I moved to Chislehurst with my parents and sister when I was 7 years old and so, apart from 4 years living in Dartford after my husband and I bought our first house, I have been a BR7 resident the majority of my life.
I have incredibly fond memories of growing up here; trips to the ponds to feed the ducks, playing in the park, bike rides through the woods, buying sweets and comics from the newsagent on the High Street, going to the annual fireworks display in the rec, sledging in the snow and saving up my pocket money to buy my rabbit from the pet shop which used to be where Champion Wines now stands, to mention just a few.
Dartford served us well as a step onto the property ladder but for me, Chislehurst is the only place that truly feels like home. I was thrilled to be able to move back in late 2009 and I now have two children of my own. I love that they are able to enjoy so many of the same things about living here that I did as a child. In many ways, Chislehurst has hardly changed since I was small. The library, the ponds and the park were prominent parts of my childhood and still feel to me almost exactly as they were back then, as do several shops that are still on the High Street today such as the treasure trove of beautiful gifts that is Wrattens. But that said, Chislehurst has not been left behind and there has been plenty of change for the better too. The playground in the park had a complete makeover recently, it is now an amazing space that my son loves to visit and I’m looking forward to my baby girl being old enough to start using the playground too.
We walk to the park via the Green Chain walk that goes from Elmstead Lane through to Walden rec and it’s one of my favourite routes to walk in Chislehurst, along with exploring the Scadbury Park woods. We are so close to London, yet there is such an abundance of green space and wildlife here that you could be forgiven for thinking we were much further away from our capital city. We really do have the best of both worlds. On a recent walk to the park we encountered squirrels, blackbirds and a robin, and we caught a glimpse of the resident parakeets, squawking as they swooped about overhead. And who could forget the bears! The wood carvings of bears in their boats found on the path between Walden and Chislehurst recreation grounds are wonderful and always make me smile. My son always stops to clamber into a boat for a little rest – he has never been a huge fan of walking!
There is very much a sense of community in Chislehurst. It is full of friendly people who genuinely care about where they live. We are very fortunate to have some truly lovely neighbours and we also attend St Patrick’s church on Red Hill where we have made some good friends in fellow parishioners. I love that on any given trip to the High Street I am highly likely to bump into somebody I know, and I can’t see myself ever moving away!
Kindly written by Jo Boyce