The London Wildlife Trust has received £699,000 from the Heritage Lottery to  revive the Great North Wood and Thornton Heath’s Grangewood Park is to feature in the project.

The Friends of Grangewood Park have worked to support the bid by the LWT which will protect, enhance, and celebrate remnant sites, allowing a fantastic number of people to explore this fascinating woodland heritage.

Andrea Perry, Chair of The Friends of Grangewood said: “We are extremely excited to be part of this project.
Grangewood is a unique open space. A wooded park with a massive amount of history. We hope that this project will help to promote the beauty of Grangewood which has for so many years been overlooked. ”

The Great North Wood once covered the high ground between Deptford and Selhurst, and while much has been lost to urban development over the last century or so, echoes of the Wood still exist as a series of small woodlands, parks, cemeteries, sports grounds, railway embankments, and even back gardens. Although these sites no longer form one continuous natural habitat as they once did, all of them still provide a home for London’s wildlife.

Now falling under the ownership and control of many different landowners and managers, the Great North Wood is subject to a variety of modern pressures such as overuse, fly-tipping and inconsistent management – but the Trust is determined to ensure that this special Living Landscape* is recognised and valued, before it is lost forever.

Over four years the Trust will work with volunteers, community groups, landowners, and local councils, in a collaborative project reviving and reimagining the Great North Wood as a home for nature and people – in a modern urban landscape. It will raise awareness of this largely forgotten woodland, encouraging people to explore, enjoy and value the natural wealth on their doorsteps.

With strong community involvement, this project will focus on resident woodland species such as woodpeckers, purple hairstreak butterflies, stag beetles, oak and hornbeam trees; with surveying, guided walks, and family activities such as minibeast hunts and teddy bear picnics. Conservation work will also enhance ancient woodland areas and help people discover them.

The Great North Wood project is only possible thanks to support from National Lottery players through a £699,000 grant from Heritage Lottery Fund (HLF), with further support from the Mayor of London, Veolia Environmental Trust, the Dulwich Estate, and Dulwich Society. London Wildlife Trust will be working closely with borough councils in Bromley, Croydon, Lambeth, Lewisham, and Southwark, throughout its duration.

Significant remnants of the Great North Wood can be found and enjoyed at woodland sites such as Dulwich Wood, Sydenham Hill Wood, One Tree Hill, Streatham Common and Grangewood Park.

Sam Bentley-Toon, Great North Wood Project Officer, said: “The Great North Wood is an ambitious and exciting project that will really boost south London’s natural heritage, encouraging Londoners to value, enjoy and care for help their local wildlife hotspots. London Wildlife Trust will be working with five London borough councils and a host of local volunteers as we put the Great North Wood back on the map!”.

Stuart Hobley, Head of HLF London, said: “The Great North Wood once stretched across South London, and was an integral part of the development of London as a global city, providing wood for charcoal burning, construction and ship building. This project will protect, enhance, and celebrate the remnant sites, and allow a fantastic number of people to explore this fascinating woodland heritage. We are delighted that money from National Lottery players can help make this happen.”

If you want to find out more Edwin Malins who is the the new Great North Wood Project Officer will be at The Grangewood Park Picnic in the Park on Sunday. There will also be a guided history tour of the park by The Norwood Society. Stephen Oxford will be doing tours of the park at 2pm and 4pm.