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

24 March 2011

Dacres Wood Nature Reserve and Field Centre Open Afternoon

Organised by Forest Hill Society and Friends Of Mayow Park
27TH MARCH 2011 from 1pm to 4pm

This small nature reserve has woodland and a meadow. A special feature of the site is the wetland area which is a remnant of the old Croydon Canal, bypassed when the railway was built.
Forest Hill Society and the Friends of Mayow Park are pleased to have arranged an open afternoon for the public, with history talks at the field centre, guided walks and activities for all the family.

Refreshments will be available

How to find the Dacres Wood Field Studies Centre and Nature Reserve:
Entry will be via the Field Centre which is near the junction of Dacres Road with Silverdale, between Homefield House and Catling Close. An unmarked driveway leads directly to the Field Centre from Dacres Road. Parking is available on Dacres Road and other nearby roads.

View Larger Map

06 January 2011

Recycling Event

Give and Take Day

Sunday 16th January - 11am - 3pm

Devonshire Road Nature Reserve (near the junction with Tyson Road)

It's a good time of year for having a clear out so this is the perfect January event! The idea is that you bring along items you don't want and swap them for something you do want - AND ALL FOR FREE!
Suggested items include DVDs, CDs, small electrical items, bikes, lamps, plants, kitchenware, books, clothes, toys.
Items should be in good condition and easy to carry home.

We're grateful to Lewisham Council for their help and practical support with this event.

25 March 2010

New eco community building planned for Devonshire Road Nature Reserve

Following their successful new gates project, the Friends of Devonshire Road Nature Reserve are now setting out on a really grand scheme! They plan to replace the tired old pre-fabricated hut with a really wonderful exemplar of an ecologically designed building - a purpose-built visitor centre to serve the community for education, culture and fitness.

This is a hugely ambitious project and will only happen with your help. They want input on the design from as many people as possible and are organising some fun events to find out what you would like to see on the site, so come and get involved! Starting at Easter and running throughout the summer, they are organising a series of events. The first two will be on the 9th and the 11th April.

Huts, Hives and Habitats

Friday 9th April, 11.00 until 16.00

Aimed specifically at children and families, this is a day of exploration which involves making all kinds of dwellings; beehives, bird-boxes, insect hotels etc. There will be food and drinks available and staff to guide visitors around the reserve, looking at the frogs, newts and tadpoles and talking about all the different types of habitats that the different animals, insects and birds require. Staff will also be on hand to talk about the plans for the new building and to ask for suggestions, comments and ideas to contribute towards the planning process.

Open Day

Sunday 11th April, 13.00 to 19.00

There will be a BBQ, guided tours, guest speakers, music and a variety of activities to engage visitors of all ages and to get them thinking about the new building; it will be a really great day out!

STOP PRESS! The guest speaker has been announced as Dusty Gedge, the UK leading campaigner and promoter of living roofs. Dusty will be holding a great workshop on living roofs.

Please support the events on the 9th and 11th April and contribute to the design process. They need your help to achieve a really valuable building for the whole community.

For more details contact Jacob Twyford on 020 7851 2211, 020 8291 2272 or through the Friends of Devonshire Road Nature Reserve website

02 October 2009

New Gate for Devonshire Road Nature Reserve

Saturday, 3rd October – 5pm. Official opening of the new fencing and gate at the Devonshire Road Nature Reserve.

Do join the Friends of Devonshire Road Nature Reserve as they celebrate the culmination of several years’ hard work. No longer will this fantastic piece of urban nature be hidden behind tatty, municipal fencing. It now has an entrance to be proud of, designed by Jacob Twyford and hand made in wrought iron and welded steel by local blacksmith, Steve Capper. The reserve will be open from 3.00pm and there are plans for a party with music and more after the opening. There is an exhibition of children’s drawings and a sculpture in lead made by girls at Sydenham School - all used as inspiration for elements of the gate design.

09 June 2009

Devonshire Road Nature Reserve Open Day

Devonshire Road Nature Reserve Annual Open Day takes place this Sunday, 14th June 12:30-17:30
  • Enjoy the Woodlands, meadow, wildlife garden and ponds
  • Exhibition of drawings for the new gates
  • Blacksmith and mobile forge
  • Guided Walks
  • Plant and craft stall
  • Live amphibians & reptiles
  • Refreshments
The reserve is also open on Saturday 13th June - 12:30-16:00 as part of th Open Garden Squares Weekend

29 March 2009

Dacres Wood Nature Reserve

The Forest Hill Society had over 80 people of all ages visit the Dacres Wood Nature Reserve.

Information was provided by Alona Sheridan and Steve Grindlay about the history and natural features of the area. Steve Grinlay has kindly made his notes and maps available to us and they can be viewed here.

Below are a few pictures from the afternoon.

