Lisa visits a piece of hidden London right in her own backyard. What secret and undiscovered gems are in your local area?
The Tarn, in Mottingham, South East London, is a nature reserve centering around a small lake. The reserve features an old Ice Well, which was used by the kitchen staff of Eltham Lodge. ‘Tarn’ is actually an old term for lake, and can also be found in other parts of the UK, most notably Tarn Hows, in Cumbria. It’s also the name of a river in France.
The Tarn was originally part of the grounds of Eltham Palace, which is situated slightly further up Court Road, and during the Civil War, much of the land was bought by Captain Nathaniel Rich, who demolished a lot of the buildings, slaughtered the deer, and stripped the woods of most of their trees. After the Restoration of the Crown, the Tarn was encorporated into nearby Eltham Lodge, which was built by Sir John Shaw, who took over the lease of the Palace estate from the Crown in 1663. Eltham Lodge is now the site of Royal Blackheath Golf Club, situated next door to The Tarn, with the original Lodge House serving as the Club House. Find out more about Royal Blackheath Golf Club here, and Eltham Lodge here.
Eltham Palace is administered by English Heritage and more information can be found here.
The Tarn is easily accessible by public transport, with buses running between Eltham, Bromley, Catford, and Chislehurst stopping directly outside the entrance. Additionally Mottingham Railway Station is on the other side of the road from The Tarn’s entrance, with fast trains between Central London and the South East. Parking is also available at the Railway Station.
Find out more about The Tarn here.
The Friends Of The Tarn help adminster The Tarn alongside The Royal Borough of Greenwich.