Archived on 6/5/2022

Petition: Save the Cox’s Walk Footbridge Oak Trees [Felling halted]

6 Aug '19

Why is this important?

These two, hundred-year old oak trees stand on each side of the west end of Cox’s Walk Footbridge, Sydenham Hill Woods. They are like sentinels, welcoming and guarding the bridge, and their magnificent canopy dapples the bridge in green shade. But these trees are due to be felled this autumn, just to make life easy for Southwark Council when they carry out repairs to the footbridge. That would be a loss of hundreds of years of life for these beautiful, healthy oaks and the life they support.

  • Southwark Council is trying to blame these trees for damage to the bridge but the engineer’s assessment states it is lateral pressure from the soil on both sides of the bridge that is the problem.
  • There has been some damage to the brickwork by roots, but ivy roots not oak roots.
  • The abutment walls that need repair were rebuilt in the 1980s (exact date unknown) without needing to remove the trees, so we know it can be done.
  • No assessment appears to have been done of the impact on the stability of the slope and the water table removal of these trees will have.
  • Oak trees have a rich biodiversity, supporting hundreds of insect species, birds, fungi, mosses and lichens.
10 Sep '19
31 Oct '19

Despite nearly 2,000 people signing the Save the Footbridge Oaks petition, Southwark are likely to going ahead.

The trees could be cut down any time from Saturday 2nd November. Southwark has refused to hold a public consultation and held all discussions behind closed doors.

7 Nov '19

Great news:

9 Jul '20

Marvellous effort by campaigners. Their crowdfunder is 90% funded, proposing an alternative approach that saves the bridge and trees :

9 Nov '20
21 Nov '20

Featured on BBC News today:

25 Nov '20

Grainne Cuff has a good writeup of the history and current events around in News Shopper yesterday. There is also a small photo gallery of the area and camp:

Campaigners are guarding two healthy oak trees 24 hours a day in a bid to stop Southwark Council from chopping them down.

The trees in Sydenham Hill Wood in Dulwich, thought to be 155 and 115 years old, sit on either side of the western end of a footbridge on Cox’s Walk – the council says they must be felled so the bridge can be repaired.

But campaigners, who have been guarding the trees for a week and have racked up more than 5,000 signatures on their petition to save them, say it is “not inevitable” that the oaks can’t be saved and felling them is an “active choice” by the council.

As of writing, the petition stands at 5,215 signatures.

7 Dec '20
10 Dec '20

More coverage from Southwark News:

2 Jan '21

Reported on

21 Jan '21

Grainne Cuffe reports for News Shopper on something of a victory for the campaigners:

See the full article for more details, but this looks like something to celebrate.