Park Hill opportunities – Some hidden gems

New residents to Park Hill sometimes take a few weeks (or even months) to realise the full recreational potential and opportunities of this area. The northern parts of Park Hill have witnessed much of the recent development leading to a world of high-rise flats, East Croydon Station and the daily commute. It can come as a pleasant surprise to become aware of the greenbelt and a rich diversity of outdoor events that are available almost on your doorstep.

Running, cycling and walking routes open up the area. Park Hill itself is located at the start of a long-distance walking trail known as the ‘Vanguard Way’, which starts at East Croydon Station, proceeds along the Fairfield Path through to Lloyd Park – then onwards for 66 miles across the North Downs, High Weald and South Downs, ending at Newhaven Harbour Station on the south coast. Details at The Vanguard Way also joins the 150-mile London Outer Orbital Path (LOOP) just outside Park Hill.

Cycle route 232 – the ‘Croydon Parks Link’ – connects Lloyd Park and Park Hill recreation ground with Wandle Park and the Wandle trail, keeping (as best it can) to quiet roads. The longer-distance east-west cycle route 75 (Beddington to Bromley) also runs through Park Hill.

The greenbelt proper begins with the expansive acres of Lloyd Park where the London Clay of north Park Hill has given way to chalk. The park (it has its own Wikipedia page) is home to many groups and activities, including an outdoor gym, dog walkers and joggers. Best is to walk or cycle to the park, or use the tram, although there is a car park.

A more well-known Park Hill gem is the Lloyd parkrun (always spelled with a lower case ‘p’.) which is part of the family of over 1,200 parkruns taking place across the UK (and nearly 2,000 in more than 20 countries worldwide). This is a 5 km (3 mile) run/jog/walk held every Saturday morning at 9 am throughout the year (including Christmas Day!). Upwards of 200 participants aged from 8-80 participate – the start is at the Lloyd Pavilion adjacent to the tram stop. Organised by dedicated volunteers headed by Debra Bourne (Debra is also the author of the book “parkrun – much more than a walk in the park”, about the first 10 years of parkrun). The parkrun is a free, diverse, friendly and inclusive event where nobody comes last unless they have chosen to do so as the Tail Walker. It also provides an opportunity for people of all ages to volunteer, including options for the less mobile and those unable to stand for long periods (chairs can be provided).

The two websites to visit are to register, and for full details including the course description of Lloyd. If you want to know more about volunteering, please email


After registration your confirmation e-mail will contain your identifying barcode – to be printed out and taken along to the run, where a ‘first timers briefing ‘ will fill in the rest of the need-to-know details (do turn up early on your first visit as the briefing may be held about 8.50 am. Additionally, a Junior parkrun, 2 km, for 4 to 14 year olds accompanied by their parents takes place every Sunday morning starting at 9 am at the same location.


These are a few of the ‘hidden gems’ – there are many more to be discovered as you become more familiar with the area. Welcome to Park Hill.