Words by Jessica Peace
We had a blindin’ day at Morden Hall, there’s autumn leaves droppin’ like it’s hot in this late summer breeze (we know!?), rose gardens, wetlands, wild meadows, babbling brooks, massive trees, a second hand bookshop, a garden centre and a decent cafe...
SAXONS AND SNUFF
Big up the National Trust for saving this old snuff mill; ‘Snuff’, you might know if you’re partial to a Victorian novel or a period drama is just ground tobacco that men in suits with massive tashes used to shove up their hooters to feel a bit loaded.
The mill at Morden was powered by the River Wandle (great name) which still flows through the grounds. Rumour has it the stream has been there since the Saxon’s where thrashin’ about in Morden, there’s still one of their iron markers sitting beneath a London plane just beyond the rose garden.
ROSES FOR YOUR NOSES
In the 1920’s the snuff business declined but Gilliat Edward Hatfield - master of the house, committed his free time to the completion and maintenance of his new rose garden; his pretty patch is split by the Wandle and connected by two bridges (don’t fall in - those verges are misleading…). Back then the garden stretched over 2 acres and now the current gardener’s at Morden Hall are restoring it to its 20’s style.
We put our hands together too for Morden Hall’s organic practice, they’ve binned the nasty stuff and now just toss on a mix of seaweed, garlic, funghi and manure. Nice.
THE SWEET SPOT
We like roamin’ about at the back of the rose garden, here the Wandle widens and sits amongst some of the oldest trees in the park including the Western Yew, thought to be around 300 years old (total BEAST).
You can follow the path along the Wandle and into a small foresty area complete with sexy armless statues before coming out into a glade still full of frothing cow parsley and hemlock (massive white flower - don’t touch it’s VERY poisonous).
UNDER THE BOARDWALK
The wetlands here are fairly small but the rushes reach over your head and just as you feel a real sense of space in the park you can grab a real sense of peace down here.
Bring your binoculars or at least your specs for the viewing platform; we saw ducks, geese, coots, a heron, bees, a toad and something that was either a small bat or a massive moth…
(loads) 80, 118, 157, 164, 201, 470, 93, K5.
You can ride the ‘NCN20’ right through.
‘Wandle Trail’ from Croydon or Carshalton to Wandsworth
LET ME IN?
Rose Garden (still a few buds hangin’ on) and grounds 8am - 6pm but check times here.