09 March 2021 – Written by our local resident blogger and journalist Sila Kiss.
Bird voices at 3 am, making me feel blessed. Hearing the sparrows’ songs and the sounds of crows chasing foxes, I live in a Disney animation. This park is magical, and it is a secret garden. Did you know that in 2019, a live audio stream of the bird sounds from the Stave Hill Ecological Park was installed as an art project in London Bridge Station? Because it deserves to be heard!
Stave Hill Ecological Park is one of the green areas in the Woodland, SE16, which covers 5.2 acres, for those who want to escape the city’s density. There you can see families with their kids, people walking, runners, and picnics. My neighbour calls it “a little nature reserve” due to its colossal grass field. The park is hidden in amongst the buildings, right in the town.
The area starts with a wooden bridge where you can watch the ducks and various bird species—a perfect place to listen to music in the evenings for sentimental and dreamy escapes.
Initially, the former Dock of Russia was used to import softwood timber from Norway, Russia, and Sweden. There is a compass on the floor showing where Africa is, the Polish seaside town Gdansk, Germany, etc. You can read and spend the day exploring the history of the area. The imported timber was mainly used for newsprint and the production of furniture, known as ‘deal wood’. In Rotherhithe, London, Russia Dock Woodland is a long, narrow park created by infilling one of the former Surrey Commercial Docks. After improving technology led to the docks closing to trade, one of them was turned into an ecological park. Today the area is a heaven for the wildlife.
Under the stars or with the Warming Sun
After a short path, you can sit near the Globe Pond and feed lettuce to the birds and ducks -everybody needs more vegetables these days! Herons are frequently fishing from the Globe Pond. Kingfishers, coots, and their close relatives’ moorhens, swans and mallards also shelter on the pond during the winter. The pond is giving life to other essential creatures. The dragonfly has fierce larvae which live in water and prey on other pond minibeasts. Untouched by humans, animal groups are oftern chatting around the rocks. I saw many different birds in that very place. Still, there are lots of houses in the area. Rotherhithe is a fortunate place to find calm spheres thanks to short buildings and good nature.
Then you can continue to the big area, walking between the daisy fields reserved for the bees. The flower fields are inaccessible to step on to protect the habitat. All fences are made by hand, from tree branches, by people working voluntarily in the field or recruited for business needs. Locals are giving all of their love for this park to save the animals and their habitats. This park is illuminated, making it perfect for night escapes.
On the way, you can see one more dock and two different secret banks on which to chill and enjoy the day outside. After the pier, the road is divided in two – go shopping in the city or meet with your friends and have a picnic in the park’s large field.
If you choose the rightest path, it takes you to a nursery school, and on the way, you can find wooden sculptures, which I like to spend time exploring. The locals are a big part of the community here, and they work very hard to contribute. If you walk a little bit north, you will see Stave Hill. This is a small hill for sightseeing. Climb the stars on the hillside, and you can watch Canary Wharf and the city of London. I’ve found that the best hour to visit Stave Hill is 16.00 when the sun is about to say goodbye and the sky is turning into a pink love scene from the movies.
The park is full of little attractions: sculptures and jokes posted in the park, all made by volunteers. For example, two funny, chubby birds sit on the top of the bank. If I am feeling moody, the red one makes me smile. The park is managed by the TCV, a not-for-profit organisation. They present opportunities to volunteer on park projects, and offer training options designed to improve confidence, skills and prospects through learning inspired by the outdoors. But don’t worry if Stave hills is not the closest park for you. TCV’s webpage host opportunities throughout the UK as well.
Alex & Matteo regularly offer properties in the area. At the moment they have a great four-bedroom house near the park at Somerford Way, Canada Water, SE16. The property is 2 minutes’ walk to all the attractions mentioned above. It is 20 minutes by foot to Bermondsey. At the other side is an enormous Tesco store at the Surrey Quays; we go there monthly and do our big house shopping. It offers the convenience to be able to find clothes, toys, gift wraps, groceries, and wine all in one place, which I will write at length on future blogs. Buyers and sellers alike can feel lucky to experience life in the area! As a tenant, I am in love with Rotherhithe.