Wormwood Scrubs Open Space


Tree planting on Wormwood Scrubs

At 67 hectares, Wormwood Scrubs is the borough's largest open space. 

The 'Scrubs' has about 18 hectares of tree cover and 22 hectares of long grass meadow with almost 100 species of birds and 250 species of wildflowers (one sixth of the UK flora).

Leisure facilities include play areas, walking / cycling routes, sports pitches, model aircraft runway and much more.

Transport links

Nearest tube: East Acton (Central)

Buses: 220, 283, 72

Walking directions

From East Acton tube, turn left along Erconwald Street, for a short distance and you can see Wormwood Scrubs from the top of the road. Turn right and walk a very short distance along Braybrook Street to access the main path on the left which runs along the boundary of the prison. Main entrances to Wormwood Scrubs are from Scrubs Lane, Artillery Way (off Du Cane Road) and Braybrook Street.

Facilities

  • play area for 0-5 year olds
  • play area for 5-13 years
  • football pitches (9 full size / 7 junior size)
  • rugby pitch / Lacross (available on request)
  • Gaelic football pitch (2)
  • baseball diamonds (seasonal)
  • outdoor gym (2)
  • Linford Christie Outdoor Sports Centre (Astroturf pitches / Athletics track / Grass Centre pitch / Netball court / Archery area / Changing rooms / Community room)

To book or find further information on sports facilities go to Sports Bookings

History

In the early 19th century the whole district was open fields and included several areas of common land. In 1812 an area of 77 hectares known as Wormwood Scrubs was leased by the war office from the Manor of Fulham in order to exercise cavalry horses. In 1879 Parliament passed The Wormwood Scrubs Act, which aimed to create a "metropolitan exercising ground" for the military and to provide the Scrubs for "the perpetual use by the inhabitants of the metropolis for exercise and recreation". Under this act, the military were able to expel civilians from the Scrubs whenever they were training, but allowed civilians free use of the area when they were not. To ensure that the Scrubs were kept as open land for all to enjoy, the act banned the military from building any permanent structures other than rifle butts, one of which survives today as a wall in the Linford Christie Stadium. Wormwood Scrubs remains one of the largest open spaces close to Central London.

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