Showing posts with label devonshire road nature reserve. Show all posts
Showing posts with label devonshire road nature reserve. Show all posts

13 June 2019

Devonshire Road Festival in the Forest

Saturday, 6th July, from 1pm to 11pm, Deveonshire Road Nature Reserve

An afternoon full of live Country, Folk, Americana, Blues and Irish music in South London's hidden natural paradise!

To book your tickets go to their Eventbrite page.

23 June 2017

How to be a Curious Entomologist

Insects are everywhere. They are so many, and so varied — fascinating, beautiful, mysterious, bizarre. Through their mind-boggling biodiversity they offer us a window into the ecological complexity of life on Earth, and give us a powerful insight of the workings of the natural world. But their small size means they can easily be overlooked or ignored. However it doesn’t take much specialist equipment to have a closer look.

Using simple methods and materials provided, this 1-day workshop will look at techniques to find and observe a wide variety of different insects, then how to preserve sample specimens for examination under the microscope.

In the morning, we’ll tour the reserve, finding and discussing the many different insect groups — looking at their structure, behaviour, life histories, and some easy identification pointers. In the afternoon, during the laboratory session, there will be the opportunity to look at some in more detail, and consider how studying insects can contribute to our understanding of nature, and the contribution it can make through citizen science.

Curious? Why curious? Entomologists might, at first, seem a bit eccentric, but they pursue their study of the natural world with a passion fuelled by curiosity.

Richard Jones is an acclaimed expert entomologist, a fellow of the Royal Entomological Society and a former President of the British Entomological and Natural History Society. He writes regularly for BBC Wildlife, Countryfile, Gardeners’ World and Sunday Times. He has written several books on insects, including Extreme Insects, The Little Book of Nits, House Guests — House Pests, and Call of Nature — The Secret Life of Dung.

£35 for the one day course
Booking essential via

16 October 2016

Halloween in Forest Hill

Kids Lantern Making Workshops
Tuesday 25th Oct - 2-3pm - The Archie Parker
Wed 26th Oct - 2-3pm - Sugar Mountain
Thurs 27th Oct - 2-3pm - The Archie Parker
Fri 28th Oct - 2-3pm - Sugar Mountain

Fearsome Philosophy Tales
29th October, 5pm-6pm: the Philosophy Foundation will be running Fearsome Philosophy Tales for young people (7-12) at the Library.

Come and see some scary stories at Forest Hill Library, run by The Philosophy Foundation team.
They will tell some ghoulish tales and frightening fables, teasing out some thoughts from the children’s brains around questions like: what is courage? what is fear? how do we know things … and what is that knocking under the floorboards?
(Parents welcome, but must stay as silent as the grave)

Pumpkin Carving
 at All Inn One - Saturday 29th - 12pm-2.30pm
Ideal for entry in the Sylvan Post Pumpkin Competition at 3:30pm (see below)

Halloween at Devonshire Road Nature Reserve31st October, 5pm-9pm
A mix of activities for families

Horniman Halloween Fair
Saturday 29 and Sunday 30 October

    'Curse of the Mummy’ performances by Tea Dance for Little People
    Wild Fangs Creepy Creatures Cave
    Spooky Halloween Trail
    Halloween Face Painting
    Family Art Fun: Halloween Pumpkin Masks
    Arts and Crafts Market
    Farmers Market (Saturday only)

More details on the Horniman web site.

Sylvan Post

18 September 2016

A New Building for the Devonshire Road Nature Reserve

By Hilary Satchwell (Planning Committee)

As anyone who has been to the Devonshire Road Nature Reserve in SE23 will know, their current 1970s portacabin building is not in the best of shape and for several years the Friends of Devonshire Road Nature Reserve have been talking about a replacement. Ideally this would be a project that could be largely built by volunteers, and would allow the reserve to expand its educational programmes and improve access for all.

In May 2016 the Forest Hill Society and the Nature Reserve worked together to organise a design charrette (or workshop) to look at designs for this new building and to gauge what it might be possible to achieve on the site. This was organised by Hilary Satchwell from the Forest Hill Society and Richard Robinson and Jake Twyford from the reserve.

Based on the model that Forest Hill Society used for the 2014 Forest Hill town centre charrette, we invited a group of local architects and other built environment professionals to give up their time over one weekend in May to help the reserve develop its brief for the building, to determine what could be accommodated on the site, and to come up with design ideas.

