Hidden treasures: The Tarn in Eltham
OK, before I start I just know some will be scoffing. Hidden treasure? Well, many people in my experience do not seem to know about this place so yep, I’m going with that headline.
Anyway, now I’ve hopefully preempted the inevitable comments, what is the Tarn and where is it? Well, it’s a bird sanctuary just over the road from Mottingham station (though the address is Court Road, Eltham) with meandering paths surrounding a lake. Which has a tad of algae.
There’s plenty of birdlife on the water so I’m not sure it’s doing much damage, but then again this really isn’t my area of expertise.
A bridge crosses the lake offering views of birdlife below.
There’s a very large number of ducks and geese strutting about looking for a feed.
Clearly it’s good pickings here given the sheer amount of them.
A separate butterfly area is located to the rear upon entering nearest Mottingham station.
A friends group meets every Sunday for tea and I’m sure they would be raising it if a great concern.
According to their website the friend’s group is meeting every Sunday in July:
“Tea in the Tarn will also be held on the following dates from 2.30 to 4.30pm with homemade cakes, tea, coffee and cold drinks:
Sunday 7 July
Sunday 14 July
Sunday 21 July
Sunday 28 July
All our events are free and suitable for all ages.
We always have lovely cake and teas and coffee. Our events are run entirely by volunteers and any donations generously received at events are put towards improvements to the Tarn.”
They also hold volunteering sessions every 11am to 3pm.
Originally a part of Eltham Palace’s gardens, the site was purchased in 1934 and became a public park.
There’s a silo-like structure in one corner which was formerly an ice well for Eltham Lodge. Both the lodge and Tarn were formerly part of Eltham’s Great Park. A golf course now occupies much of the land.
A five minute walk north will take you to Eltham Palace. Sadly at £31 for me and my partner we gave that a skip. Children over five are an extra £9.20. It’s free for English Heritage members but at £105 a year for two adults it’s pretty steep.
Their website makes a big play about free car parking in 2019. Not much use if using public transport.
The site is also just a 15 minute walk to Eltham High Street.
Bus routes 124, 126 and 161 pass the site offering direct links from Woolwich and Greenwich, though it may be better just taking a train to London Bridge then another train to Mottingham station.