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 operates in: Bromley, Lewisham and Greenwich.
Walks in Lewisham
Lewisham Three Peaks Walk
The Lewisham Three Peaks Walk is a circular, 8.04km (5 mile) walk, mainly through parkland, which offers breathtaking views across London from three hills in Lewisham: Hilly Fields, Blythe Hill Fields and One Tree Hill.
Highlights include a stone circle on Hilly Fields Park, which was erected for the Millennium celebrations in 2000 and where rumour has it naked revellers gather during the summer solstice; panoramic views over Canary Wharf, the City, Kent and Surrey; and the iconic oak tree which gives its name to Honor Oak Park area, and which Elizabeth I apparently once picnicked under, on the summit of One Tree Hill.
Get the route
You can download the Three Peaks Walk route for free in a variety of formats from Plot a Route.
For more tips on what to look out for on the Three Peaks walk, check out the website of Lewisham-based journalist and editor Chris Wheal.
Other Lewisham walks
Lewisham Council has a number of downloadable linear walks, all of which end up on the historic and windswept reaches of Blackheath. These self-guided walks offer a wealth of fascinating and curious local history, for example: did you know Deptford was once famous for growing asparagus?
- Catford and Ladywell to Blackheath
- Grove Park and Lee to Blackheath
- New Cross and Deptford to Blackheath.
For dozens more free-to-download walks around Lewisham, as well as Bromley and Greenwich, check out the London Footprints website, where you’ll find the Deptford Riverside walk; the Green Deptford walk, and a circular walk around New Cross among many more.
As Lewisham’s green spaces are mainly urban parks with concreted paths, smooth terrain and, in many cases, step-free access, it’s a great place for people with accessibility issues to enjoy the great outdoors.
AccessAble, which offers free guides to accessible public places, recommends a number of the borough’s parks, including:
Lewisham green spaces
For an A-Z list of all the parks and green spaces in Lewisham, including locations and facilities, head to the Parks section of the Lewisham Council website.
If you’re interested in getting hands-on in Lewisham’s great outdoors, you can view volunteering opportunities at natureconservationlewisham.co.uk.
BLG Mind & partners mental health services in Lewisham
Lewisham Peer Support
Our Lewisham Peer Support service offers weekly Walk & Talks with trained leaders. The walks are adapted to meet the needs of individuals, allowing people to enjoy the local environment at their own pace. Lewisham Peer Support courses are for local residents referred by a GP or other professional, or self-referred.
BLG Mind partner Sydenham Garden is a unique wellbeing centre utilising its gardens, nature reserve and activity rooms to help people in their recovery from mental and physical ill-health. Part of Lewisham Community Wellbeing, the centre aims to improve wellbeing through therapeutic horticultural activity and training. Based between Forest Hill and Sydenham in SE23, Sydenham Garden offers two beautiful garden sites a short walk from each other.