I discovered the mysterious little set of steps that descend from Goffers Road next to the heath, down into the depths of Blackheath Vale. It really was quite a shock – it’s almost like a little village within the village – hidden out of site. It rather reminded me of the Lost Gardens of Heligan – the part where you descend into the “jungle” into the “microclimate”… Maybe I’m exaggerating, but looking at the maps on Google and Microsoft ‘s Live Maps really don’t give a clear sense that you are really descending into a giant pit!
The reason for the blooming great hole is that it was mined for sand, but towards the end of the 18th century buildings started to appear. It’s amazing how nicely the houses blend into what must have effectively been an industrial wasteland. I suppose time is a factor in this, but it really is a nice spot.
If you look on the old map of Blackheath, you can see that what is now All Saints Church of England School but is marked as Blackheath Hall in 1862. It doesn’t look like they’ve got much of a playground, but I suppose with the heath on your doorstep, you probably don’t need one.