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.

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