The Friends of Beckenham
Ravensbourne and Tributaries
at Caesar's Well at Keston Ponds but we are told that that source of
water is taken by Thames Water before it reaches Beckenham Place Park.
Other tributaries in the Bromley Common/Orpington area feed the
Ravensbourne that runs through the park and on to Catford/Lewisham and
into the Thames at Deptford Creek.
On its way to the Thames other
tributaries join it, the Pool joins just before Catford Bridge and the
Quaggy joins it at Lewisham Station. The Pool river itself has
collected water from the Beck and Chaffinch brook. These join at Cator
Park after flowing via Kelsey Park (the Beck) and South Norwood Country
Park (the Chaffinch).
Some stretches of the River are conduited
under Urban development or in concrete channels. There are some areas
which approach a natural watercourse in appearance and some works have
been done to return the river to a more environmentally friendly
habitat in areas along the Quaggy, Pool and Ravensbourne. Water quality
varies as the rivers on this system acquire road run-off from rainfall
and some pollution from industry and domestic sites along its course.
Shopping trolleys make their way to Deptford Creek where it has been
found they make a good breeding environment for fish! Flood control
practices have changed over the years from conduiting and concrete
channels to allowing the rivers to return to natural riverbeds. The
Environment Agency has removed tow boards along the river in the park
and are shortly to remove concrete channeling further up river in
Glassmill Lane, Bromley. The Quaggy has had extensive works in the
Kidbrooke park area and The Ravensbourne has had new channels excavated
through Ladywell Fields. There have in the past been serious floods in
Beckenham and Lewisham from the Ravensbourne and its tributaries.
However, this has to be considered the result of building on flood
plains, a practice which we still pursue even though we know that
periodic flooding will occur.
are regularly seen in Beckenham Place Park and other stretches of
river. The lake in Kelsey Park has an island which has become a Heronry
over the last 20 years or so. Little Egrets are now a regular visitor
to the river and ponds along it. Snipe have been seen in harsh winters.
rivers were once the source of energy for light industry having flour
mills and cutlery factories along their route. There were also several
artificial lakes such as still exists in Kelsey Park. The ornamental
lake in Beckenham Place has dried up during the 20th Century through a
combination of poor imperviousness of the clay lining, lack of
maintenance and drying up or diversion of the water source which was
via the now 'extinct' Foxgrove moated farm. Maps from the 19th century
show a watercourse from Kelsey park via Foxgrove Farm to the lake in
BPP and thence, to the Ravensbourne. This would have been cut off by
the building of the railway we assume.