You are here: Home | Community involvement | About the Green Chain

About the Green Chain

The Green Chain is a network of over 300 open spaces in South East London that stretches from Erith Riverside in Kent to the more urban green spaces of Peckham and Nunhead within inner London. The Green Chain has sometimes been compared to a mosaic or a patchwork quilt because within it there are such a wide variety of open spaces to discover- from ancient woodlands and wild nature reserves to playing fields and golf courses. It even has a park reserved for dinosaurs! Much or the Green Chain is on the urban fringe- so called because the open spaces are located on the edge of town.

What does the term “Green Chain” mean?

It means that the open spaces that comprise the landscape of the Green Chain are collectively protected through the local authority planning policy, having the same protected status as the Green Belt land. This means that any built development on the Green Chain - roads, housing, factories etc- is generally not allowed so that people living in our capital city can continue to enjoy the open spaces for health and recreation - the “countryside on your doorstep” so to speak...

What is the Green Chain Walk?

The Green Chain Walk is the name of the sign-posted network of footpaths that link the open spaces together and bring a sense of cohesion to the wider landscape . The walk is 50 miles long, so you would not be expected to complete it in a single day! Most people do it in chunks of up to 5 miles or so and it is conveniently linked train stations nearby.

How long has the Green Chain existed?

The Green Chain Policy Document was formally adopted in 1977. Subsequently the status of the Green Chain has been enshrined within local authority planning policy. The pioneering role of the Green Chain has been more recently recognized through initiatives such as the All London Green Grid and Living Landscapes.

Who manages the Green Chain?

The Green Chain is managed through The Green Chain Joint Officers’ Working Party reporting to elected representatives of the 5 partner local authorities. The day to day operations is carried out by the Green Chain Project Officer, who has a coordinating role with key stakeholders.

The Working Party develops policies and programmes to:

  • Protect and enhance the natural and cultural heritage of the Green Chain
  • Enhance public understanding and enjoyment of the area.
  • Work with partners and stakeholders to deliver these objectives.

The partnership is core funded by the local authorities of Bexley , Lewisham, Royal Greenwich and Southwark.

How much open space does SE London really have?

Despite housing growth and urban expansion, thanks to the foresight of our town planners and community stakeholders SE London has managed to retain a surprising amount of green space. The Green Chain alone comprises over 7 square miles of open space- that’s 7 times the size of the City of London !

How will I know that I’m on the Green Chain?

The most obvious physical indicators are the green directional sign posts for the Green Chain Walk that are dotted around the network. There are also large information panels at key sites along the way to help you to orientate yourself. Less obvious are the 50 or so rustic style benches that offer a welcome resting place on the Green Chain and made from recycled driftwood from the Thames River .

What activities are available for a family on the Green Chain?

There is a wide variety of activities available for all age groups throughout the Green Chain including; walking, cycling, horse riding, visiting local beauty spots etc. Have a look at the attractions or walking section of this website. A quarterly calendar of events tells you about organized events and activities taking place on the Green Chain- a godsend for busy parents!

Where can I get more information on the SE London Green Chain?

If you have explored the Green Chain website and still have some questions, feel free to contact our dedicated information line on 0208 921 5028, and we will get straight back to you.

Can I easily reach the Green Chain by public transport?

The Green Chain is easily accessible by public transport and we have excellent links with South Eastern Railways and the London Overground. The Green Chain is also linked to the Docklands Light Railway (at Woolwich) and London Tramlink (at Beckenham Junction). There are direct rail links from London Victoria and Waterloo and once you are out in the Green Chain there are good bus networks. For all travel enquiries contact Journey Planner on 0843 222 1234 or visit www.tfl.gov.uk.

How can I find out if I live in the Green Chain?

To check which areas fall within the Green Chain boundary visit the interactive map on the Green Chain web site.