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Beverley Brook
Beverley Brook - geograph.org.uk - 879625.jpg
Beverley Brook in Richmond Park
Beverley Brook and Pyl Brook.png
Map of the Beverley and Pyl Brooks showing surrounding parkland and access from settlements
Country United Kingdom
Physical characteristics
Main source Cuddington Recreation Park, Worcester Park, Greater London
River mouth Barn Elms, River Thames
Length 14.3 km (8.9 mi)
Basin features
Tributaries
  • Left:
    Pen Ponds overflow, Keswick Avenue ditch, Coombe Brook
  • Right:
    Kingsmere Stream, Queensmere Stream, Cannizaro Park stream, Pyl Brook, East Pyl Brook, Old Pyl ditch, Merton ditch culvert, Grand Drive ditch

Beverley Brook is a minor English river 14.3 km (8.9 mi) long in southwest London. It rises in Worcester Park and joins the River Thames to the north of Putney Embankment at Barn Elms.

Course

Beverley Brook rises at the top of a hill in a shady area at Cuddington Recreation Ground in Worcester Park then flows north in a culvert under the A2043 road, emerging in waste land next to Worcester Park Station. It then flows northeast through Motspur Park, New Malden, Wimbledon Common, Richmond Park, forms the brief boundary of East Sheen and Roehampton near Priest's Bridge, flows through the south of Barnes (bounding the Barnes playing fields to the north and Putney Common to the south) and joins the River Thames above Putney Embankment between Barn Elms, Barnes and Leader's Gardens, Putney.

Its basin has a catchment area of 64 km2 (25 sq mi).

Uses

Beverley Brook creates a water feature used by deer, smaller animals and water grasses and some water lilies in Richmond Park (where it is followed by the Tamsin Trail and Beverley Walk). Then for the next 7 km (4.3 mi) upstream of Richmond Park, the Beverley Brook forms the historic South West London boundary, now the boundary between the London Borough of Merton and the Royal Borough of Kingston upon Thames.

For the first 5 km (3.1 mi) south of Richmond Park, the six lane A3 trunk road from London to Portsmouth runs always within 300 m (980 ft) of the stream, crossing it three times. Although there is no point where the stream itself can be seen when driving along the road, the bridge parapets are visible and, for 2 km (1.2 mi), where the road runs along the edge of Wimbledon Common, the trees flanking the stream can be glimpsed across playing fields, with the lightly managed "natural" woodland of the common rising beyond. Except for the playing fields, the whole of the common, including Beverley Brook, is both a Site of Special Scientific Interest (SSSI) and a Special Area of Conservation (SAC). Towards the south (upstream) end of the common, Fishpond Wood and Beverley Meads nature reserve lies a few metres east of the stream.

South of Wimbledon Common the stretch of the A3 running near the stream is named Beverley Way after it.

Etymology

The name is derived from the former presence in the river of the European beaver (Castor fiber), a species extinct in Britain since the sixteenth century. The Middle English word for beaver was bever, the word for meadow was ley (or lei or various other spellings, still rarely used today as lea) and brook meant stream, as it does today. Beverley Brook was thus the Beaver-Meadow Stream.

Tributaries

Beverley Brook's longest tributary is Pyl Brook, 5.3 km (3.3 mi) long, which is a Local Nature Reserve. It flows from Sutton through Lower Morden to join it at Beverley Park in New Malden. Both brooks are on the Environment Agency's watchlist of rivers susceptible to flooding.

Environmental improvements

For much of the twentieth century Beverley Brook was joined by poorly treated sewage from a sewage works in Green Lane, Worcester Park. Since some pipe redirection enabling the removing of the works and the introduction of improved treatment methods in 1998, the range of wildlife species in the river has steadily increased.

At Wimbledon Common, Beverley Brook has banks reinforced with wooden "toe-boarding", which prevents use by water voles, and there is scope for further such improvements.

In fiction

Beverley Brook is a regular character in the Ben Aaronovitch series of urban fantasy police procedural novels Rivers of London. She describes her kind thus: "'Orisa', said Beverley. 'We're Orisa. Not spirits, not local geniuses – Orisa'."

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