Alona speaking


Toad Spawn

Information and Activities

21 March 2009

Forest Hill Society eNewsletter - 21st March

A busy week in Forest Hill with the 23 Club, the Ward Assembly, and a visit to possibly the last section of canal in Forest Hill!

'23 Club' at The Old Bank – This Monday, 23rd March, 8pm

This Italian restaurant is situated close to Honor Oak Park Station. Booking is not necessary for this evening but do look out for other SE23 Club members. The Old Bank, 76-78 Honor Oak Park, SE23 1DY, Phone 8291 1738

View Larger Map

Dacres Wood – Sunday, 29th March, 2pm (BST)

As British Summer Time begins (at last) join us for a fantastic opportunity to take a look round this site which is not normally accessible to the public. As well as interesting flora and fauna, you will see one of the last surviving parts of the Croydon Canal. The tour will be led by Alona Sheridan and the local historian, Steve Grindlay. Sturdy shoes and appropriate outdoor clothes are recommended.

Meet in the grassy area in front of the reserve gates, (junction of Silverdale and Dacres Road).

View Larger Map

Forest Hill Pools

Over the next few months the council will be consulting about the future of the Forest Hill swimming pool. At present they are proposing two options;

1. Move the pool to Willow Way SE26 in 2011 and sell off the existing site for housing, or
2. Put the project on hold until 2012 before looking again at Option 2 (new build on existing site, retain Victorian frontage, cross subsidise from Willow Way) with possible delivery in 2015.

The Forest Hill Society favour the development of Work/Live units on the Willow Way to help fund a pool development on the existing site, but want this to happen considerably sooner than 2015. A petition has been put together which supports 'Keeping Swimming in Forest Hill ' which you may wish to sign at We understand that this petition has already collected over 170 signatures online and well over 1,000 on paper. More about this campaign group can be found at

Forest Hill Ward Assembly - Wednesday 25th March, 7:30pm

The Forest Hill Ward Assembly is an opportunity for residents living in Forest Hill ward to discuss issues that effect the local area, including the pools which is one of the items on the agenda. Further details of the Assembly can be found on the council website.

Venue: Living Springs International Church, 8-10 Devonshire Road , London SE23 3TJ (see Google StreetView)

13 March 2009

May Bank Holiday Revels on our own Millennium

The Forest Hill and Sydenham societies are joining forces for the Bank Holiday on the 4th of May.
We'll be celebrating spring with a day at a hidden green space on the border of Forest Hill and Sydenham - the Albion Millennium Green.

The Green, formerly a tennis club, was landscaped into an attractive, informal park at the turn of the century under a government scheme to develop 'Millennium Greens.’ Its entrance is at the end of Albion Villas Road (just off Sydenham Park Road), one of the prettiest streets in the area.

It's a haven for flowers and wildlife but it does need a little sprucing up. So we'll start the day with a group tidying up session and then savour the fruits of our labours with a picnic (please bring your own), games and traditional May Day activities for all the family.

10 March 2009

Nature & History Walk in Dacres Wood Nature Reserve

Sunday 29th March at 2pm. Meet in the grassy area in front of the reserve gates, Dacres Road (to the left of Homefield House, at the junction of Silverdale)

This is a fantastic opportunity to take a look round Dacres Wood which is not normally accessible to the public. As well as interesting flora and fauna, you will see one of the last surviving parts of the Croydon Canal. The tour will be led by Alona Sheridan and the local historian, Steve Grindlay.

Sturdy shoes and appropriate outdoor clothes are recommended as the ground can be uneven and slippery. To help identify the local flora and fauna, do bring tree, bird, plant and invertebrate identification books if you have them.

The children's wildlife club at Dacres Wood Reserve is being re-launched but it needs two more volunteers to make it viable. The group will meet on the second Sunday of each month, between 11am and 1pm, except during August and January.

If you are interested in helping to get this project off the ground, please contact Alona Sheridan via the Forest Hill Society.

14 January 2009

Secret Garden

The Dacres Wood Nature Reserve has woodland, a pond and a wide range of wildlife but it’s been locked up since 2003 because of vandalism. Now Susan Wise, one of our local councillors (Perry Vale Ward), wants to open up the site to supervised public access. She explains why it’s such an important part of our area.

Dacres Wood Nature Reserve is situated behind Dacres Road Estate, Perry Vale, and access is via a road behind Homefield House. The nature reserve is owned by the London Borough of Lewisham, and is designated a Grade II site of borough importance. It is a small site, bordered on the western side by the railway cutting (making this part of the “green corridor” that runs along the railway line to London Bridge, where the site’s close abutment to the line encourages the spread of many species along this corridor) and housing to the east, north and south.