We had a great response and about a dozen local people got involved and,  over a weekend in late May, gathered together in the existing portacabin. We spent Saturday morning measuring and understanding the site’s levels — which slope down towards the railway line — and understanding the way the building fits in with the houses along Devonshire Road. We developed the project brief to account for the timber-building skills the reserves' volunteers had gained from their earlier green oak building projects (part funded by the Forest Hill Ward Assembly). We then worked in two groups to test different ideas: the first was for a larger, single-storey building to replace the existing one; while the second group investigated whether a two-storey option with a terrace overlooking the reserve would be possible. This included drawing up plans, sections and sketches of the different options.

Over a lovely lunch cooked by Jake, we presented our schemes. As a group, we concluded that the single-storey option would be the best approach — in order to make sure the project would be as 'buildable' as possible, and that it would be accessible without the expense of a lift across two floors.

The single-storey timber-framed approach was then developed by the group over the afternoon. This work included looking at the design merits of: an internal ramp that would allow wheelchair users access through the building; a large room for groups and a second room that would allow two school classes to visit the reserve at the same time; a small separate kitchen; and improved toilet facilities including a disabled WC.

The design ideas for the building focused on a simple grid construction that would allow the main structural sections to be built in advance as a 'kit of parts', for later assembly. The proposed design includes lots of glass, timber cladding and a raised roof pointing into the reserve itself. The spaces are designed to be flexible, with sliding partitions between rooms so that they can be used in a number of different ways.

On the Sunday, when some of the group were able to return, we concentrated on refining the single-storey scheme and looking at its buildability and detailing.

Although we made good progress there is still much to do. The next steps for the project will include building a model, drawing up the plans more accurately in CAD, and meeting again with the volunteers in the autumn for further project development. Professional quality plans will be needed for a future planning application, and also for funding applications to get the project off the ground and into construction. The Nature Reserve would like to get going on this project soon and, ideally, see it built during 2017!

The Forest Hill Society and Devonshire Road Nature Reserve would like to thank those who took part in the weekend’s design charrette: Thom, Jason, Helen, Brendan, Andy, George, Rupert, Nigel, James, Wendy, Jorge, Jonny, Jake, Hilary, Richard, Quetta and Rupert.

How you can get involved: Devonshire Road Nature Reserve will be looking specifically for volunteers to help during site preparation work and construction. We plan to create a database of local volunteers, skills and tradespeople who may be able to assist. Once we know more precisely what is needed it would be really great to be able to receive donated materials for the build.

To volunteer or donate materials, please email hilary [at]

Photo of draft sketches courtesy of Richard Robinson

01 April 2015

Woodlands — Springing Back to Life!

Three of Forest Hill’s natural assets are relatively small pockets of woodlands located next to the railway line running between Honor Oak Park and Sydenham stations. These sites are open to the public, albeit on limited days in two cases, and are managed by dedicated groups of volunteers. Now that spring has arrived after winter’s lull, activities — as well as plants — at these sites are starting to show signs of renewed life.

Devonshire Road Nature Reserve (DRNR) abuts the west side of the railway line between Forest Hill and Honor Oak Park stations, and has been run by the Friends of Devonshire Road Nature Reserve (FDRNR) for 15 years now, who have been awarded a Green Pennant year after year.

Since October, the Friends have been doing tree and brushwood removal around the edges of the reserve’s meadows, and improving paths. Starting this spring, guided school visits — or ‘Muddy Boots’ sessions — will be offered to primary school children.

The Friends are in desperate need of someone to help run their website and with publicity, as well as to volunteer in general; for more info, see contact details below or attend the Friends’ annual general meeting on Sunday 22nd March.

DRNR is open to the public on the last Sunday of each month (currently between 2-5:30pm). 170 Devonshire Rd, SE23 3SZ.
For more info:

Albion Millennium Green (AMG) is situated on the west side of the railway line between Sydenham and Forest Hill stations. It is managed by the Friends of Albion Millennium Green, who organise a range of arts-related activities and plantmanagement work days throughout the year. After a winter break, work days, which occur on the second Saturday of each month, will start again in March.

