What is it? The former Surrey Commercial Docks were filled in and and planted as a woodland during the Eighties, with the artificial Stave Hill built from waste material and rubble. The area is now a popular woodland spot and ecology park, replete with nature's finery and remnants of the apparatus from a bygone trading age.
Where is it? In Rotherhithe, tucked alongside the rump of the Thames as it curves around the Isle of Dogs. A short walk from Canada Water station on the Jubilee line (and from 2010, the East London line). The station also welcomes plenty of buses — we are south of the river, after all — and Thames Clippers stop at nearby Greenland Dock pier.
Why has it tickled our fancy? Though perhaps well known to south Londoners, a straw poll revealed that barely anyone from the other side of the river knows anything about it — a crying shame, as it's the perfect answer to those hoighty-toighty Hampsteadites who claim that north London has all the capital's green spots. Great for family outings, courting couples, lazy picnics and happy summer wanderings.
Nature notes: On a spring day's saunter through the woodland we descried dog roses, ducks, reeds and weeds, long grasses, hawthorn, wetlands, a heron, baby moor-hens and more. In a windless patch we even spotted two butterflies cavorting together, displaying a very un-Lepidoptera level of aerial agility. An excellent blog about Russia Dock mentions baby hedgehogs and Great Crested Grebe chicks.
View Londonist's Guide to Hidden Parks and Gardens in a larger map