Garthorne Road Nature Reserve

An oasis of calm in Forest Hill


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Workday results

Myself and another committee member (Chris) constructed these steps with sleepers and hogging, it was tough work preparing the area digging into thick clay

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Before a slippery slope

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Work in progress (Committee member Chris)

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Work in progress

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Nearly finshed

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Job well done

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Finshed view

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Garthorne Road workday 4th Saturday March 10am-1pm

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The Friends will be building steps out of railway sleepers, to improve access to the meadow areas , also will be constructing some dead hedging around the meadows and along the paths to create a habitat for the birds and insects.

Tools will be supplied. We have a few pairs of gloves, but please bring your own if you have them.

Please wear suitable clothing and footwear for the weather

For further information contact the Friends
E-mail : contact@friendsofgarthorneroad.org.uk
Website: https://garthorneroadnaturereserve.com/
Twitter: twitter.com/Garthorneroadnr


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Garthorne Road workday 11th February 2017 10am-1pm

Nature's Gym workday

Garthorne Road workday

The Friends first task-day will be to clear invasive species to open up the woodland floor to allow the light to reach it for the flora to expand.  Tools will be supplied.  We have a few pairs of gloves, but please bring your own if you have them


Please wear suitable clothing and footwear for the weather

For further information contact the Friends



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Nature’s Gym workday at Garthorne Road

2 Alix and Helen

Creating butterfly scallops

The Nature’s Gym spent a happy few hours in Garthorne Road last week (18th August 2016), creating butterfly scallops in the woodland.  Even as we were working we saw meadow browns and large whites and a few others that refused to keep still, so we couldn’t identify them.  This is an on going management plan and hopefully will result in more butterflies and with any luck some flora. We did uncover some purple loosestrife and rosebay willow herb, and I think there may be a number of other dormant plants just waiting to be uncovered!

Why create scallops?

Woodlands are fantastic habitats for wildlife and including the 40 species of British butterfly. Open space is the most important part of a woodland for butterflies, especially on its edge habitat where the warmest conditions are to be found.  Many woodlands have lost this vital habitat, but they are easy to recreate.  The best woodland edges support a varied habitat structure.  Cutting scallops creates a varied, zoned edge structure and also reduce shading along the adjacent ride and have great potential to improve any existing ride side butterfly habitat. They will increase the overall structural diversity of the woodland and provide sheltered herb-rich grassy areas.

We have followed the ‘Linear Cutting Regime’ with offset scallops) – which creates a far more varied habitat. For more information on scallops and why they are a great way to create new habitats, you might find this leaflet from The Butterfly Conservation Trust useful.

(Lots more information can be found on the Butterfly Conservation Trust website)

Other wildlife found in Garthorne Road


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Missing/lost gardening equipment

Missing or lost gardening materials?

Missing or lost gardening materials?

The Nature’s Gym volunteers visited Garthorne Road nature reserve today and came across a big bag of compost, plastic pots and green buckets.  We don’t know if they have been stolen or left there by somebody. If there are yours, please get in contact to let us know.  If we don’t hear from you in the next two weeks (Thursday 30th June), we will dispose of them.  When you do contact us, please let us know what else is missing so that we can identify you.


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A new Friends Group for Garthorne Road

(Photo by NBC/NBCU Photo Bank via Getty Images)

(Photo by NBC/NBCU Photo Bank via Getty Images)

Friends Groups

Friends groups are made up of volunteers who wish to have a say in how their local parks and nature reserves are maintained, developed and used.  Some of these groups are constituted and organise entertainment and conservation activities as well as apply for funding to make improvements.  They work in partnership with the local authority and Glendale (Park User Groups).  There are already a number of Friends Groups in Lewisham which help the Council out in a number of ways.

We are also very keen to set up a Friends Group for the site, just like our neighbours on the other side of the tracks at Devonshire Road.  If this is something that you would like to be involved in, please contact Jess Kyle for more information.

