HALL PLACE is a Grade I listed Tudor mansion, built for a former Lord Mayor of London, Sir John Champneys, in 1537 using second- hand stone probably from dissolved monastic buildings. It was extended in 1653 by Sir Robert Austin using red bricks creating a central courtyard. The barn was built to store grain and flour from Hall Place Mill. In June 2005 Bexley Heritage Trust received a £2 million grant from the Heritage Lottery Fund to develop and improve the site for the benefit of visitors. This grant enabled the construction of the Riverside Cafe alongside the River Cray, and a new visitor centre. Attached to the visitor centre is the Stables Gallery, another building funded by the grant, which displays works by local artists. Hall Place also has 65 hectares of landscaped gardens and grounds including a topiary lawn, herb garden, tropical garden and long herbaceous cottage garden-styled borders. The Queen’s Beasts topiary display was planted in1953 to commemorate the Queen’s coronation. The former walled garden includes a tropical butterfly house, a garden centre, a display of owls at week-ends and a large vegetable garden. Model gardens have been created to show visitors how to make use of space in small urban gardens. An observation hide has been created overlooking the river.  Specimen trees in the grounds include an Indian bean tree (Catalpa bignonioides), a redwood (Sequoia sempervirens), and a black poplar (Populus nigra) – planted to commemorate the Queen’s Diamond Jubilee in 2012 by the local Mayor and the Deputy Lieutenant Of Bexley. The grounds on the far side of the River Cray are mostly mown grass with mature trees and areas of bushes as well as a rockery, an orchard and an overflow drainage channel for flood water from the River Cray. The river flows through the grounds of Hall Place into the council owned playing fields where large gatherings of gulls may be seen in winter and finally forms the northern boundary of Crayford Rough before flowing through the centre of Crayford. The banks of the river support mature alder trees in the grounds of Hall Place between the bridges where the bird hide may be found.
There are feeders sited here where nuthatch, dunnock, tits and finches feed regularly and moorhens scavenge on the ground.

CRAYFORD ROUGH is a 4.2 hectares area of land which is species rich grassland with native hawthorn scrub and some mature trees. It is suitable for insects, butterflies and birds. Crayford Rough links Hall Place, Crayford Town Centre and Crayford railway station for pedestrians. There is a proposal to build on part of this area which would decimate the orchids which grow there.

BIRDS seen in the area include mistle thrush, woodpeckers, goldfinch, chaffinch, three species of tits, grey wagtail, kingfisher and in winter water rail, siskins in the alders, redwing and fieldfare and black-headed , common and herring gulls on the playing fields. Among the mallard, greylag and Canada geese which are fed by the river next to the visitor centre there have been visits from a stray mandarin duck and a barnacle goose. In summer migrants such as willow warbler, blackcap and chiff-chaff have been seen on Crayford Rough.

Hall Place is located just off the A2 at the foot of Gravel Hill 5 miles from Junction two of the M25.
It is just a fifteen minute walk from Bexley Rail Station and is well served by local bus routes which include 229, 492, B12 and 132 to the foot of Gravel Hill. There is parking on site and superb facilities. For Crayford Rough the nearest station is Crayford Station, Lower Station Road, Crayford, DA1 3PY, and the site is on bus routes 96, 428 and 492. Car parking can be found nearby in a supermarket car park for two hours or in Hall Place so that a combined walk covering both areas can be achieved.

Location

Postcode: DA5 1PQ

Latitude / Longitude: 51.4471009, 0.160306

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