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Sarf London - Wandle Trail

clairelcclairelc Posts: 49
edited August 2011 in Commuting chat
*london centric post alert*

Having just moved house to colliers wood, and starting a new job next month based in westminster, I'm planning my new commute to work. I want to cycle up the Wandle Trail, then head along the thames (either CS8 or along the north side of the river, to be decided.) It's not the shortest route, but I think the nicest.

I went on a practice run yesterday (the CS8 version), and my one concern is with nights getting shorter and whether or not the Wandle Trail is safe to cycle on in the dark - a) I didn't really see huge numbers of streelamps along the route, but it was daylight when I rode it, b) is it the sort of miscreant hangout that's best avoided after dark?

Anyone here ride along it have any thoughts? Am I best off coming home a different, but safer way, or with a massive set of lights is it safe enough to do?


  • DonDaddyDDonDaddyD Posts: 12,689
    Lived in Wimbledon for 3 years, what is the Wandle trail?

    Personally I'd ride CS7.
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  • bigmatbigmat Posts: 5,132
    Runs alongside the river Wandle. I'd leave it to walkers and fishermen myself, I reckon bikes should either be on the road or on proper wide open trails - unless you have kids in tow. Still, if you do decide to ride that way, I reckon it could potentially be a bit dodgy after dark. Not a terrible area, but not the nicest either. Possibly I've watched too much Crimewatch, but cycling along the riverside after dark feels like a reconstruction waiting to happen...
  • SketchleySketchley Posts: 4,235
    Hi clairelc

    When I started commuting from Worcester park I used this all the time. You can get between Collierswood and Wandsworth with hardly any cycling on the road, you only have to go on the road around Earlsfield. It was / is very useful if you are at all nervous about starting to cycle on the road, however these days if I go that way I use Garrett Lane between Plough Lane and Wandsworth as it's much quicker than the trail, mainly due to the surface (compacted gravel mostly), it is bus lane most of the way to Wandsworth. If you are at all worried about riding on London's roads you can stay off them with a bit of planning, from Wandsworth follow the cycle paths until you get to Wandsworth bridge which has cycle paths on the pavement going over them. Then hang a right and cycle along the road to Sainsbury's, go through Sainsbury's car park and you can get on to the River Path. Follow that as far as you can and you'll have to come back on the road briefly to go under the railway, through Chelsea harbour and on to Lots Road. At the end of Lots Road the pathway next to the river is shared use all the way to Battersea Bridge where you can pick up the CS8. From there all the way (almost) to Westminster the CS8 is mandatory cycle path so if they obey the rules there will be no motor vehicles.

    I still occasionally use a bit of the trail between Collierswood (Sainsbury's) and Plough Lane which is tarmac and goes under the railway and therefore cuts out the hill at Hayden's Road train station. But these days I do tend to stick to the road.

    Most mornings once I have got to Collierswood I cycle directly up the CS7 this is good route to ride in on nice wide cycle paths and bus lanes although not as flat as Garratt Lane. The CS7 starts getting little hairy after Clapham South but as you are going to Westminster you could ride across Clapham Common then down Queens Town Road and Across Battersea Bridge which is also a nice route.

    @DDD you can also keep following the trail after Collierswood going through Morden Park then onto Beddington Park which is down your way somewhere. Nice ride in the summer but don't expect a commuter PB if you ride all the way to or from Wandsworth on it.

    Oh last point, watch out for the small black flies when the weathers is a bit warmer as you don't want a mouthful of them (this was the other big reason to stop using it!)

    Good luck with the commute, there are a fair few of us on here use that go through Collierswood and on into London so shout if you have any questions or need any help.

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  • SketchleySketchley Posts: 4,235
    Oh I wouldn't ride it in the dark. Part's of it are lit but not all of it.

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  • rjsterryrjsterry Posts: 22,343
    I live at the southern end of the Wandle Trail and it's very much a walking/weekend pootling route from Carshalton up to Morden. Some streetlights, but I'm not sure I'd use it at night - lots of windy narrow back lanes and the like. CS7 or Sketchley's suggestion sound a better bet.
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  • OrigamistOrigamist Posts: 807
    edited August 2011
    If you mean the stretch from Merton Abbey Mills to Morden Hall, I'd be wary of cycling along that part of the Wandle Trail after dark, particularly if you're on your own.

    If you mean the bit along Wandle Park/Nature Reserve, I'd be a bit less worried. That said, I'd rather take my chances with road traffic as oppsoed to drunks, youths, and the local loon on an underused and poorly lit cycle facility that cost more than a million quid to implement.

    Edit - I'd check with the Merton Cycling Campaign to see if they have guidance about the path in general.
  • clairelcclairelc Posts: 49
    Hmm, lots of food for thought.

    I do already commute to vauxhall, and am well versed in the CS7 (previously from tooting, now from colliers wood) turning off at stockwell on to S. Lambeth Rd. I can obviously use this to get up to westminster just as easily, it's just not the nicest of routes in my opinion.

    @Sketchley I was thinking Garrett Lane as an alternative actually, so might check that out up to wandsworth and over the bridge into town. Haven't had call to cycle along there before but worth a try.

    I'm not the fastest commuter by any stretch of the imagination, so I'm less worried about speed on the route - I'm happy to go a longer route if it's a nice way to get to work and back. But perhaps the wandle trail is a summer pootle home option, than everyday. hmmm.
  • OrigamistOrigamist Posts: 807
    Claire, if you dont already know it - Clapham Common, Rectory Grove, Larkhall Rise, Larkhall Lane, Meadow Rd, Ravensdon St will get you to Kennington with fewer traffic lights, a bit of greenery and less traffic than CS7 or 8.
  • SketchleySketchley Posts: 4,235
    If you are going to try Garrett Lane, here's my recommendation although I don't know where exactly you live.

    Look at the map here ... src=6&z=15

    Now look for Mead Path in the middle. At the top of this heading north is wide tarmac path that is also lit and fine in the evening that comes out on Plough Lane next to the Ford showroom. Turn right down Plough Lane, then left at roundabout then left again a next roundabout on to Garrett Lane. The follow Garratt Lane all the way to the top then go straight across and follow the blue tarmac to Wandsworth Bridge.

    Genesis Equilibrium - FCN 3/4/5
  • clairelcclairelc Posts: 49
    Sketchley wrote:

    Now look for Mead Path in the middle. At the top of this heading north is wide tarmac path that is also lit and fine in the evening that comes out on Plough Lane next to the Ford showroom. Turn right down Plough Lane, then left at roundabout then left again a next roundabout on to Garrett Lane. The follow Garratt Lane all the way to the top then go straight across and follow the blue tarmac to Wandsworth Bridge.

    thanks - i'll check this out, although from the description, and following it on google maps I have a sneaking suspicion I followed this part yesterday when I tried the route!

    Time for a few investigatory bike rides to try out different routes me-thinks.
  • I suspect the lighting will make it hard to use even if it is otherwise 'safe'. I've got a few darkish roads on my route since the streetlights are very widely spaced and the road surfce isn't perfect. And even with a decent headlight (someone shouted at me to dim it today - it was at that point), it still doesn't really light the road up enough to show potholes etc more than a metre or so ahead.
  • I drop the boy off at the childminders in Colliers Wood in the mornings then turn back to tooting broadway and turn left up Garrett Lane all the way to Wandsworth and on to Hammersmith.

    Garrett Lane isn't too bad in the mornings though it is really variable, some days I fly through and others I feel like I'm stuck at lights all the time. There's a load of gas works there at the moment which isn't great but it would take you straight to the start of the CS to Westminster.

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