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Mike Allen

Our Ancient Woodlands

Thanks to Pansy for posting the petition

This reminded me that some time ago I had promised to add my experiences to the Ancient Woodland known as Oxley Woods.    Oxley Woods are situated in South East London.  Ancient woodlands in London.  You must be joking, go on, pull the other one.  So with the aid of Google Earth, please check out the location.  

This expanse of woodland starts on the boundary of Welling (London Borough of Bexley) the woods run unobstructed alongside Shooters Hill, formally known as Watling Street.  Part of the old Roman Road  from Dover to London.   It goes over the peak of the hill, past Eaglesfield  Rd on the right.  Passing the Bull Hotel on the right, outside of which still stands a stage coach mounting stand.  On the left is the Memorial hospital.  Once known as the, War Memorial Hospital.  It’s close to here that the road today become lower than the footpath, suddenly the tree bases are below the height of the cars and buses.  In times past, this was actually the point/peak of Shooters Hill.  It became too much for the horsedrawn stage coaches, so the top of the hill was lowered.

Back to the lefthand-side of the road.  The hospital actually stands in part of the ancient woodland.

Within the woodland at this point the name changes from Oxleys wood to Jack Wood.  Now travelling downhill towards Acadamy Rd and Well Hall Rd cross roads, the woods thin out to a grassed area.    

Back inside the woods we have now entered Castlewood.  Here stands the Severndroog castle, A folly.  Recently many thousands of pounds have been spent on refurbishing it.
Believe me, climbing the spiral staircase at at the top.   Wowee!  The view across    London.  Truly London is blessed with so many trees and green spaces.  Looking down.  Those mighty oaks look like tiny shrubs.

Now.  Take my hand and lets look inside this ancient woodland.  “Ancient” what does that mean?  God willing and if my poor health holds out. During this year, I hope to undertake a short tree survey.  To be honest.  I doubt very much if there is a tree over two/three hundred years old.  I promise to keep you updated.

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