Walking the River Quaggy – South London’s Magic River

The River Quaggy, or Quaggy River as it’s marked on maps for some of its course, has beguiled me since I first heard its name mentioned after a screening about twelve years ago. I encountered it for real in Lewisham Town Centre when doing one of the walks for my book, This Other London, and passed it briefly on a walk tracing the River Beck. So one day in November I set out to walk a section of the Quaggy, starting at Lewisham Station where the Quaggy and the Ravensbourne meet before the conjoined rivers become the Deptford Creek and flow into the Thames. The River Quaggy rises at Locksbottom in the London Borough of Bromley and is known as the Kyd Brook in its lower reaches.

On the first walk, this gentle river led us through Lewisham Town Centre to Manor Park, formerly a pig farm, then to Manor Gardens Park with its fantastic library situated in the 18th Century Manor House. We then returned to a stretch of Lee Road to Lee Green and followed the river into Blackheath where we were thwarted by locked park gates and the black of night ended the first walk.

The Quaggy at Manor Park, Lewisham
The Quaggy at Manor Park, Lewisham
The Quaggy at Sutcliffe Park, Eltham
The Quaggy at Sutcliffe Park, Eltham

I returned just over a week ago to pick up the Quaggy trail in Sutcliffe Park, Eltham where the Quaggy is free of its culvert and allowed the flood parts of the surrounding parkland, before it’s corralled back into a concrete channel to make the journey through the suburban realm. It passes beneath the South Circular Road and once again through sports grounds. We walk beside its waters along Mottingham Lane before it enters the grounds of Capel Manor College. Picking up the river on the other side of the College I arrived at Chinbrook Meadows just after sunset to see the Quaggy running free once more meandering through this charming park. My South London river odyssey ended not long afterwards in the dark on New Street Hill looking across at Sundridge Golf Course, where, somewhere between the bunkers, the name of this magical watercourse changes to the Kyd Brook.

What a fantastic walk, at every turn a wonder, making me more determined than ever to dedicate the coming year to walking London’s rivers.


  1. Christine Slike   •  

    Love your river walks!!

    • JohnR   •     Author

      Thanks Christine

  2. Stephen   •  

    You will enjoy walking London’s Rivers. Some have excellent trails (Wandle, Lea/Lee), others are rarely seen (Effra). All give a wonderful look at London from another side. I have watched your videos with envy. I have travelled many of the same paths without such excellent pictures or interesting sidenotes.

    • JohnR   •     Author

      I’ve walked many of them now Stephen but still loads more to explore – The Cray, Beverley Brook, Salmon Brook, Westbourne etc. The ones you mentioned are some of my favourites. I walked the River Shuttle yesterday- another great walk

  3. Pingback: A meander along the River Shuttle in South London - the lost byway

  4. Daniel Low   •  

    Hi John I posted comments a while ago regarding the location of the confluences of the Rivers Effra and Walbrook with the Thames.
    I was pointing out the exact locations but i understand now that with your walks you go more on your Psychogeographical knowledge than necessarily maps so no offence was meant when i posted.
    Love your work

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