An oasis in suburbia - Morden Hall Park walk
Morden Hall Park, Morden, Surrey SM4 5JDRoute details and mapDownload as a print friendly PDF
Take a stroll through this historic parkland, created by the Hatfeild family in the 19th century, and experience inspiring surroundings. Admission is free.
Enjoy your walk and let us know what you thought.
- Bus stop
Start: The Riverside Café, next to Garden Centre Car Park, grid ref: TQ262686
To enter Morden Hall Park, pass through the gate between the Riverside Café and the Garden Centre, under an archway. Turn right. On your right you will see workshops associated with the Hatfeild family's estate including a boiler house for heating the greenhouses in the kitchen garden, on the other side of the wall, potting and tool sheds and day stables for the working ponies. Some of these are now leased to local craft workers. Ahead of you the stables are visible. During 2010 the Stable Yard was renovated to be the most energy-efficient historic building in the country. It now offers new visitor facilities, including an exhibition space.
This building was constructed in about 1879 to house carriage and riding horses, and is a real demonstration of the Hatfeilds' wealth. Note the trout on the weather vane, reflecting the links with the River Wandle and fishing. Step inside to discover our new visitor centre, which provides an interactive space for learning about sustainable green living and new energy-saving products, as well as a community exhibition space, our offices, craft stalls, a café and eco-toilets.
Follow the sign to the Snuff Mill, which is now an Learning and Community centre providing activities for groups from the local area. The millstones on display outside are originally from a spice mill, but show the edge turning arrangement of the stones used. You will also pass a second-hand bookshop next to the Snuff Mill.
The Hatfeild fortune came from drying and grinding tobacco (using the watermills) into a fine powder known as snuff, with this particular mill remaining in use until 1922. You can see the original waterwheel that once powered the huge millstones to crush the tobacco.
At the Snuff Mill proceed across modern bridge over the main tributary of the River Wandle. You will pass a little building on the left where G.E. Hatfeild bred trout, then Morden Cottage on your right. The building is thought to have originally been a hunting lodge before becoming a permanent residence. Look out for the rose garden beyond the cottage.
The rose garden was planted in about 1920 by Gilliat Edward Hatfeild, who gave the Park to us in 1941. We have completed historical research into the garden and are undertaking work to restore the original look still further.
Walk along the path with the rose garden on your right and go through a gate, turn right, crossing over the tarmac bridge across a stream of the Wandle and take the first path to your right. Pass through a smaller gate and back into the rose garden, on the far side of the stream that divides it in two. Continue on this path out of the garden and into the arboretum. On the head of the closest island in the summer grows a plant called gunnera, or giant rhubarb. The 18th-century statues of Neptune and Venus have also been returned after a long absence and can be seen on the island in the River Wandle.
The statue of Neptune has been placed on a new plinth on the island in the River Wandle. The statue of Venus has returned after a long absence, to see her walk futher along the path.
Follow the path along the course of the River Wandle, with the river on your right. When the path forks at a pond, stay left, on the hard standing. When you come up to the avenue of lime and horse chestnut trees near the gate by the Surrey Arms pub, turn left and walk along the avenue. Avenues of lime trees were a status symbol, and horse chestnuts were very fashionable trees.
Carry on walking down the avenue past the path coming up from Phipps Bridge tram stop. Re-cross the tarmac bridge and continue straight on. To your right, in the trees, we have created a natural play area for children, themed around life from the perspective of an insect.
Cross over the ornate white Victorian bridge, and in front of you will see a second white bridge with Morden Hall beyond, surrounded by a moat. Approach Morden Hall. Cross back over the bridge into the park, turn left following the path crossing over two small wooden bridges. Once over the second bridge turn right, following the signpost to the wetlands, which is flooded and is home to a rich variety of wildlife. (N.B. The path through the wetlands is wet after rain and in winter. If you would prefer not to take this route, continue straight ahead and make a circuit of North Park before continuing from this point at point 9).
Water lies at the heart of Morden Hall Park. During your walk you will cross over the River Wandle several times and visit the lush wetlands, vibrant riverbanks and islands which provide homes to a variety of plants, animals, insects and birdlife. The park is the closest heronry to central London
When you leave the wetlands you will reach a T-junction with a tram crossing to your right. Instead, turn left and follow the path with the wetlands on your left; North Park is to your right. Turn left at the end of the wetlands, cross over a wooden bridge, with glimpses of Morden Hall through the trees to your right.
Retrace your steps back over the two small wooden bridges to the white bridge over the Wandle. Do not cross it, instead pass straight ahead towards the Snuff Mill.
At the Snuff Mill turn right and retrace your steps back to the Riverside Café and our shop, where you started.
End: The Riverside Café, next to Garden Centre car park, grid ref: TQ262686
- Trail: Walking
- Grade: Easy
- Distance: 1.9 miles (3.1km)
- Time: 1 hour
- OS Map: Landranger 176; Explorer 161
This 1.9 mile (3.1km) walk takes approximately an hour for a reasonably fit walker, giving opportunity to pause to take in the features described. The terrain is reasonably flat. Surfaces can be muddy and slippery in places in wet weather please wear appropriate footwear and consider the weather conditions. Dogs are welcome under control and on a lead in areas of closely-mown lawn and around buildings. Cycles must give way to pedestrians and National Trust bylaws should be obeyed at all times.
- How to get here:
By foot: Short walk from Morden town centre, down Aberconway Road from the Underground Station on the Northern Line. There are entrances to Morden Hall Park around its perimeter. The Wandle Trail also crosses the park. This route follows the River Wandle from Croydon, through three London boroughs to its mouth at the River Thames in Wandsworth. There are art and sculptural features along the way
By bike: The Wandle Trail is also great for cycling. The route is mainly off-road and forms part of National Cycle Network Route 22. See Sustrans for details
By bus: There are several bus stops close to the Park and a variety of frequent bus services from surrounding areas including Sutton, Mitcham and Wimbledon. See www.tfl.gov.uk
By tram: The Tramlink runs between Wimbledon, Mitcham, Croydon, and Beckenham Junction. Alight at Phipps Bridge which stops at the southern side of the Park
By underground: Morden underground station (Northern Line) which is about 0.75 miles (1.2km) from the Park
By rail: Morden South station approximately 0.5 miles (0.8km) away
By road Off the A24 and A297 south of Wimbledon and North of Sutton. From the M25, exit at junction 10 and take the A3 towards London. Join the A289 (Bushey Road) at the Merton junction. Follow the brown signs to Morden Hall Park. Parking is in the Garden Centre car park
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