Royal Park Playground
Image credit: Willie Robertson
This children’s area sits in the north-west corner of Foots Cray Meadows – bounded to the east by the River Cray plus woodlands and to the west by houses.
The stretch of grassland is known as Royal Park, which gives its name to the bordering housing estate constructed in the late 1940s and early 1950s. There are now wonderful clumps of snow drops early in the year in the surrounding woods as well as, a little later on, daffodils.
Access to the site, one of 19 entrance points within the wildlife reserve known as Foots Cray Meadows, is via the far end of Riverside Road.
The facility, one of 194 playgrounds within the London Borough of Bexley, incorporates a play area as well as a multi-use ball court and outdoor gym.
There are rubber safety surfaces around the equipment. There are also climbing frames on grassed areas outside of the enclosed playground with bench seats around.
The pathways here are wide enough for wheelchair users with most made of Tarmac or compacted earth.
Credit: Willie Robertson
The Royal Park field became a gravel pit in the 1940s, with the stones used in road building. The resulting hole – at one time full of water and used for fishing – became an area to dispose of decommissioned trolley buses as it was being filled in, together with various old trams.
Metal detectorists beware, you may need more that a small shovel to dig up this treasure. The land was then used for a while as a football pitch.