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18 October 2010

Walk in Sydenham Hill Wood

For centuries country folk have noticed a period of better weather around St Luke's Day, the 18th October. This became known as 'St Lukes Little Summer'. They might be a day or so out but the forecast looks good for later, so why not take the opportunity to have a wander around Sydenham Hill Wood, a nine hectare area of ancient woodland in South London.

The wood is the biggest remaining tract of the old Great North Wood, which once stretched from Deptford to Selhurst. Whilst its size was somewhat reduced with the relocation of the Crystal Palace to South London, and the laying of the tracks of the Crystal Palace and South London Junction Railway from Nunhead to the Palace, it outlived both the Crystal Palace, which burned down in 1936, and the railway, which closed in 1954.

In 1982, the London Wildlife Trust took over and continue to manage it. As readers might imagine, wildlife abounds, but it is also interesting for the disused railway bed and tunnel which run through it, and the folly pictured above. It's a perfect place to get lost on St Luke's Little Summer.

For more, see http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sydenham_Hill_Wood


  1. That's lovely - I really enjoy coming across ruins. You could almost imagine orcs bursting out from behind that one :)

    Btw - added accordionist?? This thing on Tuesday evening sounds like it's becoming a bit of an extravaganza :)

  2. I know...why do I do these things to myself?

  3. Aah, you've ventured down our way. I love that wood, and the hidden pond thing, and the ruins.
    A friend of mine passed a ninja (cooler than an orc?) on the little footbridge which was unsettling. It turned out someone was filming something, but the sight of a fully garbed ninja astride the path was certainly an unsettling one until a make-up lady appeared.

  4. Glad you like the woods.

    The Great North Wood is a bit of a complex topic, as the area was always a mix of different land uses rather than a pure stand of continuous woodland. The original north wood was that from Beulah Hill down to South Norwood, and mainly refers to the bit linked to Croydon. In the Victorian period the term was expeanded to refer to the whole Kent-Surrey border in this part of the world and was largely used to express a nostolgic sense of loss of the rural landscape to urban london.

    You can find out all the latest news about Sydenham Hill Woods on our facebook page.