13 February 2016
The Hunt For The Pyl Brook by Mike Roberts
It all started with the Pyl Brook, which rises (at least one branch of it) near my home in Wimbledon. As part of my BL2 (Breathing London), I stupidly though it would be a simple task to trace this small brook which becomes the Beverley Brook before flowing into the Thames between Barnes and Putney, having started life in Sutton .
BL1 (Bleeding London) was so simple! You just opened any page of your A-Z and ticked off the roads as you grabbed an image. However you quickly find that the hunt for local streams and brooks is not so simple. They often disappear and reappear some distance away. However time spent online planning will be well worth the effort.
Part of the Pyl Brook is classed as a Local nature reserve or LNR, yet another trip to plan.
When searching for rivers and streams in this fair city, a good place to start is https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Subterranean_rivers_of_London. Even small rivers across London have to make an appearance somewhere along the Thames, even if all you might see is water gushing through a man-made exit. See the above link for good examples. Over the centuries man has been quite happy to hide away pesky water courses; there are many examples within the Square Mile, and whatever The City can do is good enough for the rest of us.
If you are looking for hidden Rivers and Streams, can I suggest that you turn on Terrain on the Google maps menu top left of the page. You may find you need to switch between on and off a few times but watch out for a dirty grey which flashes on and off, these mark hills and water cannot flow uphill.
Another good resource is: https://www.london.gov.uk/what-we-do/planning/london-plan/current-london-plan/london-plan-chapter-7/blue-ribbon-network-0 which offers a good overview for London's rivers and canals of which there are 16 waterways not including the Thames.
You can see more of my images of the Pyl on my own blog: http://naturalmerton.blogspot.co.uk/