Sydenham Hill Wood Conservation Updates


Sydenham Hill Wood is a nature reserve managed by London Wildlife Trust. It is part of London’s historic Great North Wood.

Recent Work

Wooden steps are a valuable habitat for fungi and insects, but eventually they become a trip hazard! Volunteers carefully removed two old steps by the footbridge and left them in the woods to continue to rot down before replacing them to start the cycle again!

When too many logs end up in our pond, the extra nutrients they add to the water can harm the delicate balance of life there. So we fish some of them out! Most end up in there from falling off trees, but some are thrown in - please don’t! How timeless does this scene look though!

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Mending fences, steps and handrails around the wood is just one of the many things volunteers get stuck in with! If you’d like to get involved, email for more information!

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Sometimes we thin out plants like holly and yew to allow more light to the woodland floor. When we do, we use the cut material to create dead-hedges. Sometimes though, where we cut and where we need the hedge aren’t in the same place! Luckily our volunteers are great at teamwork!


Volunteers have been hard at work clearing the Cox’s Walk bridge of mud and leaves. Too bad we forgot a “before” photo! There’s been a bridge here since 1865, and Camille Pissarro painted the view from it in 1871! Look out for out info board in the exact spot it was painted from!


Our volunteers have been measuring our mulberry tree to submit it to London Mulberies! The Morus Londinium project is making a map of all London’s mulberry trees, as they were usually planted for a reason, and finding out why can reveal interesting stories!


Out on a winter walk? Look out for this boardwalk, installed by the Great North Wood project back in the summer to cross a really muddy and waterlogged section of path in our neighbouring Dulwich Wood. Hopefully you’re seeing the benefit now!

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Here’s a few photos from our volunteer crafternoon in the woods in December! As a thank you to London Wildlife Trust volunteers from across South London, we carved spoons, cast pewter using cuttlefish bone moulds and celebrated a great year of hard work caring for London’s wildlife!



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Did you know, Cox’s walk has existed since 1742? It was created by publican Frances Cox to encourage people visiting Sydenham Wells to come through the woods to his pub! Now it’s managed by London Wildlife Trust staff and volunteers as an important route for wildlife as well as people!


We had a great visit from Y2 at Judith Kerr Primary School recently, learning all about woodland habitats! We were even followed around by a robin!

To book a guided school visit to the wood please email or visit here for more details:

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Volunteers worked hard replacing the rotten scaffold board on this step recently! It looks new in the photo, but after a few days of mud it was truly weathered in! We used part of a recycled scaffolding board and pegs cut from hazel from our London Wildlife Trust Gutteridge Wood reserve!


Coppicing is one of our oldest woodland management practices and has taken place across the Great North Wood for hundreds of years. Volunteers have been coppicing hazel in the wood and used it to create this hurdle to flll a gap in the fence! GNW map here:


We’ve had an increase in filming requests since these signs went up - huge thanks to everyone who requests permission, it helps us keep the wood as a haven for wildlife and a special place for visitors!

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Look out for wildflowers starting to appear in the wood, like this delicate little chickweed! It’s particularly important to watch where you step at this time of year, as the newly emerging shoots are very delicate! A bit of care now means more flowers later on!


The woods are full of nesting birds now, like this blue tit (:camera:David Esterson). It’s important to keep dogs on leads during this time so they don’t scare low-nesting birds like wrens, and to move away if you hear alarm calls, as birds can abandon nests if they feel threatened.