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Sydenham Hill Wood and Cox's Walk

A unique mix of ancient woodland, Victorian garden plants and recent woodland.

A unique mix of ancient woodland, Victorian garden plants (try and spot the monkey puzzle tree!) and recent woodland.

A great place to see woodpeckers, rare insects, bats, and fungi.

Combined with the adjacent Dulwich Wood, Sydenham Hill Wood forms the largest remaining tract of the old Great North Wood which once stretched from Deptford to Selhurst.

In the 1870s, large Victorian villas with extensive gardens were established on Sydenham Hill, and the wood is now a unique mix of old woodland, Victorian garden survivors and recent woodland.

The wood is home to over 200 species of trees and flowering plants including wild garlic, early dog violet and bugle. A multitude of fungi, rare insects, birds and elusive woodland mammals are also present.

London Wildlife Trust began managing the wood in 1982, and, with the determined support of local people, it remains a valuable reserve for the continued benefit of wildlife and the public.

Cox's Walk is an old avenue lined with oaks that support nuthatch and green woodpecker.

Oak and hornbeam demonstrate the ancient woodland heritage of this site, and in the eastern part of the wood, garden relic trees are still present such as a cedar of Lebanon and a monkey puzzle tree.

There is also a Victorian folly, once a garden ornament or conversation piece, now hidden deep in the middle of the wood.

The Nunhead to Crystal Palace (Higher Level) railway line once passed through, and you can follow the trackbed up to a disused tunnel, now used as a roost by bats.

Habitats you'll see


Species you might spot

Wild garlic, bluebell, wood anemone and bugle; nuthatch and green woodpecker; various bats.

If you see these or any other species, please submit your wildlife sightings to Greenspace Information for Greater London (GiGL) to help build a picture of London's nature!

Visit us

There are entrances on Crescent Wood Road, off Sydenham Hill (opposite Countisbury House tower block) and also on the junction of Lordship Lane and Dulwich Common (Cox's Walk).

The reserve is unstaffed, but you can contact us care of the Centre for Wildlife Gardening - 020 7252 9186.

To see if there are any events coming up at this reserve, take a look at our event listings.

Open at all times

Get involved

Contact Daniel Greenwood - or 020 7252 9186 for information about regular practical volunteering days.

You can search for volunteering opportunities at Sydenham Hill Wood on our South London volunteering page.

School visits

We have over 20 years’ experience teaching children outdoors, providing brilliant hands-on nature lessons in London directly linked with the National Curriculum. For more information on the sessions we provide at Sydenham Hill Wood visit our outdoor education page.

Site status

Site of Metropolitan Importance, Local Nature Reserve.


Species and habitats


Nearby nature reserves

Centre for Wildlife Gardening
2 miles - London Wildlife Trust
Bellenden Road Nature Garden
3 miles - London Wildlife Trust
New Cross Gate Cutting
3 miles - London Wildlife Trust

Nature reserve map

Reserve information

Crescent Wood Road
Greater London
SE26 6LS
Map reference
Best time to visit
Apr - Jul
Sep - Nov
Get directions
Find out here
Public transport
Plan your journey
Opening Times
Open at all times.
Contact the Trust for access information.
Parking is available in surrounding streets.
Dogs must be on lead
Grazing animals
Reserve manager
Daniel Greenwood
Tel: 020 7252 9186


Factsheets and guides for your visit