Monday, 13 October 2008

A patch of green in West London

Kew green is a lovely spot that almost has the feel of a village green, with its elegant Georgian houses, pubs, pretty St Anne's Church and even a cricket pitch (home to the local Kew Cricket Club).

It was mentioned in a Parliamentary Survey of Richmond taken in 1649, described as 'a piece of common or uninclosed ground called Kew Green, lying within the Township of Kew, conteyning about 20 acres.' Cricket was first recorded being played on the Green in 1737, and the Green itself was enclosed by a private Act of Parliament in 1824, preserving it in its current form. The Green is beautifully maintained, with mature trees around the perimeter. In one corner of the Green is an old horse pond, which has a small island and planted pond edges, enabling a range of water birds to nest in peace and safety.

Alas, it would all be nicer still were it not bisected by the A205, better known as the South Circular. It's a hopelessly busy road, and entirely unsuitable for the amount of traffic that now uses it. (An apt comment I once heard is that, while the North Circular really is a road, the South Circular is just a collection of signposts). Crossing it in the area of the Green requires taking your life in your hands. (It also means that the park is only suitable for children who are fully aware of traffic.)

Still, the Kew Gardens end is a lovely enclave, the church of St Anne is worth a visit in its own right, and the sound of the traffic soon quietens down as you walk towards the entrance to Kew Gardens.

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