property investment ideas, advice, insights, trends Property Investment ideas, advice, insights, trends Property Investment News

 Property News

more news articles...

Crossrail puts Abbey Wood on the regeneration fast track with two new housing zones



Regeneration plans are underway in Abbey Wood, in preparation for Crossrail's arrival in 2018 - bringing 12 fast trains an hour to central London. It's no wonder buyers are snapping up the good-value period houses near the station...
Investing in green: Abbey Wood has recently been awarded £3.5 million from the Heritage Lottery Find for improvements. Images: Daniel Lynch.

When Crossrail opens in December 2018, Abbey Wood will have up to 12 fast trains an hour, taking commuters into central London in just 25 minutes and to Heathrow in 51 minutes. 

The prospect has sent the district into a spin with a raft of regeneration plans. Mayor Boris Johnson has promised an £80 million financial package for two new housing zones. The two governing councils, Greenwich and Bexley, are working with housing association Peabody to launch 3,000 new homes to be built over the next 10 years, many of which will be “affordable”.

Abbey Wood takes its name from Lesnes Abbey Woods that once belonged to the monks of Lesnes Abbey, founded in 1178, and lies 13 miles south-east of central London with Woolwich to the west, Thamesmead and the Thames to the north, Erith to the east and Welling to the south. 

It has rows of Victorian terrace houses, Thirties semis and more modern two- and three-bedroom houses. It is also home to Thamesmead South, the love-it-or-loathe-it brutalist estate of tower blocks and maisonettes built around a large lake that became the dystopian home of nihilistic Alex and his droogs in Stanley Kubrick’s controversial film from 1971, A Clockwork Orange. 

Parts of the estate close to the lake have now been demolished and  Peabody housing association is consulting residents on the future of the other blocks. Nothing has been ruled in or out at this stage, although Peabody hopes to create a new shopping street along bleak Harrow Manor Way and a new lateral park through the estate connecting Lesnes Abbey Woods with Crossness on the Thames.


South Thamesmead has spacious right-to-buy flats and maisonettes in imposing concrete blocks that attract cash buyers, as they are difficult to mortgage.

Lee Ingram, of local estate agents Hunters, says two-bedroom Victorian houses on the Co-op Estate sell for about £300,000 and three- bedroom houses for about £350,000. A two-bedroom former council house is about £270,000 and one with three bedrooms will cost up to £300,000. This
three-bedroom house in the Co-op Estate in Crumpsall Street is for sale for £375,000.

Many Abbey Wood residents aspire to move up the hill to Upper Abbey Wood. A 
three-bedroom, Thirties, semi-detached house in Bedonwell Road, close to the popular Bedonwell Infant and Junior schools, is for sale for £380,000.

South Thamesmead is known for its Brutalist architecture. A
four-bedroom maisonette in Lensbury Way is for sale for £199,999. However, it may not be possible to get a mortgage as the future of the estate is uncertain.

Average prices: buying houses and flats in Abbey Wood
Two-bedroom flat: £248,000
Two-bedroom house: £250,000
Three-bedroom house: £326,000

Forging ahead: building works are well underway for a futuristic, two-level, Abbey Wood station to be ready for Crossrail in 2018

Abbey Wood is getting a futuristic new two-level station, with access from Wilton Road and from the flyover in Harrow Manor Way, where there will be a new public square. 

At the moment, Abbey Wood has a frequent train service to London Bridge (30 minutes) and Cannon Street (33 minutes). The station is in Zone 4 and an annual travelcard to Zone 1 costs £1,844.

The area attracts: Abbey Wood has a strong local market, but the arrival of Crossrail is attracting buyers from outside the area who are looking for affordable period houses close to the station. A rental yield of about five per cent is attracting buy-to-let investors.

Staying power: families like to move up the hill towards Bexleyheath. Ingram says the price difference between a three-bedroom Victorian terrace house in Abbey Wood and a three-bedroom Thirties house in Upper Abbey Wood used to be about £100,000, which was a leap too far for many families. Now the gap has narrowed to almost nothing and families can stay in the area. 

What there is to rent in Abbey Wood
Lee Ingram, of estate agents Hunters, says Abbey Wood attracts both City commuters and social tenants. Rents range from about £800 a month for a one-bedroom flat to £1,300 a month for a four-bedroom house. 

two-bedroom flat in Osney House, which overlooks Southmere Lake in South Thamesmead, is available to rent for £950 a month, while this three-bedroom Victorian terrace house in Owenite Street in the Co-op Estate is available to rent for £1,300 a month. 

Average prices: renting houses and flats in Abbey Wood
One-bedroom flat: £832 a month
Two-bedroom flat: £1,425 a month
Three-bedroom house: £1,026 a month

Donna Dillon, at work in The Birchwood pub

Postcode: The Abbey Wood postcode is SE2, which includes South Thamesmead.

Best roads: Glenview in Upper Abbey Wood and anywhere in the Co-op Estate, as well as the roads radiating off McLeod Road. 

Up-and-coming areas: Upper Abbey Wood is now undervalued, with the three-bedroom, semi-detached family houses now the same price as a three-bedroom Victorian terrace house in the Co-op Estate.

