Somewhere inside the woods at the Sanderstead Plantation is the highest point in Croydon at 575 feet. If you consider that the top of Croham Hurst is 477 feet above sea level, and the summit at Addington Hills is 460 feet, then it is worth seeking out the high spot in Croydon. Our first problem was finding the woods as I had not heard of the Sanderstead Plantation before. I can now tell you it is in the woods that run alongside the Addington Road and not far from the Selsdon Park Hotel.
Once inside the Plantation there are a number of paths to explore but which one would lead to the summit?
A variety of Oak, Elm, Beech, Cherry and Sweet Chestnut trees were planted here and are still in evidence today. The steep north escarpment was unsuitable for arable farming so the trees provided shelter from the North Wind for the Manor House called Mountwood as well as timber for heating.
In 1930 The Coulsdon and Purley Urban District Council bought the Plantation to be used as metropolitan open land and during the Second World War it was requisitioned as a reservoir. A brick built structure in a depression in the wood that might have been fed by a natural spring on the edge of the plantation where the sandy soil meets the chalk. We found the spring, that was totally dry, but no sign of the summit. Unfortunately the reservoir was deemed unsafe and was filled in in 1969 so no clues there to help us reach our destination.
We thought we were destined not to find the summit. Then fortunately we came across a sign attached high up to a tree pointing to a path that would lead us to the top.
Finally a notice on a tree confirmed we had reached the highest point in Croydon!
I have to admit the view from the top surrounded by woodland was rather uninspiring. Nevertheless, by walking to the edge of the plantation we were rewarded with views of Croydon and the City of London.
One our way out we came across this house made of logs, cloth and coloured stones.