Princess of Wales pond
South Row will be blocked at the Princess of Wales pond

An infamous rat-run in Blackheath is to be blocked by Lewisham Council in its first package of measures to make streets safer for walking and cycling.

South Row, which runs across the south-east side of the heath, will be blocked with planters outside the Princess of Wales pub from next week to stop drivers using it and adjacent Kidbrooke Gardens as a short cut between Kidbrooke Park Road and Blackheath Village.

Blackheath cycle route
Work has been carried out to improve the cycle route across Blackheath itself

Lewisham’s actions will be welcomed by many Greenwich borough residents. While officially part of a cycle route between Eltham and Greenwich Park, the two streets – South Row becomes Kidbrooke Gardens at the borough boundary – see regular heavy traffic, particularly at rush hour. Despite “quietway” works on Rochester Way and across Blackheath, the two streets have had nothing done to make them safer.

During the lockdown, the area around South Row and the private Blackheath Cator Estate have been popular with people taking their daily exercise. By blocking South Row to motor vehicles, Lewisham Council hopes to encourage people to keep using the area and to help them keep a safe distance from other people.

Kidbrooke Gardens
Border country: Kidbrooke Gardens (foreground) and South Row (background) straddle the Greenwich-Lewisham boundary and were left untouched by cycleway works

Lewisham will also carry out similar works at Scawen Road, next to Deptford Park; George Lane in Hither Green; Kitto Road in New Cross; Glenbow Road in Downham; and Bishopsthorpe Road and Silverdale in Sydenham. A further 24 schemes are planned. More information can be found at

More space will be created on pavements in Dartmouth Road, Forest Hill; Coulgate Street and Foxberry Road in Brockley; Hither Green Lane; Sangley Road in Catford, Staplehurst Road in Hither Green and Wells Park Road in Sydenham. More information can be found at

Lewisham began consulting on proposals five weeks ago. There is still no news on Greenwich’s proposals, although a decision is due to be published by the cabinet member for transport, Sizwe James, on Tuesday.

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