New Cross Gate Cutting
Know before you go
The reserve is halfway between New Cross Gate and Brockley rail stations, on the railway’s west side. The entrance is via a gate in Vesta Road.
The entrance is wide but paths are narrow and there are steps. Footpaths are rough and sometimes steep, with a set of steep steps at the north end.
When to visit
Opening timesAlthough the site is not open on a regular basis, there are open days and monthly workdays. If you would like to volunteer on the site please email firstname.lastname@example.org.
Best time to visitApril to July
About the reserve
Brockley’s New Cross Gate Cutting is predominantly oak woodland with open glades of neutral and acid grassland in which reeds and tall herbs grow. Some flowers are locally rare, and the site contributes to one of London’s most important railway cuttings for wildlife, stretching southwards to Forest Hill.
The cutting was dug in 1838-39 and still bears the legacy of once being part of the old Great North Wood, and at times the route of the Croydon Canal, brickworks, and wartime allotments.
The site, also known as Brockley Nature Reserve, contributes to one of the most important railway cuttings for wildlife in London.
History of New Cross Gate Cutting
A narrower cutting at this site was first cut in 1801-03, for the Croydon Canal. Laterit was widened as part of the Brighton Main Line that was built along the route. Thanks to its isolation the steep western side of the railway bank, since the 1960s, became a hugely important wooded wildlife site. In 1987 a deal was struck by the Trust with the former British Rail to manage the site, and this arrangement continues today with Network Rail.