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Report - - River Ravensbourne, Bromley (December 2020) | UK Draining Forum | 28DaysLater.co.uk

Report - River Ravensbourne, Bromley (December 2020)


TheReturningCynic

28DL Full Member
28DL Full Member
The Location
The River Ravensbourne - a "lost river" - is located in South East London, flowing through the boroughs of Bromley, Lewisham and Greenwich, it rises at Keston and eventually joins the Thames at Deptford. Despite efforts at uncovering the river as part of a rejuvenation effort in Lewisham, it's still covered in Bromley - specifically beneath the Town Center - before eventually flowing through... erh... local gardens.

For a better - or more reliable! - history, check out Wikipedia - or the rather impressive londonslostrivers.com.
Having previously visited this quite a lot around 10 years ago, the purpose of this visit was really to try out a new gadget I'd bought - an endoscope - with the idea of peeking through various manholes and hatches to see if I could attempt to map the exact route of the river. Alas, being a bit over eager, I completely forgot it...

The Explore
With my bags packed, the river depth checked, access points checked on Google Street View, and batteries replaced - off I went. Now before I go on I feel I need to tip my hat to those of you talented lads and lasses who manage to take good photographs in the must dull of surroundings: I'm not one of you, and quite quickly my dSLR went back in my bag!

Entering through one of the less-blatant entrances, I dropped in between two branches of bog standard precast concrete box culvert. Crouching down this section of piping made me envy dwarves in a way that I haven't since the desperate teenage years where Snow White looked quite appealing...



This is where I began to hear the familiar - if still unnerving - sound of traffic going over manhole covers. Even though it's to be expected, there's still part of mind that immediately thinks I'm going to bump in to other wanderers lurking down there.







Veering off near where the river flows in to nearby gardens, I began the journey towards the Ravensbourne's hidden treasure: a brick-built stretch of tunnel that signals the start of a branch that - I'm led to believe - eventually joins the South East London drainage network. Never having had much luck researching drain-related topics, I'm not sure about the specifics of this. (Although, having previously spent far too long following the boring and small stretch of precast, it's not something I'm particularly open to investigating myself..!).







After a deceptively long trek, one which had me longing for a dinghy or a paddle board, I eventually found the light at the end of the tunnel: a stretch of brickwork that runs under a train station, and likely therefore belonging to an older era - one where workmanship extended belong precast concrete.

Alas, a cold December afternoon was clearly the prime time for gardening work to be carried out along the exposed inspection chamber of the river... meaning that my plans of making the most of the natural lighting were scuppered.








With light gradually fading above ground, I called it a day - something which sounds incredibly bizarre to many, but I've always been quite paranoid of light leaking through manhole covers. (The last thing I'd want is to make it look like there's a light-show beneath the manhole: that's how you get infested with YouTubers looking for underground nightclubs after all...)

And, talking of YouTubers, no report is complete without the mark of a true "ruthless explorer" - the silhouette looking in to the distance. (I mean, if I didn't take those kind of photos, what would I use for thumbnails when I start my spooky YouTube channel?!)



Conclusion
Cheers for sticking through the report - it may not be the most interesting, nor the most photogenic, but it was a fun 90 minute stroll around a location I've not visited in over 10 years: as much a reminiscence as a photo-shoot. I think I only covered around 700 meters in the end - in part because I was avoiding too much stoopiness, and because I had intended to re-visit with a friend to take some "proper shots"... then Tier 4 happened.
 

tallginge

more tall than ginger tho.....
Regular User
Thanks, enjoyed that. The brick pipes been 'done' before and is on here (if yer weren't already aware) Pics are great too - nowt wrong with them. Shining yer torch thru the keyholes is part of the fun. I enjoy leavin people questioning their sanity.... "nah that lid didn't just move on its own - couldn't've" or "did that gully just tell me to fuck off?"
 

chills

Queller of the uprising
Regular User
Nothing wrong with that report, proper enjoyed that and love a good simple deceptive drain/culvert; they’re sometimes the best! Nice job overall and some good shots!

Definitely go check out the system further down stream, never know what you might find; that’s what I’m mapping around Birmingham currently!
 

Calamity Jane

i see beauty in the unloved, places & things
Regular User
Enjoyed this, its not that far from me tbf, and maybe one day I will put on my big girl pants. But for now, I will enjoy yours & everyone elses photos & research :thumb
 

TheReturningCynic

28DL Full Member
28DL Full Member
Sorry for the delayed reply; I feel a bit rude! Just to let everyone know I really appreciate the replies and the warm welcome I've had so far! :)

Thanks, enjoyed that. The brick pipes been 'done' before and is on here (if yer weren't already aware) Pics are great too - nowt wrong with them. Shining yer torch thru the keyholes is part of the fun. I enjoy leavin people questioning their sanity.... "nah that lid didn't just move on its own - couldn't've" or "did that gully just tell me to fuck off?"
Even when I wasn't getting out and seeing places - I was a bit of an armchair explorer with my old maps and google-fu! I've never had a great deal of luck with getting details on anything like this though. I think I actually knew the previous user who saw more of it, and I know I actually visited with him/his friend many moons ago. I certainly think delving a bit deeper (badum tsh) may be required though!

This made me crack up more than it should've, but I can just imagine my reaction if I'd had a few beers and was walking back from the pub just to have a manhole cover try and get lippy with me. :p

Nothing wrong with that report, proper enjoyed that and love a good simple deceptive drain/culvert; they’re sometimes the best! Nice job overall and some good shots!

Definitely go check out the system further down stream, never know what you might find; that’s what I’m mapping around Birmingham currently!
Thanks! I've tried to add a bit of comedy and a story in to my reports; I may have the sense of humour of a child though - so I'm never sure if it actually reads OK out of my head!

It's certainly a deceptive one; growing up I loved Bromley, and ate many a KFC in the park. It's painfully obvious once you've seen it! I've tried to map out as muuch as I can from my the comfort and warmth of my desk, but when lockdown and the like relaxes I'll have to have some fun and see where it takes me - I'm certainly getting itchy feet at the moment.

Enjoyed this, its not that far from me tbf, and maybe one day I will put on my big girl pants. But for now, I will enjoy yours & everyone elses photos & research :thumb
Thanks!

Hah, if you want a relatively easy one that is interesting enough to spend a couple of hours in - I can thoroughly recommend it here! I'm glad I chose this one originally as I found it different to anything I'd really done before; and there were a few things that caused me quite a fright. (Not ashamed to say I was absolutely scared witless the first time I heard the echo of a tyre on a manhole cover!)
 

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