Healthy Ride June 19th 2021. Report by Ride Leader Bruce Lynn
15 riders at London Bridge for the 10am start. First stop the Norfolk Island Pine located next to Lyly House on the Lawton Estate (Great Dover St). This is a stunning tree and so we were off to a good start. According to Paul Wood on his “Great Trees of London Map” (the inspiration for this ride) this tree is “A houseplant gone feral that proves the city’s climate is warming”. Joined Cycleway 17 and rode to Chumleigh Gardens in Burgess Park. Left bikes in the care of Jane and entered the World Garden section. This is packed with unusual (for the UK) trees. These can be identified by consulting Paul Wood’s web site, Tree Talk (https://www.treetalk.co.uk/). This has an amazing map of 700,000 of the estimated 8 million trees in London. You click on a tree and get the name and some information. In the world garden we admired Chilean Wine Palms, Chinese Windmill Palms, a Stone Pine, a Katsura (Japanese) and a Loquat. Had not allowed enough time, so getting behind schedule already.
Continued south along C17 to Peckham Rd where we located Lucas Gardens and its large Tulip Tree, one of the map’s great trees. Next a longish ride east to New Cross Gate station and a look over the wall and along the tracks to the incongruous Giant Redwood opposite platform 1. Turned off busy New Cross Road to the calm of Fordham Park and continued across Evelyn St to Sayes Court Park with its Black Mulberry tree. Plaque says it was planted in 1698 by Tsar Peter the Great when he stayed in Sayes Court whilst learning how to build a navy (Deptford at that time being the base for the British Navy). The Map casts doubt on this date claiming the tree is younger.
By now very behind schedule so skipped the river front route instead taking a more direct route via the Surrey Quays Shops to Lower Rd. A very brief stop to check on the Southern Silky Oak. Looks rather unhappy behind hoardings amongst the remains of the recently demolished Rotherhithe Police Station. Looks as though the builders are trying to save this Australian tree that is rarely seen in London, but it is a bit in the way.
Skipped Southwark Park and sped along lovely Cycleway 4 to Tooley St. Despite lateness, had to make a stop at Fair St to see the Tree of Heaven that marks the site of a small vault containing the ashes of Dr and Mrs Salter. This couple are famed for their work to improve the health of the poorer residents of Southwark in the 1920s and 30s. Importantly Mrs Salter was a great advocate of greening for health and was responsible for planting many trees. From Fair St just a short way along Tooley St to our finish at London Bridge (only 25 minutes late).
Annotated route map at https://www.google.com/maps/d/u/0/edit?mid=1WMWt1qLR_4_obNGcwNHD3Sghfv22eLEW&usp=sharing