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About the Wandle Trail
Wandsworth to Plough Lane
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Plough Lane to Mill Green

Plough Lane to Mill Green

For more detailed information on the historic mills in this section, see Item B04, B05, B06, 'B07' in the Shop)

Plough Lane to Merton High Street

From Plough Lane, near the Wimbledon Greyhound Stadium [6] a joint footpath and cycle track continues on the east bank of the Wandle and then skirts the Graveney, the only major tributary of the Wandle. From there, under the railway bridge, the path continues into the Wandle Meadow Nature Park, formerly Wandle Valley Sewage Works [7] which is now managed as a place of natural beauty. From there the route passes a former corn mill, once occupied by Connolly Bros Ltd, famous for leather production [8] and passes through Wandle Park [9] and onto Merton High Street.

Merton High Street to Windsor Avenue

The river flows alongside the Savacentre [10] which provides shopping, restaurant and toilet facilities. Here and in the next stretch were the works of William Morris and Arthur Liberty , two of the most renowned names in British design.

Following the riverside pathway adjacent to the Savacentre is the former site of the William Morris works, now acknowledged by a display panel on the route [11]. Continue along the path to Merantun Way and so into Merton Abbey Mills [13]. This site is the former works of Arthur Liberty & Co and the original buildings have been restored as a craft and leisure centre. Liberty's wheelhouse is now the Wandle Conservation Centre [14] and is open to the public, together with the 18th century colour house which is now a theatre.

Here we stand at the historic heart of the London Borough of Merton, for this was part of the site of Merton Priory, founded in 1117 and dissolved by Henry VIII in 1538 [12]. Some remains of the chapter house beneath Merantun Way are all that can now be seen. They can be reached from Merton Abbey Mills or the Savacentre carpark and are a scheduled national monument. Continue the trail along the west bank of the Wandle to Windsor Avenue.

Windsor Avenue to Morden Road

Follow the trail to Phipps Bridge. For more than 100 years Harland's varnish works occupied a site east of the river here. In Phipps Bridge Road nearby stand Wandle Villa [17], Keeper's Lodge [16] and Everett's Place [15], which has an unusual folly attached. However the route continues on the west bank into Bunce's Meadow (National Trust), which was once used for calico bleaching. Here is Deen City Farm [18], which is open to the public. From Bunce's Meadow cross the tramline into Morden Hall Park.

Morden Hall Park is a National Trust property comprising 125 acres of parkland and meadowland. The estate has a number of historic buildings including Morden Hall [19] and Morden Cottage. Morden Cottage [22] was home to Gilliat Edward Hatfeild, the donor of the estate to the National Trust. He considered the cottage better suited to a bachelor than the large Morden Hall.

Other estate buildings include an 18th century cottage [23] next to the two water mills which were used for grinding snuff unti11922. One of the two mills now houses the Snuff Mill Environmental Centre - a study centre for school children from the local area run by the National Trust [21].

The old cow house and nearby farm buildings have been restored to provide a permanent exhibition of the history of the estate, together with workshops demonstrating the skills of local craftsmen. The Garden Centre [25], situated within the historic walled garden of Morden Hall Park, is the first ever to be leased on National Trust land and is independently run by Capital Gardens PLC. A proportion of the turnover, in the form of rent, goes towards helping the Trust's conservation and restoration work in the Park. The National Trust Riverside Cafe and shop [24] are open from 10 am to 5 pm daily all the year round, except 25th/26th December and 1st January. W.C. facilities are available. Morden Hall itself is open to the public as a Beefeater Restaurant.

Follow the path through Morden Hall Park turning right immediately after the small footbridge beyond the statue of Venus [20] and join Morden Road just by the Surrey Arms public house [28].

Morden Road to Mill Green

Turning right down Morden Road you will see the new Ravensbury Mill residential development. The former snuff mill has been restored as a new home for the Wandle Industrial Museum [27]. The mill contains a pair of well preserved water wheels, and the museum, when open, will reflect the life and industries of the River Wandle. Follow the pathway along the river through Ravensbury Park [30] and past the site of the old Ravensbury Manor.

The Park contains a children's playground, cafe and toilets. Continue past a housing development with the river on your right and then emerge into London Road at Mitcham Bridge. The trail continues south of the bridge and skirts 'The Watermeads', a National Trust owned nature reserve access by key only [33]. Before continuing along the path it is worth pausing at the bridge to view the group of 18th and 19th century mill workers' cottages, which provide an image of a typical Wandle scene of yesteryear [32] by Grove Mill [31].

Continue along the trail by the banks of the Wandle, noting 'Bishopsford', the large house to the east [35]. This pleasant stretch of the river is rich in plant and bird life with Bennets Hole Nature reserve on the other bank [34]. The path emerges at Middleton Road near Mill Green. The Mill Green Business Park now takes the place of the former leather and lavender works. There are three pubs here, of which The Goat takes its name from the leather industry in the mills here [36].

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