Why start a Friends Group 

There are many reasons why people want to start a friends group and not just because they want to improve their local greenspace. There are also many social benefits from forming a community group, for example, the chance to get to know your community and make a positive contribution to your local area, make new friends, get exercise, and the satisfaction that bringing about change can give you. Further benefits could include access to training, skills enhancement and improved employment prospects as well as general improvements to health and well being.

Community involvement in the regeneration of green spaces has been shown to be of key importance and it can help in developing a sense of community ownership. Improving a green space can take a lot of work and commitment and is made easier if there are more of you and it is likely to be a funding requirement that you are part of a group that is representative of your local community.

For more information on how to set up your own group, please see visit this very useful site from Leeds City Council.

Starting Up

Many groups tend to start up with a specific project in mind – for example they may be concerned about the condition of a local area of open space or about litter in an area. The way to start up a new group is to get together with a number of people who share your particular interest or concerns. Some groups may start up with as few as two or three core members and that is fine although most groups will find that they benefit from having more members. The more members your group has the more able the group will be to support members and share out tasks. Often getting things done can require a great deal of enthusiasm and involve a lot of hard work and patience so the more people involved in your group the easier it may be!

Nature Reserve Friends Groups in Lewisham

Burnt Ash Pond

Burnt Ash Pond is perhaps the finest pond in the borough from an ecological viewpoint, supporting a good variety of aquatic plants and animals. It is also aesthetically pleasing, with its fringing trees and colourful iris beds, and is much loved by residents of the surrounding houses in Melrose Close. The site is open on the first Sunday of every month between 11am-12pm.

Dacres Wood

Dacres Wood is a small nature reserve beside the railway line between Forest Hill and Sydenham. Despite its name, a major nature conservation interest on the site lies in its ponds and wetlands, which are relics of the old Croydon Canal. The site is usually locked (apart from the monthly open days) for health and safety reasons but is well used by both schools and conservation volunteers. A field centre, opened in 1993, is available for use by schools and also serves as a base for volunteer workdays. Sessions at the site can be run the Lewisham’s Nature Conservation team.  If you are interested in using the site as part of outdoor learning, please contact them.

The Friends group at this site is one of the newest to be established on Lewisham’s Nature Reserves and they are already very active!

You can join them by filling out their membership form on their blog.

Devonshire Road

Devonshire Road Nature Reserve forms part of the Forest Hill to New Cross Gate railway cutting. This is a site of metropolitan importance for nature conservation as it contains probably the finest suite of railside wildlife habitat in London. It is four kilometres long and over 200 metres wide at its widest points.  You can use the walks leaflet to help guide you around Devonshire Road guided walk.

Grove Park

Grove Park Nature Reserve, situated across the railway from Hither Green Cemetery, contains a good variety of habitats, including the only substantial area of grassland with a calcareous influence in the borough. These habitats support a wide diversity of plants and animals, including a number of locally rare species. The reserve is greatly appreciated by many local people, whether walking their dogs, picking blackberries and plums, or quietly enjoying a peaceful wild space.  Download a illustrated nature reserve guide here:

Grove Park poster

Hither Green Triangle

Building steps

Building steps

The Sidcup and Orpington lines diverge at Hither Green station to make two sides of a triangle, the third side of which is formed by engine sheds and sidings. As all of these are on embankments, the land within the triangle appears from platform five (which provides the best view) as a large hollow. Regular sessions are held here where work includes maintaining the footpaths and building steps. You can read the Management Plan and see more photos at the Lee Manor blog


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Garthorne Road Nature Reserve blog is here!

Help us improve this fantastic site

Help us improve this fantastic site

Hi there and welcome to our new site.  We hope that this blog will help us generate interest in this fantastic site and encourage local people to visit and take part in events and open days.  We can not do this alone, so if you are interested, please contact Lewisham’s Nature Conservation Officer, Jess Kyle who will be able to give you more information.

We really hope to establish a friends group for this site and will be writing more about this in due course.