Oyster Spoke 1 of 8, Routes into London for hybrid bikes using Oyster stations.
- Total Distance: 41.0k
- Total Ascent: 77m
- Highest Point: 172m
- Lowest Point: 0m
The River Wandle is about 11 miles long and passes through the South London Boroughs of Croydon, Sutton, Merton, and Wandsworth to join the River Thames. It originally rose from a spring in South Croydon, but as Croydon grew, became an open sewer and was culverted and covered over, so it now appears to start at Waddon Ponds.
The river was heavily industrialised in the 17th and 18th centuries, particularly tobacco and textiles, becoming one of the hardest-working rivers in the world, with 90 mills along its length, and by the 1960s, was officially declared a sewer.
Subsequent cleanups of the river have led to a dramatic improvement in water quality leading to a return of the river’s once famous Brown Trout and other fish. As part of this cleanup, the Wandle Trail was created which runs for 8 miles along its valley, supporting both pedestrians and cyclists, and providing a green corridor from the River Thames to the North Downs.
Takes Route 22 from Tattenham Corner to Woodmansterne where it joins Route 20 and the off-road Wandle Trail to Earlsfield. Continues via London Network 3 and 5 to Battersea Park before following CS8 and Route 4 to Tower.
The Route leaves Tattenham Corner station and drops briefly down to pick up Sustrans Route 22 to climb again and cross a couple of major roads, heading across local playing fields before reaching Banstead. At the end of the High Street, local roads are picked up to reach Woodmansterne where Route 20 takes over, also including the Avenue Verte, London to Paris route.
A sharp descent follows to reach Oaks Park with its cafe, before crossing over into the Little Woodcote estate and its weatherboarded houses. Turning north, Route 20 heads through the outskirts of Wallington and Carshalton, before reaching the River Wandle.
Initially on suburban roads, the route soon is in a green corridor, only emerging to cross major roads. It soon reaches Morden Hall Park, managed by the National Trust with its cafe, circling the open parkland before crossing the Croydon-Wimbledon tramway and continuing North. The green corridor narrows and there are more suburban roads, but the route continues to follow the course of the Wandle to Earlsfield.
Here it turns off Route 20, but continues on the Avenue Verte, using instead London Cycle Network 3 to head east uphill past Wandsworth cemetery to reach first Wandsworth and then Clapham Commons. Just past the pond and cafe, LCN 5 is picked up to head north across the common and drop down through Battersea to its Park. A circuit of the Park is followed before emerging onto Chelsea Bridge and Cycle Superhighway 8.
This follows the northern Embankment to reach Lambeth Bridge where Sustrans Route 4 is joined, crossing over and passing Lambeth Palace and the London Eye to reach Southwark and Borough Market. Finally it heads past London Bridge to reach the southern approaches to Tower Bridge.
In addition, there are other descriptions of the route, namely a video guide to the route, a route-card with turn-by-turn routing and a information leaflet with maps and points of interest: