Norwhere Land Norwood, owns a sonic vagueness inside its name, where it’s neither wood, nor something else, an implied other option, a missing word, lost along the way. That said, it was once wood: The Northwood, not of the NORTH of England, but north of Croydon, before you reach the Thames. At some point, the old woods were given…
It is more than possible to lose yourself inside the wood. Not, of course, physically in a Hansel and Gretel way, more like released, albeit temporarily, from the cares of everyday life.
I like to start at the western end, off Finch Avenue. To get there, I walk over a railway bridge that looks nothing like a railway bridge, then before reaching the corner, hop up the low wall between a hawthorn and a young oak, and then like many others, cut across the desire path worn into the grass.
Nationally, many, if not quite all, orchards have vanished; having been abandoned or grubbed up because there’s no longer any money in them.
Yet, in Lambeth one inspired and dedicated group of people have set out to plant a series of new orchards, filling South London with saplings of hope.
The pervading spirit of some places hangs quite obviously in the air. Even if you’re only passing through and not looking very hard, the distinctive atmosphere will soon make itself apparent.
West Norwood isn’t one of those places.