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Centre for Wildlife Gardening

Idyllic wildlife garden and award-winning visitor centre in quiet residential street

Centre for Wildlife Gardening in Peckham, south London, is the perfect place to learn and relax in a welcoming outdoor environment. It is a favourite spot for local families, school children, gardeners and wildlife watchers; having grown beyond recognition since the Trust created it in the late 1980s from an old council depot.

The centre’s demonstration wildlife garden has a range of mini-habitats including four ponds, chalk bank, wildflower meadow, woodland copse, herb garden, stag beetle sanctuaries, insect hotels, and raised beds demonstrating permaculture.

The site has been a Green Flag Community Award winner for several years.


Species you can see at Centre for Wildlife Gardening

Amphibians: Common toad, common frog, smooth newt

Birds: Robin, goldfinch, great tit

Invertebrates: Hoverfly, comma butterfly, holly blue butterfly, mason bees, crab spider, stag beetle

Plants: Hops, poppy, borage, comfrey, cowslip, bluebell, red campion


History of Centre for Wildlife Gardening

This small patch of land in Marsden Road that is now a pretty green wildlife haven was until the 1980s a depot for Southwark Council's road vehicles. The brownfield site, surrounded by Victorian terrace housing, had lain derelict for a number of years and was covered in rubble when London Wildlife Trust persuaded the council in 1989 to lease it to the Trust for use as a community tree nursery to supply stock for nature reserves. However, project leaders Jill Goddard and Dawn Eckhart developed the site into much more than that. It became an educational and communal resource, and with the addition of its stunning visitor centre in 1991, became a popular green oasis - remaining so today.


Facilities at Centre for Wildlife Gardening

A ramp leads from the garden to the visitor centre, which houses a classroom, accessible toilets, and information for visitors. Outside, there is a picnic area.


How to get to Centre for Wildlife Gardening

The entrance is on Marsden Road, through large wrought iron gates. East Dulwich Railway Station is a five-minute walk away, Peckham Rye Railway Station is a 15-minute walk away. Buses 40, 176, 185, 484 and P13 stop nearby.


Opening times for Centre for Wildlife Gardening

The site opens when staffed; usually Mondays, Tuesdays, Wednesdays, Thursdays and Sundays from 10.30am until 4.30pm.


Accessibility at Centre for Wildlife Gardening

There are paved pathways around the garden and a ramp to the visitor centre, which has accessible toilets. The site is flat with gentle slopes and occasional small steps. Seating is found throughout. Free street parking is available near the entrance.


Status of Centre for Wildlife Gardening

Site of Borough Importance for Nature Conservation


Get involved at Centre for Wildlife Gardening 



Family learning at Centre for Wildlife Gardening


Without family support, a child's formal education is an uphill struggle. There is evidence that family learning can overcome difficulties associated with a disadvantaged background for both parents and children. The Trust is now working with Southwark Adult Learning Service as a delivery partner for family learning. The sessions offered are often a second chance for parents, carers and grandparents to return to learning, creating a host of fresh opportunities and to pursue learning together. Free taster sessions and short courses are offered throughout the year.



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Nearby nature reserves

Bellenden Road Nature Garden
1 miles - London Wildlife Trust
New Cross Gate Cutting
2 miles - London Wildlife Trust
Sydenham Hill Wood and Cox's Walk
2 miles - London Wildlife Trust

Nature reserve map

Reserve information

28 Marsden Road
SE15 4EE
Map reference
TQ 338 755
Great for...
a family day out
getting away from it all
Best time to visit
Mar - Oct
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Opening Times
Open Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday, Sunday 10.30am-4.30pm. Closed to the public on Fridays and Saturdays.
Visitor centre
Picnic facilities
Disabled toilet
0.25 hectares
Guide dogs only
Grazing animals
Reserve manager
Sylvia Myers
Tel: 020 3897 6151