At the Friends’ annual general meeting held on 21st February at Forest Hill Pools, activities and achievements in a very productive year were highlighted, including:
• Work carried out by volunteers that resulted in a Green Flag Award being awarded again.
• The AMG’s owner, the Albion Millennium Green Trust, a charitable trust, being revitalized at its AGM in November with the election of a new board of trustees.
• Also in November, the Friends being successfully awarded a Forest Hill Assembly grant for a much-needed 10-foot storage container, in order to securely house equipment and materials.

AMG is accessed year-round from Albion Villas Road, SE26 or the path adjacent to the railway line. For more info:

Dacres Wood Nature Reserve (DWNR) abuts the east side of the railway line between Forest Hill and Sydenham stations, and is run by the Friends of Dacres Wood Nature Reserve (FoDWNR) committee.

Having closed for the winter months, the Friends group is planning to re-open the reserve to the public on 28th March for regular last-Saturday-of-the-month open days. A variety of outdoor sessions and activities, including nature trail days, will then be offered in the spring for pre-school children and school children aged 5-plus.

The Friends group is looking for more volunteers to help on open days, plan and run events, or even join the committee.

DWNR is situated behind Homefield House, Dacres Estate,Dacres Road, SE23 2NZ. Its main entrance is at the end of Honeyfield Mews, which is off Dacres Road and just south of Catling Close. For more info:

Article by John Wysocki, Newsletter Editor

19 August 2014

Watercolour - at Devonshire Road Nature Reserve

Suitable for the terrified and the gifted this is a uniquely inspiring course. Watercolour will be explored in the natural beauty of the reserve. Personalized and friendly tutoring will enable everyone to gain experience, confidence and direction. You will experiment; gather knowledge, and paintings as you progress.

New term Starts September 10th 2014
Wednesday evenings 7 – 10, Pay per class £8 or £80 per term. All day Saturday sessions to be confirmed.

Tea and coffee provided, anything stronger – bring your own!
Led by Artist Naomi Leake – A regular watercolour tutor for Tate Britain.

Some materials will be provided but please bring student quality paints and brushes.
To book a place and for more information on all classes contact

22 July 2013

Devonshire Road Open Day - Sunday 28th July

The Friends of Devonshire Road Nature Reserve hope that some of you can make it to their Open Day on Sunday. As usual, it will be a nice relaxed afternoon in the nearest thing to countryside South London has to offer. Musician friends very welcome to bring their instruments and join in.

31 May 2013

Festival In The Forest

The friends of Devonshire Road Nature Reserve have organised a music festival with the finest in music, food and refreshments.

On Sunday, 30 June, eleven acts including Hungry Grass, Siobhan Parr, Martin Brown, The Cavendish Set, Steve ‘Boltz’ Bolton, Alan King, Jonah's Raft, Felix Glenn, Isaac&McGoohan, Probably Not and Fox and a Feather will perform between 1pm and 10pm.
Festival in the Forest is a family friendly mix of music, food and drink with an eclectic blend of Folk, Country, Rock and Irish acts and space to dance or roam or picnic as the mood takes you. Seven acts will perform throughout the afternoon, followed by the four Headline acts after 5:30pm.
Food offered will include Slow Roasted Pulled Pork, BBQ and Vegetarian dishes and homemade cakes and pastries while the bar will be offering a range of beers including our sponsor's ‘Rolls’ Portuguese imported craft beer, wine, a range of soft drinks, tea and coffee.
Tickets are £6 for the whole set or £4 for just the main set from 5:30pm (£3 and £2 for under 18s) and can be purchased on the door, or in advance from by clicking on the links above.
If you want to know more, you can preview the bands by following these links:

Parking is free in nearby streets and the Nature Reserve is easily reached from either Honor Oak Park or Forest Hill Stations (approx 7 minutes' walk from either). The festival area is outdoors, with marquee cover in the event of rain and the visitor centre will be available for extra cover and toddlers, with full toilet and baby changing facilities. The festival is accessible for wheelchair users, although the paths are a little uneven. The main reserve is not suitable for wheelchairs. Unfortunately, dogs are not allowed.

23 May 2013

Green Oak Carpentry

Just a reminder that the Green Oak Carpentry project is in full swing at Devonshire Road Nature Reserve and they're looking for people to get involved.