The Dacres Wood site was originally part of the Croydon Canal which closed in 1836, and the construction of the railway isolated sections of the canal as “ox-bows”; one of which became the garden of a Victorian house. Following the house’s demolition, the garden was eventually taken over by Lewisham’s Parks Department and opened as a nature reserve in 1989. The site consists of open woodland with glades in the western half, and a large pond and wetland area (which was constructed in 1990) on the southern end of the former canal, in the eastern half. The reserve is fortunate in having a Field Study Centre Building attached to it.

Most of the site is secondary woodland, but there is a discontinuous canopy dominated by a large number of very large turkey oaks, as well as a few horse chestnuts and English oak. This secondary woodland is also made up of young growth of sycamore, English elm, ash, holly, lime and other species, such as English oak, hazel, spotted laurel, rhododendron, cherry, beech, elder and hawthorn. Much of the field layer is dominated by bramble and ivy, with other species, such as bluebell (both native and Spanish) red campion, wood dock, with lords and ladies also present.

A pond near the entrance to the wood is a feature of the site, and has a pond dipping platform with a bridge. The amphibians living in the pond include a large population of smooth newts and common frogs, accompanied by dragon flies and damsel flies. They are part of the diverse invertebrate fauna recorded on the site, which also includes stag beetles, purple hairstreak and speckled wood butterflies. This diversity is a reflection of the site’s history as a remnant of a large Victorian garden, which would have been home to many of the invertebrates from the “semi-natural” countryside. The site’s breeding bird species have included blackcap, chiffchaff, nuthatch and sparrowhawk.
Lewisham had kept the reserve permanently open until 2003, when it was decided to lock the reserve because the site had become extensively vandalised and fly-tipped, and had therefore become a potential health and safety hazard.

However, in 2004 the reserve was given “Local Nature Reserve” status and since then there have been many facilitated school nature study visits involving hundreds of schoolchildren. There have also been numerous “Green Gym” Nature Conservation Volunteer events on the site, and it has participated in several Mayow Park events. Currently, there is a bi-monthly Children’s Wildlife Watch Club on a Saturday, as well as the new “Nature’s Gym” and corporate volunteer workdays held there.

I am very keen to encourage and facilitate more supervised public access to this splendid site, and in order to do this, Lewisham Council is looking to set up a user group to act as champions of the reserve and to oversee visits. Future possible plans include BTCV’s (British Trust for Conservation Volunteers) Green Gym relocating from Creekside, in Deptford, to the Field Centre Building on the reserve so that the project can use the site as a base for operations. If this occurred, BTCV would facilitate and supervise regular weekly public opening of the reserve.

If you are interested in this project, please contact who is our Nature Conservation Officer

06 January 2009

Consultation of Green Spaces

Press Release from Lewisham Council:

Consultation on recreational spaces in Lewisham

Lewisham residents are invited to give their views on what improvements they would like made to open spaces, outdoor sports and recreational provision across the borough.

The public consultation, which opened on Monday 22 December, is seeking feedback on parks, natural green-space areas, outdoor sport facilities, provision for children and young people, and allotments. Local people, groups and organisations are encouraged to give their opinion about the quality of the facilities they use at the moment and what their needs are both now and in the future.

The study has been commissioned by Lewisham Council and will be carried out by Strategic Leisure Limited, a management consultancy company specialising in the planning, development, management and evaluation of sport and leisure facilities, services and events.

The consultation will end on Saturday, 31 January with the findings expected to be published at the beginning of April 2009.

The study will provide the Council with a clear framework for planning and future management. It will also provide targets for future improvement and provision, and ensure local needs are met.

Residents can have their say by completing the online questionnaire at:

09 September 2008

Green Pennant Award to Devonshire Road

Congratulations to the Devonshire Road Nature Reserve on winning Lewisham's first Green Pennant award! The award is administered by the Civic Trust and rewards "standards of excellence in a community or voluntary managed green space. It has been presented in recognition of the hard work, dedication and achievement of the local people who care passionately about this green space."

This site is judged on an annual basis to maintain high standards so please do your bit to help preserve this site's special Green Pennant Award status.

For more information about Devonshire Road Nature Reserve please visit their web site or go along in person.

20 June 2007

Horniman Gardens Revamp

The Horniman Museum is planning a major overhaul of its much-loved gardens and has carried out the first stage of its consultation process. All the suggestions and comments made by local people and users of the gardens have been passed on to the landscape architects, Land Use Consultants (LUC), who have now produced their first draft design. On 18th June, two members of the Forest Hill Society Committee – together with representatives of other local groups - were invited to view these plans. LUC – one of the UK’s leading environmental and design consultancies – presented its vision for the Horniman Gardens.


LUC explained that the Horniman Gardens have evolved in a piecemeal fashion over the years and, as a result, there is no cohesive design to the layout. There is little integration between the Museum and the Gardens. The design team wants to rectify that and devise a garden, which creates a closer relationship between the two.

