Walking on Wimbledon Common

When I wrote Ignoring Gravity I lived in Wimbledon Village, first of all near the tennis club and then later nearer Wimbledon Common. Wimbledon CommonUntil I lived in SW19, I didn’t realise what a village-y place it is. It turned out to be ideal for a writer’s life; for me that involves long hours inside staring at a computer screen, followed by a daily walk in the fresh air for muscle relaxation and creative inspiration. I have drunk a lot of tea, and coffee, in all the cafes in Wimbledon Village. Wasting time, I guess, or thinking time. Prevaricating? Faffing?

Familiarity is key for me, both in the route I walk and in my drinks. Coffee in the morning, tea at every other time. I had my favourite seat in each café, if I arrived to find it taken I would continue strolling to the next place. If my favourite barista was not in the coffee shop – the one who understood that when I ordered a ‘soya wet latte’ I meant ‘no foam’ – I would walk on. Food; most often a granola bar, sometimes pain au raisin. I am a creature of habit. I had my favourite bench by the pond, my favourite paths to walk. Wimbledon CommonWimbledon CommonWimbledon and Putney Common comprise 1140 acres of woodland, scrub and heath. It is thought there have been windmills on the Commons since the 17th century or before, the current windmill was built in 1817 by a local carpenter, Charles March. A surname always associated for me with the family in Louisa M Alcott’s Little Women, but no relation I think to the Wimbledon Marches.

Wimbledon Common

[photo: wimbledonwindmill.org.uk]

Charles March built his windmill in the style of a Dutch hollow post mill, though there seems to be some doubt to why he built it in this style. The building now houses a museum and collection of old woodworking tools, just the thing for an idle writer to browse around.

There are nine meres, or lakes, on the common. All are ideal for a wandering writer to sit on a bench, watch the birdlife, passers-by, and listen to birdsong offset by the background rumble of London and planes overhead lining up for the runway at Heathrow airport. Wimbledon CommonWimbledon CommonI’d lived here some while before I discovered the hidden delight of Cannizaro Park, a quiet corner behind the Cannizaro House Hotel at the village end of Wimbledon Common.Wimbledon CommonWimbledon and Putney Commons are managed by a board of Conservators, click here to read more;
For the history of the Windmill, click here;
To read about Cannizaro Park, click here;
… and for events at Cannizaro House Hotel, click here.

Wimbledon Common


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  1. Hi Sandra,
    Thank-you for this. I have, of course, heard of Wimbledon Common, so very much appreciated being able to see it through your eyes … could imagine walking along those paths, looking out for wombles or perhaps pretending to be one!

  2. What inspiring surroundings! And I had to chuckle while reading about your dedication to a certain routine–I’m the same way. Wonder if it’s a writer’s quirk?