Chislehurst is well known for its open spaces. We have commons, ponds, cricket ground and golf course, but many people do not realise we have a further 37 acres of open space which make up the Chislehurst and Walden Recreation Grounds.
The two fields are linked by a safe, peaceful walk through Whyte’s Wood with its bird sanctuary, varied flora and fauna and even a piece of artwork by chainsaw carver, Will Lee. Further woodlands and undeveloped open space stretch on from Walden Rec where, in winter when the leaves are down, there’s a view of Canary Wharf from the top of the hill. It’s a friendly park where people say hello to each other and dog walkers stop to chat. The Green Chain Walk runs through, linking the recreation grounds to an extensive network of footpaths.
Chislehurst Rec as it is known, is home to Elmstead Football Club and the Chislehurst Lawn Tennis Club. Both clubs cater for all ages and run coaching sessions for children. The Chislehurst Invicta Scout Group are busy building their new Headquarters on the site of the old playground.
The playground, was opened in May 2011 and is a superb facility with equipment to please all ages and abilities. It is a dog-free zone and offers plenty of space for picnics. For those wanting to sit in the shade, a circular bench surrounds an enormous oak tree.
The development of the playground was the inspiration of the very active friends of the park group FOCRG. This voluntary organisation works with London Borough of Bromley to protect and improve the Rec for all to enjoy. Activities vary from simple litter picking and gardening to putting on events including Chislehurst Rocks! their free annual music festival.
Chislehurst Rec’s usual calendar was disrupted in 2013 because of a major project to level the field and install land drains. The football club had to borrow a pitch elsewhere, and the Rotary Club fireworks and Chislehurst Rocks were moved. Despite the wettest winter in history, the grass is now growing and things are back to normal.
Chislehurst Rocks is held at the Rec every year. Keep an eye on our events page for the date of next years free music festival.
The Football Foundation and Chislehurst Playing Fields Association funded most of the pitch improvements. Fresh applications can now be made to them for further grants to redevelop the pavilion. This will include facilities for both footballers and general park users alike. Think coffee, ice creams and loos! Walden Rec and the playground are unaffected by the works.
Chislehurst Rec can be accessed from Walden Road, Empress Drive and the High Street. Limited on-street parking is available in Walden Road and Empress Drive, but it is only a short walk from the main High Street car park. The Library car park is even easier as it has a footpath leading directly into the Rec. Parking in both car parks is free after 6.30pm and on Sundays.
For more information on the Rec, please visit the Friends of the Rec website.