Five winter wildlife walks in Lewisham

Despite the single digit temperature readings, many of Lewisham’s nature reserves and green spaces remain open throughout winter to provide residents with a countryfied oasis in south-east London. Although tempting it may be to surrender to the sofa under a pile of blankets, there is plenty of opportunity to muddy your boots just a stone’s throw from the door! 

Albion Millennium Green 

This reserve is 1.7 acres of woodland and meadow with two small ponds and the beginnings of a community orchard consisting of mulberry, plum, cherry, apple and pear trees. The Green opened in the year 2000 and is one of 245 Green Spaces that were created in cities and towns across England to celebrate the turn of the Millennium. 

Chestnut, oak, birch, ash, sycamore and hornbeam trees can be found at the site, as well as various examples of wildlife including butterflies, moths, dragonflies and shield bugs. 

Albion Millennium Green. Pic: Molly Smith

This reserve is always open. 

Dacres Wood Nature Reserve

Located between Forest Hill and Sydenham alongside the railway line; woodland, wetlands and ponds can be found at this reserve. Smooth newts and frogs live and breed in and around the water, as well as dragonflies and damselflies. 

The woodland is made up of oak and sycamore trees, alongside rough grassland and bramble which enable wildlife to flourish at the site. 

Sign for Dacres Wood Nature Reserve. Pic: Molly Smith

This reserve is open on the last Saturday of the month from 13:00 – 16:00 

Devonshire Rd Nature Reserve

On the railway, sitting between Forest Hill and New Cross, this two and a half mile long reserve comprises tall ash, sycamore and sessile oak trees. This site boasts a wide range of smaller trees, shrubs and plants including Spanish bluebells, wild garlic and holly. 

As well as common garden birds, more species of interest have been spotted at the reserve including woodpeckers, tawny owls and bullfinches. Other residents of the reserve include beetles, bees and butterflies.

This reserve is open on the last Sunday of every month. Pic: Molly Smith

Downham Woodland Walk 

The trees and plants found here indicate that the woodland is ancient. The dominant canopy is primarily made up of oak trees. Smaller trees and shrubs including holly, crab apple and elder can be found forming the under canopy of this mile long woodland. 

Woodpeckers, willow warblers and long-tailed tits reside here alongside five different beetle species. 

Downham Woodland Walk. Pic: Molly Smith

This reserve is always open. 

Sue Godfrey Nature Park 

Over 200 species of wildflowers, trees and shrubs have been recorded at this site that up until the 80s was considered nothing more than wasteland. To maintain the biodiversity of the park, 50 – 70 per cent of the grass is cut each year, to stop shrubs from overrunning the area. Coppicing trees allows light to reach the ground bearing wild flowers and produces regrowth that is ideal for nesting birds. 

This park is home to many types of butterfly including the common blue, large, small, gatekeeper and Essex skipper.

Sue Godfrey Nature Reserve. Pic: Molly Smith

This reserve is always open. 

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