The Covid Walks: Coombe antiquities

This circular walk, Norbiton - New Malden - Coombe - New Malden, is suitable for pyjama bottoms or shorts.  You may feel more comfortable wearing a face mask along THE CUT  as it is quite busy. There are opportunities to walk on grass verges rather than paths if you suffer from arthritis. Some background reading is advised to get the most out of this walk.

The walk starts at the Railway bridge over the KINGSTON ROAD at Leigh Close Industrial Estate, where there is a footpath along the railway lines. Can you see the entrance to the footpath in the photo? On the left  is an old Cedar and some Lleyland Cypress trees which goldcrests love. They make a sweet noise, swinging up and down the register of the higher notes, that only people under 50 can hear well. You can search for birdsong here.

Leigh Close industrial estate Kingston Road.

Exit the footpath and you are at Elm road railway crossing and about to enter THE CUT on the right hand side. Do mask-up here if you feel more relaxed as it is very busy and a lot of people depend on the footpath. Three birds feature: house sparrows who couldn't care-less about local residents chicken wire attempts to keep them out of their eaves; dunnocks and wrens along railside land.

Elm road access to The Cut

OPTION 1: At the end of the cut head straight onto the Pipe Track or Cycle path C31 (but then you are on a linear walk, bye bye).

We are turning left up Coombe Road towards Traps Lane. On the right is Christ Church
OPTION 2: Turn down CAMBRIDGE AVENUE  walking through 'the middle' of New Malden Golf Course and the subway under the A3 to join the Beverley Brook  beverley-brook

If you stayed with me then eyes right past the church, to the sedum roof on the church hall, a rarity in the borough. Here sounds of the incessant tinkling, not of angels, but nesting goldfinches. In normal traffic conditions they probably wouldn't be audible.

sedum roof on church hall
goldfinches outside the church
THE MOAT on the east side of TRAPS LANE is private and not open to the public, but here is a little information about it for your interest.
The Moat
This is shown on the 1840 Tithe Map as Napps meadow. In the 1837 Coombe Estate map, it is a pond and wood in Napper meadow. The 'island' had a dwelling at some stage, although generally little is known about it. It is surmised that it was in the rateable land that was included in Madam Traps land c 1758. It is of interest as an example of  priority habitat in the borough and because it may contain amphibians, although only if they can avoid the large carp that can be seen there (source Kingston Archaeological Society, L. Gent).

The Coombe Estate to the north is mentioned in the Domesday Book, where it is referred to as ‘Cumbe’. In 1215, King John awarded Coombe to the nobleman Hugh de Nevill – you can still find a road called ‘Coombe Neville’ to the north of COOMBE LANE WEST and NEVILLE AVENUE off TRAPS LANE.  

A pond in Neville Avenue was once of historic, landscape, ecological and botanical interest and is likely to have evolved from a natural spring. Records from 1679 indicate several fishponds existed within the estate gardens. You are in the COOMBE HOUSE  conservation area.

Grade 11 Listed boundary wall
Coombe House was a large estate built in the 1750s. The house, now demolished, was located at the southwest corner of the intersection of  Coombe Lane and Traps Lane. Its red brick Grade 11 listed boundary walls can still be seen on the west side of Traps Lane. The wall flora is disappointing and there are no spleenworts or other interesting wall plants visible (only invasive ones) see here for listed buildings I saw this  red kite as I slogged up the hill, although they are increasingly common, they can be hard to photograph.

Red kite

At the top of the hill the habitat becomes woodland and a number of woodland birds are heard including blackcap and coal tits. There are a number of Options.

OPTION 3: Coombe wood. This will feature on the next walk.
OPTION 4: Warren Road and Coombe estate on the right hand side there is a public footpath signposted and it is possible to cross the golf course

Photo credit Jenny Kingston Ramblers

OPTION 5: Stay with me for a butchers at the Coombe Conduit on the corner of Lord Chancellors Walk. This is magnificent Oak territory.

Continue west along COOMBE LANE WEST until DICKERAGE ROAD  and cross the road walking south towards the TRIANGLE. Here you can join DICKERAGE LANE  and enter the recreation ground where there is a stunning black poplar

black poplar

Star of Bethlehem
Hoary cress
There are two plants characteristic of the 'ecotone' or urban fringe noteworthy on the journey. A star of Bethlehem probably from rubbish dumping and the hoary cress along the bridge abuttment at Warwick road is an archeophyte probably  arriving here via the seeds in sailor's mattresses.

Exit DICKERAGE LANE at KINGSTON ROAD which is where we part, as I head off into KINGSTON REC.


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