Opened in May 1894, the 96 acre Peckham Rye Park can be found just south of the centre of Peckham in South London.
Much neglected after the Second World War, the Friends of Peckham Rye Park was formed in 1995 in an effort to lobby the local authority to return the park to its former glory and to involve local people in its management and upkeep. Visit today and you’ll find yourself in one of South London’s jewels…
The most attractive features of the park are the very sculptural Japanese Garden, coloured by immature Japanese maples with their beatiful rusty red leaves, and Sexby Gardens. Sexby Gardens has a six-spoked design centering on a fountain with arbors and paths finished in york stone – later in the year the four corner pergolas will be covered in roses, but at this time of the year its the north-south oriented arbors that are the focus of the space – they’re draped in fountains of clematis montana which are, quite frankly, breathtaking.
Elsewhere in the park you’ll find an arboretum featuring many rare species of trees, a cafe, a lake, a children’s play area and also a community wildflower garden established by the Friends of Peckham Rye Park on the site of the old depot – if you’re local to the area and feel like getting your hands dirty there’s a monthly ‘maintenance day’ from 2pm on the first Sunday of every month. For those of gentler years there’s even a well-tended bowling green – I was taught to play bowls by my grandfather at an early age, and take it from me that its a great game of skill and patience. The calm nature of the green is rather spoilt by this fellow that sits on one corner – a rhododendron in the most violent shade of pink (I promise that there’s no colour processing in the following photograph – it really is that vivid!).
Peckham has always had a reputation for being one of the less attractive parts of London – a visit to Peckham Rye Park will show you different! If you’re interested in helping out see the Friends of Peckham Rye Park website here, and you can have a look at all of the photographs of my visit here.