Great progress has been made over the last couple of Sundays, but this bank holiday weekend is the big push. They will be there from 10.30 to 4.30 on Saturday, Sunday and Monday so if you have a couple of hours to spare, or a whole day, pop along and get stuck in - learn how to cut and shape the essential joints in Green-Oak construction, all free. Tools and tuition are provided.

25 April 2013

An Eventful Time

Potting Up for the Edible High Road
Saturday 27 April, 10.00am, Devonshire Road Nature Reserve
Potting up and decorating of the fruit trees. Please come along if you can lend a hand potting up to 70 trees prior to the official launch of the Edible High Road in Forest Hill and Honor Oak.
Organised by Forest Hill Society and Lewisham Gardens

Open day at Dacres Road Nature Reserve
Saturday 27 April, 12-3pm, entrance via Catling Close, off Dacres Road SE23
As Dacres Wood Nature reserve is a bit of a hidden gem, there's a plan to have regular open days on the last Saturday of every month from spring to autumn. The next one is this Saturday. There will be refreshments and tours of the reserve, and opportunities for those visitors coming with sturdy gloves and secateurs to help with some conservation work.
Organised by Friends of Dacres Wood

Sydenham Market - street food, craft & vintage
Sunday 28 April, 10am-4pm, Sydenham Station Approach
Organised by SEE3

Forest Hill Food Fair
Sunday 5 May, 11am-3pm, Forest Hill Station
A Forest Hill Society Event

Syd Soc event: visit to the Brunel Museum & Thames Tunnel, Rotherhithe
Friday 17 May, 10am
The Brunel Museum in historic Rotherhithe is directly above the Thames Tunnel which opened in 1843. We'll be taking part in a one-hour tour of the tunnel, followed by a visit to the museum and lunch at the nearby Mayflower pub. The cost of the visit is £6, payable in advance. To book your place and arrange payment, please email jacquelinealdridge [at]
A Sydenham Society Event

Edible High Road Launch Day
Saturday 18 May, 1pm, Forest Hill Station
Official launch of the Edible High Road, with a celebrity guest!
More details at
Organised by Forest Hill Society and Lewisham Gardens

26 March 2013

Weave some magic

Stella Harding will be running a two day basket making course at the Devonshire Road Nature Reserve on Saturday 6 and Sunday 7 April. The cost is £90, which includes materials, tuition and lunch on both days. Places are limited, so book early to avoid disappointment. Please contact for further details or to reserve your place.

20 March 2013

Devonshire Road Nature Reserve AGM

If you would you like to know more about the Devonshire Road Nature Reserve go along to the Friends' Annual General Meeting on the 31st March at 1:30pm at Devonshire Road Nature Reserve, 170 Devonshire Rd, SE23 3SZ.
During the meeting they’ll be electing their Executive Committee for the coming year.
If you have any questions or would like to know more please drop an e-mail to or visit their website at

14 July 2012

Devonshire Road Open Day

The Friends of Devonshire Road Nature Reserve will be having an Open Day from 11AM - 6PM tomorrow, Sunday 15 July.

There will be a chance to meet the bees (which are now safely in their new home), go for nature walks and listen to live music from Shadrack Tye, Flaky Jake, Matt Allin, Fox and the Feather, Felix Glenn and the Forest Hillbillies while enjoying plenty of Food and drnk.

20 April 2012

News and Events - April to May 2012

We have been extremely busy in the past three months, pushing forwards various projects including our "Portas Pilot" bid.  If you haven't seen the video yet, then please watch it on Youtube and then and 'Like' it.  The link is
This month there is plenty going on:
Sunday, 22 April 10am-4pm Forest Hill Food Fair at Forest Hill Station
We will have a Market at the station, with eight stalls selling various produce and a taster trail involving nine pubs, cafes, restaurants and a sweet shop offering small portions for you to try - go along and sample those restaurants you haven't yet tried

