A river runs through…

south norwood streamI’ve been trying to find out more about our little river recently. Where does it start, where does it go and most of all, what is it called?

It’s a lovely little river with seemingly more wildlife every year.  Baby moorhens were spotted last week and in the past I’ve seen ducks living on it and little fish swimming in the various pools. There’s a kingfisher nearby, water voles have been spotted on it’s banks and there are countless insects and birds. As well as being a great asset for wildlife, it’s also a fantastic amenity for us. I’ve often stood and watched it with my daughter, played pooh sticks and  gathered brambles from it’s banks.

The river clearly appears River Ravensbourne catchmenton maps and aerial photographs, but I have yet to find any – including fluvial maps – that name the river. But I think it’s probably the South Norwood Stream.  I know it flows through (or starts) in South Norwood Country Park.

What I find amazing is that our little river eventually flows into the Thames at Deptford Creek. Before that it joins firstly with the Chaffinch Brook at Clockhouse Road, then joins the River Beck to form the Pool River. The Pool River joins the Ravensbourne at Catford Bridge and then the Quaggy at Lewisham.  The map slows the river catchment.


Co-incidently I also found out about the Three Rivers Clean-up project. Now in it’s third year, this project aims to remove invasive plant species, complement work to naturalise as much of the river catchment as possible and give volunteers and opportunity to explore and improve hidden parts of the area. The third clean up starts on Monday 17 June and runs for three weeks. They will be working on our river on Tuesday 18 June, both in the allotment and in Maberley Park. Follow their latest activity on their Twitter feed @3rcu




2 Replies to “A river runs through…”

  1. Hi Jeanette, I can’t provide you with a clear answer for this, but based on contours in South Norwood Country Park it looks like it may have been shifted a bit over the years by developments. It looks as though it may have run directly through the lake in the park which earliest known name is ‘la motes’ meaning the moat, which would have likely have been damned and landscaped back when it used to be part of a estate.

    So that is one name that could be used as an extension. However I think it’s worth checking records with croydon council about 2 local street names to this: ‘Brooklyn’ (meaning Lyn who lives by the stream) and ‘Hambrook’ (meaning hamlet by the stream). If either of these streets precedes recent history then one of them could well be your answer; Lyn Brook or Ham Brook. It’s all a little hazy, but if you have some free time then why not take a gander : )

    I’m doing quite a lot of work on habitat mapping of London’s native environments. Unfortunately i’m not really looking south of Crystal Palace at the moment or I would be able to undertake more research for you. But finding the lost names of rivers and forests has become something of an obsession.

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