Mental Health Awareness Week 2021 – Green Bromley

The Crystal Palace transmitting station in Bromley at sunrise.

Mental Health Awareness Week runs from 10 – 16 May, and this year the theme is Nature.

Nature is central to our wellbeing. Whether it’s growing plants, exercising outdoors or being around animals, spending time in green space or bringing nature into our everyday lives can benefit both our mental and physical health.

To celebrate Mental Health Awareness Week, we’re giving you the lowdown on some wonderful walks and green spaces to visit in the three boroughs BLG Mind serves: Bromley, Lewisham and Greenwich.

Green Bromley

Bromley is officially London’s greenest borough, encompassing more than 160 parks, 52 allotments and 21 outdoor sports facilities. From the rolling fields and meadows of Downe and High Elms to the flowerbeds of Church House Gardens in the town centre, no other London borough offers such a diverse and extensive natural landscape.

Walks in Bromley

With more than 7,000 acres of green space to choose from, anyone looking to connect with nature in Bromley is spoilt for choice.

Town centre walks

As Bromley is so extensive, it can be tricky to reach some of the borough’s more far flung corners by public transport. If you don’t have your own transport or prefer not to drive, these more central walks may appeal.

  • London-footprints.co.uk has a 4km (2.5 mile) town centre walk taking in green spaces and  local buildings of interest. Get the details.
  • The same website also offers a 4.82km (3 mile) circular walk around Crystal Palace park. Discover the faded Victorian grandeur and fascinating legacy of this unique park, including, of course, its famous, life-sized dinosaur sculptures. Get the details.
  • A 1.60km (1 mile) Heritage Trail around Bromley North Village, which takes in War of the Worlds writer H.G. Wells’ birthplace and other local landmarks, can be downloaded from Bromley Council’s website. Get the details.
  • Bromley Council also offers a circular walk around Bromley Common, which is relatively close to the town centre. This 6.43km (4 mile) walk starts and finishes at Bromley Common, once a well-known and profitable haunt for highwaymen, and takes in the farmland and grounds of the once grand Rookery Estate, a substantial mansion built on the edge of the common in the 18th century. Get the details.

Walks further afield

Darwin’s Downe

For those keen to get close to the natural world in Bromley, what could be more appropriate than following in the footsteps of England’s most celebrated naturalist, Charles Darwin? This 6.43 (4 mile) stroll from the Kent Walks Near London website guides you around the ancient woods and glorious North Downs Darwin explored after leaving central London to take up residence in Down House in the village of Downe. Get the details.

Map of easy access walk at Scadbury Nature Reserve, Bromley Bromley Council walks

Bromley Council has many attractively designed, downloadable walks which will give you a fantastic insight into the flora and fauna to look out for on your perambulations.

These include:

Crofton Woods circular trail – walk around one of the largest ancient woodlands in the whole of Greater London.  This 200-acre site is a bird spotter’s dream: keep an eye out for tawny owls, green and great spotted woodpeckers, treecreepers, chiffchaffs and blackcaps, among others, on this 3.21km (2 mile) walk. Get the details.

Jubliee Country Park trail – a 3.21km (2 mile) ramble through the glorious wildflower meadows, hedgerows and semi-natural ancient woodland of this 62-acre Site of Metropolitan Importance for Nature Conservation in Petts Wood. Get the details.

Ravensbourne trail – the River Ravensbourne is 17.4 km (11 miles) in length and flows through the three boroughs BLG Mind operates in, Bromley, Lewisham and Greenwich. Much of this 4.02km (2.5 mile) circular trail loosely follows the course of the Ravensbourne through Keston, passing through rare bog, acid grassland and ancient, coppiced woodland in an area that’s been important to mankind for around 5,000 years. Get the details.

For more Bromley self-guided and circular walks, head to Bromley Council website.

You can also download Bromley-based walks from Go Jauntly, the free community-based walking and nature connection app.

Easy Access walk

The 1km (0.62 mile) long Scadbury easy access trail around Scadbury Park Nature Reserve, a delightful, 300-acre Site of Metropolitan Importance for Nature Conservation in Chislehurst, has reasonably firm surfaces and gentle gradients making it suitable for most wheelchair users. Get the details.

AccessAble, which offers free guides to accessible public places, has details of easy access facilities in parks in the Bromley area.

Directory of Bromley's green spaces

For an A-Z list of all the parks and green spaces in Bromley, including locations and facilities, head to the Parks section of Bromley Council’s website.

Get into nature with BLG Mind

Bromley Recovery College

Our Recovery College offers a range of courses to help students gain skills and have fun while exploring their mental health. While we have been unable to offer our popular walking and gardening sessions recently due to the pandemic, we plan to restart them soon. Visit our Recovery College programme pages to discover the latest courses on offer.

Enter our nature photography celebration

A fox

Do you have a photograph you’ve taken of a favourite view in Bromley? Perhaps you have a shot of local flora and fauna you’d like to share? Or maybe you’ve got a great snap of something a bit closer to home, such as your favourite houseplant or pet.

To celebrate Mental Health Awareness Week, we’d love you to see your photographs of the natural world. Email them to communications@blgmind.org.uk or, if you prefer to post your images on social media, tag us at @blgmind and/or use the hashtag #BLGMindWMHD to help us locate them. We’ll feature as many of your photographs as possible in our Mental Health Awareness Week Nature Photography Celebration.

Go the extra mile for BLG Mind

If you’re planning to get out and about in nature during Mental Health Awareness Week or beyond, please consider fundraising at the same time for us.

No matter where you walk, you could raise awareness for local people affected by mental health problems or dementia.

You could:

  • Walk some or all of our 13km (8 mile) BLG Mind Three Boroughs Walk, which encompasses the three boroughs we serve: Bromley, Lewisham and Greenwich.

OR

OR

  • Pick your own walk, anywhere you like.

Any donation you can give, large or small, will help us carry on giving vital support to those who desperately need it.

Change a life today. Donate now online, by post, text or bank transfer.