As a result of the consultation, several key requests came up again and again. Adults wanted water features. Younger users of the Gardens wanted to keep the kick-about area and remove the dog poo from the grass!


The designers want to realign many of the existing paths, getting rid of some completely, so that there is a more fluid feel to the Gardens. They feel this will help people move naturally from the Museum itself into the centre of the Gardens.

The focus of the Gardens would be the central avenue, which would be upgraded.

They suggest relocating the hugely popular (but not very attractive) animal enclosure closer to the back of the Museum so that it is better integrated.

The existing sunken garden could be given a water feature of some sort.

The hardstanding around the bandstand is seen as a problem area, which has become an eyesore over the years. LUC suggest reducing the width of this area by bringing in additional planting. They would like to improve the panoramic views by removing some trees.

The designers want to restore the bandstand. This would include restoring the glazing at the back.

The old paddling pool/kick-about area would be turned back into a more natural pool as part of an expanded nature area. This pool could be linked thematically with the Horniman’s new aquarium. The pool would be fed by harvesting water from the hardstanding area via a series of small pools.

Another quite radical idea is to bring the Nature Trail into the Gardens by changing the existing boundaries of the cycle path and footpath (obviously, subject to approval from Lewisham Council). The designers feel the Nature Trail is an underused resource partly because it is a dead end. So they would like to build some kind a facility at the Langton Rise end – London Wildlife Trust have expressed an interest – or perhaps key worker housing. This would then provide access to the Nature Trail from that end and the buildings would bring a form of passive security.

The designers suggest introducing a wild play area at the South Circular end of the Nature Trail for young children. Instead of metal climbing frames and swings etc it would make use of natural materials such as sand, gravel and logs for children to explore and climb. A more teen-friendly facility could be located over the road in the Horniman Triangle.


The Horniman team was at pains to stress that these designs are at a very early stage and some of the points mentioned above have already been modified. Nothing has been decided yet and, indeed, no funding has been secured. So this is still very much a work in progress and it’s good to know that they value the input of local groups and users.

Those of us at this meeting asked a lot of questions, made a lot of suggestions and these were noted and will feed back into the design process. For example, there were concerns about the realignment and loss of some paths. And there was a plea to keep the kick-about area because it is such a good meeting point for older children.

So, the design process continues. Eventually it will form part of the application for Lottery funding. If that bid is successful, the final design details will be worked out.

This is a long-term project and it’s important for local people to stay involved. We’ll keep you up-to-date with developments via our website and Newsletter.

24 April 2007

Devonshire Road Nature Reserve Walk

Glorious weather awaited as 25 or more residents from across Forest Hill, adults of all ages and several intrepid youngsters, gathered on Devonshire Road to explore a local hidden treasure, the Devonshire Road Nature Reserve.

The Reserve covers a large area along the tracks behind the houses on Devonshire Road (see map here). The Reserve functions almost exclusively with the work of volunteers. Nick Pond, in charge of nature conservation at Lewisham Council, gave us the introduction and tour. We also met Johanna Morley, Iris Borger and Tony Canning. Tony was our expert on all matters pond related. Iris manages the Wildlife Garden and also works with local schools to get younger residents involved with conservation, and Johanna is helping to energise more volunteers through the Friends of Devonshire Road Nature Reserve (if you want to know more, send her an email).

The wildlife garden is complete with "luxury apartments" at the wood pile for Stag Beetles and lots of attractive, yet wildlife friendly garden features, including the amazing pond teeming with young toads and even newts. As Nick pointed out, wildlife gardening, and supporting local wildlife, like birds, butterflies, beetles and frogs does not mean you can't garden, but you need to think a little more and maybe incorporate some 'wilder' features. If nothing else, it means that leaving that flower bed unweeded and the pile of logs in the back is not laziness, but positive action for the environment!

On our a gentle trek around the Reserve it was so peaceful, other than the occasional passing train, you could imagine yourself miles outside of the city.

Nick explained how important these areas are to our local wildlife and what small steps we can take to help, such as limiting our use of slug pellets (that also kill birds and spread chemical debris), leaving areas of taller grasses to support the breeding of butterflies, building ponds to help frogs, birds, dragonflies and plants, and more.

This is not untamed wilderness. There are open meadows, well maintained paths and the classroom has the important amenities! The Reserve is not ancient woodland so it is quite open, light and easy to walk.

After 2 hours in almost 25 degree weather, the tea and cakes (home made by Iris and Johanna) were very welcome and quickly devoured whilst we rested in the sun.

If you would like to take a look around it yourself, or even get involved, it is open in the afternoon of the last Sunday of every month. Iris is also there several days a week to welcome the school students to the wildlife garden, so you could speak to her there.

Please do get involved, even if it is just for raising awareness of this local oasis. I'm sure they'd appreciate the support.

To see more photos, you can click here.