A former golf course in Lewisham has been transformed into south-east London’s biggest park. Our writer, a local, explores the new gardens, swimming lake and wildflower meadows ahead of its opening this weekend
Ancient oaks and luxuriant lawns stretch away from a spectacular Palladian mansion. A crescent-shaped lake glints amid trees in a shallow valley. People linger over picnics and wander off to woodland glades, kids kick balls around, soul music washes over us and people emerge from the mansion holding glasses of wine.
This isn’t a summer function at a stately home but a “new” municipal park in south-east London, nine miles from Trafalgar Square, on the cusp of its official opening on 20 July. The opening coincides with a week-long festival marking London becoming a National Park City (20-28 July), a Mayor of London initiative designed to make the capital greener and healthier.