QWAG’s spring stroll visited an appropriate memorial to local campaigner William Willett.
QWAG’s stroll for members and supporters last autumn toured the upper reaches of the Kyd Brook, south of Petts Wood. As we explained at the time, the choice was very deliberate, as it has been said with some justification that QWAG is only interested in the River Quaggy once it enters the Borough of Lewisham at Chinbrook Meadows. The fact that the Quaggy is known as the Kyd Brook in Bromley Borough has helped to reinforce this view – indeed some people are convinced that the two are separate rivers altogether.
QWAG returned to the Kyd Brook for its spring stroll – this time following a circular route south of Chislehurst. This began on Chislehurst Common, followed the Kyd Brook through the National Trust (NT) property of Hawkwood and retuned via Petts Wood (also NT) and St Paul’s Cray Common. QWAG events always seem to be blessed with sunshine recently and this one was no exception, with the temperature nudging the mid-twenties centigrade and hardly a cloud to be seen.
Photos from the walk:
The walkers admire the view across the Kyd Brook valley. Beyond the valley they can see wooded slopes rising up to Farnborough and Keston, and in the distance the North Downs are clearly visible. Although only 20 kilometres from central London the Hawkwood Estate has a distinctly rural feel.
The Kyd Brook leaves the Hawkwood Estate just beyond this bridge. It is confined to channels and culverts immediately downstream where it has been smothered by the railway between Chislehurst and Elmstead Woods. The next place the Kyd Brook can be seen in a semi-natural state is where it crosses Sundridge Park Golf Course.
The buildings of Tong’s Farm nestle into the side of the Kyd Brook valley. The continuance of farming was a condition of the bequest of the Hawkwood Estate to the National Trust. It is currently home to a small flock of sheep and a couple of horses. The walkers pause to contemplate the route ahead into Petts Wood.
The Kyd Brook enters the Hawkwood Estate through a tunnel beneath the railway. It is confined to channels and culverts immediately upstream where it has been overwhelmed by the inter-war suburban sprawl of Petts Wood. The next places the Kyd Brook can be seen in a semi-natural state are upstream of the confluence of the Main and East Branches.
A National Trust memorial in Petts Wood commemorates the donors of the two properties. Colonel Edlmann – then owner of the Hawkwood Estate – purchased the Wood to prevent development and donated the site to the Trust in 1927. Robert Hall donated the greater part of the Hawkwood Estate in 1957. The house and gardens, including Tong Farm, were acquired in 1975 from Francesca Hall.
The walkers check the time using the William Willett memorial sundial. William Willett (1856-1915) was passionate about `daylight saving` – an idea which apparently came to him whilst riding on Chislehurst Common early one summer morning in 1905. He campaigned strongly for this controversial measure to be accepted. Introduced as a temporary war-time contingency in May 1916, it became permanent with the passing of the Daylight Saving Act of 1925. The memorial sundial was unveiled on the 21st May 1927.