At one time threatened with development for housing, Morden Park is one of London’s hidden gems, an area of natural woodland and parkland hidden behind housing from the 1930′s which followed the opening of Morden Underground Station at the end of the Northern Line in 1926.
At the centre of the park is a large circular mound, thought to have been an ancient burial mound, though no archaeological finds have been discovered. The Roman Road, Stane Street, (built 76 AD to connect London with Colchester) once ran through the park though it is now totally hidden about a foot underneath the current ground level.
The parkland was enclosed as an estate in the 1770′s for the merchant and distiller John Ewart, with Morden Park House today being used for weddings, and contains many ancient English Oaks which are older than the creation of the estate, with some dead trunks remaining as sculptural silhouettes against the cloudy sky of early June and providing micro habitats for a host of animals, fungi, vegetation and insects.
The estate has several different natural habitats, including meadowlands with views back towards Morden, wetlands and wildlife habitats. Sadly, some modern additions are pretty incongruous – including an apparently unloved bandstand and exercise equipment by The Great Outdoor Gym Company. Why do they have to be so ugly?
There are no lakes, but the small Pyl Brook runs through the Park, in part through a concrete channel and could be more of an asset.
A hidden gem, enjoyed by the local community and a haven for wildlife, which is part of the Capital Woodlands Project – a London Biodiversity Partnership project which aims to raise appreciation and awareness of these woodlands, including involving local schools in planting of new trees.