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03 September 2012

30 years of conservation at Sydenham Hill Wood

Celebrate the 30th birthday of London Wildlife Trust's first nature reserve at free events starting this September. Sydenham Hill Wood, saved from a series of development threats in the 1980s, was opened as
a freely accessible nature reserve in the autumn of 1982, as one of the first steps by London Wildlife Trust to demonstrate people's desire to protect sites in the neighbourhood for wildlife.

Over the next few months London Wildlife Trust will be holding a number of public events to celebrate Sydenham Hill Wood's 30th birthday, beginning with an Open Day on Sunday 9th September. There
will be walks and talks to discover more about the Wood's wildlife and its history, as well as cake stalls and a chance to meet people who have been involved at the Wood down the years. The event will run from
12noon to 16:30 with the main congregation being situated at the top of Cox's Walk, near the footbridge.

Despite the development and upheaval since the 1850s Sydenham Hill Wood is home to a number of species of plants and animals indicative of an undisturbed, natural environment, including English bluebell,
wild garlic, wood sorrel, early dog violet, woodruff, wild strawberry and wood anemone, a member of the buttercup flower that takes a century to spread 2 metres across the ground. This diversity is all
the more impressive due to the Wood's standing within one of the world's largest cities. This underlines the importance of a long-term effort in conserving the Wood's ancient character. Surprisingly, Sydenham Hill Wood is home to a number of butterfly species, including the often unnoticed purple hairstreak, a canopy-dweller in old oak woodland.

Today the Wood is a popular place to visit, and is the focus for a devoted volunteer group that help assist the Trust in maintaining the Wood as a critically valuable nature reserve for central south London.

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