Saturday, 28 April 2pm - 4pm Honor Oak Planting Honor Oak Park Station
Join us as we start this year's "In Bloom" effort with planting at Honor Oak Park Station.  All you need is a little enthusiasm - we have four planters to plant and may try to clear the weeds by the bins too.  Beginners welcome.  If you cannot make it on the day, please contact to get involved with the watering and nurturing of the plants.
Sunday, 29 April 11:30am - 3:30pm Birds of Prey Devonshire Road Nature Reserve, 170 Devonshire Road, SE23 3SZ
The Devonshire Road Nature Reserve are hosting another of their successful "Birds of Prey" days.   There will be flights at 12 noon and 1:30pm, with tickets limited to 80 per flying session (Adults £3, Children £2, Family £8).  The reserve will be open until 5:30pm.
Some photos from a previous event can be seen here.
Sunday, 29 April 2:30pm - 4pm Forest Hill Planting Forest Hill Station
Come along and build on last year's success.  We only have two new planters to plant as two have been damaged in storage, but we need to tend to the existing beds as well.  Beginners welcome - all you need is a little enthusiasm.  If you cannot make it on the day, please contact to get involved with the watering and nurturing of the plants.
Saturday, 12 May 10:25am Lullingstone Castle outing Meet at Catford Bridge Station
Lullingstone Castle is one of England's oldest family estates, dating back to the time of Domesday.  Henry VIII and Queen Anne were both regular visitors.  In addition to the Manor House and Norman Church, the World Garden is a special attraction.
The Forest Hill and Sydenham Societies are arranging a joint trip.  If interested, please contact Quetta by emailing Departure will be 10.25 a.m. from Catford Bridge station to Eynsford.  This is one station beyond Zone 6 so a ticket for the extra should be purchased at Catford Bridge if using a Travelcard.
Light refreshments are available on site or at the Country Visitors' Centre a short walk away along a path beside the River Darent - or take a picnic with you.
Please book your ticket with Quetta the week before the visit - i.e. between Monday April 30th and Saturday May 5th so that we can qualify for the Group rate (£6, in additon to train fare).   
Saturday, 12 May 11am - 3pm Sydenham Garden Spring Fair 28A Wynell Road, SE23 2LW
Sydenham Garden's annual Spring Fair takes place on Saturday 12th May 2012, 11am to 3pm.
They are a community charity and part of their mission is to involve the local community in their project, which offers therapeutic horticulture and creative opportunities to promote the physical and mental wellbeing of residents. There will be a stall aimed at promoting wellbeing and breaking the taboo about talking about mental ill health - their clients will be running many stalls at the event.  Go along and find out more about who they are, what they do and why.
Saturday & Sunday, 12-13, 19-20 May 11am - 6pm Open Artists Havelock Walk and others
Various artists are opening their doors as part of the Dulwich Festival.   
Almost all venues are open on the first weekend and many are also open on the second. A few venues are open on the second weekend only. For easy reference in the booklet and on the maps, green denotes venues open on both weekends, blue those open on the first only and yellow those open on the second weekend only. There is also an alphabetical list of artists at the back of the booklet.  Full details can be found at

12 March 2012

Raising the Roof at the Devonshire Road Nature Reserve

The Nature Reserve is looking for volunteers to help build the new Green Oak Shelter.
Specialist green-oak carpenter and teacher Tom Trimmins ( is running carpentry workshops on Saturday March 3rd, 17th and 31st from 10.00 until 2.00 , cutting and shaping the green-oak frame for the building, making the mortice-joints and bracing pieces and forming the curved roof timbers. Work will carry on later into the afternoon for those with a passion and there will be other sessions on weekday evenings to continue the work learnt on the Saturday sessions.

Volunteers are also needed to clear the site and cast the pad-stones ready for the timber frame, so, if you don't see yourself as a carpenter but feel like some honest labouring, there's plenty to do.

The Oak frame will be erected on Sunday, 1 April. There will be a party to celebrate, so dig out your dancing clogs. There'll be hard work, music and food and drink. Families welcome to raise the barn!

There will be further hands-on workshops in May to build and plant the living roof (similar to the Horniman Museum). Guided by Dusty Gedge (, one of the foremost experts in green roof technology, this is the opportunity to learn all about this environmentally friendly method. Contact

01 March 2012

Raise the Barn at Devonshire Road Nature Reserve

The Devonshire Road Nature Reserve is looking for volunteers to help build the new Green Oak Shelter.

Specialist green-oak carpenter and teacher Tom Trimmins is running free carpentry workshops on three Saturdays, March 3rd, 17th and 31st from 10.00am until 2.00pm. Contact for details.

The oak frame will be erected on April 1st; we’ll be throwing a party to celebrate, so dig out your dancing clogs. There’ll be hard work, music and food and drink. Families welcome to come and ‘raise the barn’!