison are creating activity packs for the prisoners (who are all on 23-hour lockdown); so far 800 have been assembled. These consist of jigsaws, board games (e.g. dominoes, chess, ludo), coloured pencils and paper and appropriate magazines including motoring magazines, History Today and colour supplements. They are also looking for books including airport style novels and foreign language books and dictionaries.

If you are out exercising, items can be left in two plastic crates outside the door to the Visitor Centre in Heathfield Road although the centre is not manned at weekends so best to leave items on weekdays.  Or, if there is a substantial collection, please email events@wandsworthsociety.org and your email will be forwarded to arrange collection at a specified time from your front garden.

How to entertain yourself whilst in lock down

The creative world has responded in an amazing way . Those who are forced to be at home can catch up on the Arts while we respond to these dramatic adverts we can add a different sort of drama to our lives.

Sadly, live entertainment and support of the arts is not considered an essential activity by any stretch of the imagination. However, there is plenty to see on-line and lots of chances to support real Drama and a range of other Arts. Here is a list of the Events Group’s ideas.

Download a list by clicking on the logo above

Self guided short walks for exercise during the “lock down”

The Society is publishing a short series of local walks to inspire those who are exercising within Government guidlines in order to maintain fitness, which in itself is shown to boost your immunity.

There are maps attached so you can pick the point to start the walk which is closest to home. The mileages are very approximate and in practice you will walk a little further dodging the walkers, runners and cyclist in order to maintain a safe distance. Happy walking!

Self guided local walk: Wandsworth Common & Tooting Bec Circular, 3.5 miles

Linking the Borough’s two Commons

The walk starts at Wandsworth Common Station. From the ticket office lobby walk southwards with the railway on your left and the St James’ Triangle section of Wandsworth Common on your right. You will find that the way as far as Bedford Hill is signed as the Capital Ring.

Follow the path along the Common and into the alley way; at the end turn left into Balham Park Road. Continue along this road, crossing Boundaries Road, until you reach Balham High Road. Cross, turning right and then after a short distance turn left into Elmfield Road. Take the third right (opposite the Balham Leisure Centre) in to Cloudsdale Road. At the end turn left into the wide Ritherdon Road. At the top of the road turn right on to Bedford Hill (and ignore the Capital Ring signs in to Fontenoy Road).

When you reach the pedestrian crossing bear right on to Tooting Bec Common on a path marked at the start as Capital Ring. When you reach a clear cross-path, turn a very sharp right, almost back on yourself. After a short distance there is a path to your left down to the lake and the 145 million year old Fossilised tree. It is a legacy of the Victorian practise of placing geological curiosities on display as public attractions in urban parks. 

Walk along the edge of lake until you see the tennis courts; turn left across the grass and walk between the playground and the tennis courts. Head over the field going to the left of the works depot. Cross Dr Johnson’s Avenue and continue across the garss. Where you see a small path through the shrubbery follow this. It takes you on duck boards around an empty but attractively overgrown pond.

Where you join another path turn right and you will be taken to light enabled crossing on Tooting Bec Road. Cross and turn right. Take the first left into Avoca Road and first right into Topsham Road. Follow this until you reach Upper Tooting Road. Turn left and cross this road at the lights; almost straight across is Beechcroft Road.

After at least a mile you will reach Burntwood Lane. Turn right and walk up beside the Sir Walter St Johns Sorts Ground. Cross Trinity Road at the lights. Walk down Bellevue Parade and you are back to your starting point.

There are various potential diversions on this walk including a wider circuit of Tooting Bec Common. For those curious about the redevelopment of Springfield Hospital turn left off Beechcroft Road into Glenburnie Road. Follow the road around and enter the Springfield campus. Work is progressing and the pavements are all in good condition. It is very accessible – with the site being a living hospital despite the contractors working on much of the area. Ignore the notices for motorists stating that the road is closed; the pavements are very much open. Just continue along the main spine road, past impressive buildings and the Share Garden on your right. At the end of the road turn right into Burntwood Lane and proceed to Beechcroft Road to join the circuit.

Download a map by clicking on the logo above

Self guided local walk: Earlsfield Circular 2.7 miles

A chance to linger in a fascinating cemetery

The starting point is the mini roundabout at the intersection of Magdalen Road & Lyford Road. Facing Wandswoth Prison turn left (westward and slightly downhill) on Magdalen Road with the tennis club on your right. When you come to the wide gates of Wandsworth Cemetery turn in and choose a route along the grid of paths among the graves.

The cemetery has been crammed into an irregular space between the road and railway line and has (despite the trains) a peaceful air., partly due to the to the mature trees throughout the site. As well as several thousand civil graves there is a war cemetery with five 1914-1918 War Plots: nearly 500 service men from all over the Commonwealth were buried here. This was the closest burial ground to 3rd London General Hospital in the Royal Victoria Patriotic building which housed thousands of wounded troops. In the 1914-1918 war. A further 115 were buried here in the1939-1945 war.

When you have finished wandering, exit the cemetery through a pedestrian gate at the far end. Cross Magdalen Road into Tranmere Road. Walk the length until you reach Waldron Road; turn right and then left into Bridgford Street. At the end go straight across Burntwood Road and enter Garratt Green playing field. Circumnavigate the field and exit where the fence panel has been removed on the Aboyne Rad and mini roundabout.

Turn right up Burntwood Road and walk along beside the hedge; as you progress up the road you will see glimpses of the Springfield Hospital re-development site. When you reach the intersection with Beechcroft Road, cross Burntwood Lane and keep going for a short distance before turning left into Sandgate Lane; turn left.

Immediately into Sandgate Lane, bear right on to a woodland path into The Scope area of Wandsworth Common; take this until you reach a wide tarmac path with streetlamps; turn left and follow the path to the end on Lyford Road. Turn right and proceed along Lyford Road until you reach the starting point.

Download a map by clicking on the logo above