This is an apparently private pocket park in Bermondsey that’s open to the public, if you want to push on the gate and go inside.

It nearly wasn’t a pocket park though, as the property developer of the houses next to it had tried to build houses on the former Hartley Jam Factory site, which in 2008 was still an empty plot of land. However, the developer and residents locked horns over a number of issues, and eventually, the plot of land was saved to be turned into a community garden.

There was another dispute in 2019 with the garden being locked, and while there doesn’t seem to have been a public confirmation that it has been unlocked, the gates are certainly not locked any more.

So, just off Tower Bridge Road is a road with a very high hedge and a gate that you can push on to go inside.

The pocket park is split into zones, with a play area, a lawn, and a seating area, all linked by a winding path and gravel areas. Naturally, visiting in winter never shows a garden at its best, but the contrast of the white birch tree trunks against the evergreen hedging looks good.

There is a second small park behind the public one, through a gate that doesn’t look like it’s been opened in a very long time, but you can hear the other park as it has a water feature at the base of the brick chimney.

There’s also a very nervous cat who seemed quite happy to watch me wander around but dart away and hide if I ever looked at it for too long.

There are notices that the park is private property but that it’s also open from dawn to dusk each day — keeping in line with their planning obligation.


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