What’s new
Cross Quarter ( is a mixed-use development north of Abbey Wood station in Harrow Manor Way. The first phase includes a large new branch of Sainsbury’s opening at the end of July, 32 flats that are all now sold, space for a library and coffee shop and a new public square. 

The next phase has planning permission for 190 flats, space for start-up businesses and a children’s nursery. However, the new owners Peabody are likely to put in a fresh planning application.

All of Abbey Wood’s primary schools are rated “good” or better by Ofsted. The one school rated “outstanding” is Bedonwell Infant & Nursery in Bedonwell Road (the Junior school is rated “good”). The best performing comprehensive schools at GCSE stage are St Paul’s Academy RC (co-ed, ages 11 to 16) in Finchale Road and Woolwich Polytechnic (boys, ages 11 to 18) in Hutchins Road.

There are two high-performing grammar schools in Bexley — Bexley Grammar (co-ed, ages 11 to 18) in Danson Lane and Townley Grammar (girls, ages 11 to 18) in Townley Road, Bexleyheath. 


@joertmclark The ancient ruins of Lesnes Abbey are a must-see. Good sense of community thanks to events at the Crafty Café

@joertmclark The Birchwood pub is another good place

@joertmclark ... and Abbey Arms beer garden

@RebeccaErol Lesnes Abbey woods + rare wild daffodils, few places left in UK where they’re found

@RebeccaErol Lesnes Abbey + fossil pit, Bostall Woods + bowling green, Southmere Lake + water sports

@BenCBrooks Can’t beat a walk around the beautiful Lesnes Abbey, founded in 1178. And there’s a new Sainsbury’s


Frank Joseph of Frank's Fish Bar: the takeaway, in McLeod Road, appeared in last year's violent thriller The Guvnors

Leisure and the arts
The Link Thamesmead in Belvedere Road is a brightly coloured community hub with a café built under the Harrow Manor Way flyover by Thamesmead South. It is aimed mainly at young people, but it also offers something for everyone, including arts and crafts and Knit & Natter sessions.

Southmere Boating Centre offers sailing, canoeing, kayaking and power boat training on the lake, while the nearest council-owned swimming pool is the Thamesmere Leisure Centre in Thamesmere Drive. 
Crossness Pumping Station close to Abbey Wood was built by Sir Joseph Bazalgette in 1865, when London’s sewage system was modernised. The Beam Engine House is Grade I-listed and is a fine example of the Victorian Romanesque style. The charity in charge of restoring the building ( is building a visitors’ centre, but there are four open days between now and October.

Shops and restaurants
Abbey Wood is about to get a new branch of Sainsbury’s, to add to Lidl in Eynsham Drive. Abbey Wood’s main shopping street is Wilton Road which, as Ingram points out, suffers from having the borough boundary separating Greenwich from Bexley running down its middle. This means two betting shops, when such a small street could easily survive with one.

The road has corner stores, a Greggs bakers, a large chemist and a popular Indian restaurant.

The boroughs have recently been awarded a bursary from the Mayor’s High Street Fund and are now working together on some much-needed improvements. 

Open space
Commuters leaving Abbey Wood station are greeted with the sight of a green hilly wood. This is the Lesnes — pronounced Less Ness — Abbey Woods, which has recently been awarded £3.5 million from the Heritage Lottery Fund for a programme of improvements. As well as ancient woodland, the park contains the ruins of the 12th-century Lesnes Abbey, a formal garden, a children’s playground and a fossil bed where fossils from the Eocene era can be found. The park runs into Bostall Heath and Bostall Woods before arriving in Plumstead. The Green Chain Walk runs through all three areas. 

Council: Abbey Wood is divided between Conservative-controlled  Bexley, with Band D council tax of £1,445.53, and Labour-controlled Greenwich, with Band D council tax of £1,275.91.

Who will link Abbey Wood with the party island of Ibiza this summer?

Three things about Abbey Wood:

How did a pupil from St Paul’s Academy (formerly School) make his way to Ibiza?

Rap artist Tinie Tempah was a pupil at St Paul’s in Abbey Wood after his parents moved to Plumstead from the Aylesbury Estate, Walworth. This year, Tempah is playing in Ibiza at the Tinie Tempah Pool Party every Friday from June 30 to September 8 at the Hard Rock Hotel.

Who built an abbey as an act of penance for a murder in a cathedral?
Richard de Luci (1089 –1179), chief justiciar of England, built Lesnes Abbey in 1178. He was a supporter of Henry II in his dispute with Thomas Becket that led to his murder in Canterbury Cathedral in 1170. Richard de Luci resigned as justiciar in 1179, and it is thought that he built the abbey as an act of penance for the murder of Becket. He lived the last months of his life at the abbey and was buried in the chapter house.

Where can sharks’ teeth and seashells be found in two kilos of earth?
Lesnes Abbey Woods contains many fossils from the Eocene epoch about 54.5 million years ago. The public is allowed to remove up to two kilos from the site, which might contain seashells and sharks’ teeth from the period.

Photographs by Daniel Lynch

back to top

Site Map | Privacy Policy | Terms & Conditions | Contact Us | ©2018