With the remaining fragments of the Great North Wood loosely spiralling around Crystal Palace and the Sydenham Ridge, Long Lane Wood is an intriguing outlier further to the south, loved by local people but largely unknown by the wider public.
London Wildlife Trust launched the Great North Wood project in 2017 and now works with volunteers, community groups, landowners, and councils, to revive and reimagine this ancient landscape as a home for nature and people.
Long Lane Wood is recorded on famous cartographer John Rocque's 1762 Map of Surrey, as well as Thomas Bainbridge’s 1800 Map of Croydon. Its 6ha (15 acres) extent has remained largely intact since, although fields that once bordered it have now been superseded by suburban sprawl. Unlike nearby areas of the Great North Wood which formed part of the Archbishop of Canterbury's estate, Long Lane Wood is thought to have belonged to nearby Ham Farm, later being absorbed into the Monks Orchard estate. Although this name might paint a poetic image of monastic woodland management, the name simply relates to a family called Monk from nearby Addington.
The area began to be developed into suburban housing in the 1920s and Long Lane Wood was purchased by the County Borough of Croydon in 1924 from F.E. Loyd for use as a public open space. This included the adjacent Bywood Avenue Bird Sanctuary which was designed to be an undisturbed counterpart to the public area of woodland.