Sydenham Hill Woods
Nature Reserve and Ancient Woodland
'Sydenham Hill Wood forms part of the largest remaining tract of the old Great North Wood, a vast area of worked coppices and wooded commons that once stretched from Deptford to Selhurst. The wood is home to more than 200 species of trees and plants as well as rare fungi, insects, birds and woodland mammals.'
London Wildlife Trust
A disused railway tunnel is now a site within the woods of a protected bat roost.
The Great North Wood
The following is also taken from the London Wildlife Trust:
The Great North Wood is a sprawling ancient landscape that gradually became fragmented by the development of south London's suburbs – but whose name lives on in districts such as Norwood, Gipsy Hill, Forest Hill and Penge (‘edge of wood’).
Once stretching for several miles between the Thames and Croydon, today the Wood consists of a series of small woodlands, parks, cemeteries, sports grounds, railway embankments and gardens – all of which provide a home for nature within a modern urban landscape.
The Great North Wood now has the potential to grow again, to act as a rich wildlife and natural heritage resource for Londoners, and a more effective ‘green lung’ to clean the air and provide a place for people to relax and enjoy.
Wildlife on The Mais House Site
Topogrophy & Nature of The Mais House Location
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Mais House is sited on Sydenham Hill Ridge which is at a higher elevation than Crystal Palace. The view of the wooded ridge from Dulwich has remained unchanged since Roman times and this has been a benefitting factor to the ecology and biodiversity of the Nature Reserve which is Dulwich Woods.
Rare and protected plants such as the corky fruity waterdrop wort grows in proliferation along the ridge. This, along with the remarkably extensive variety of wildlife, including protected species, such as stag beetles, bats, thrushes and hedgehogs, makes the Ridge unique within the cityscape.
The open green and amenity spaces surrounding Mais house provide essential wildlife corridors for birds, insects and mammals. The value of these spaces cannot be underestimated for these creatures as they cannot survive in a totally built or restricted access environment. The severe decline of hedgehogs is a prime example as a single hedgehog relies on an area the size of a football pitch in which to forage.
The open greenery is used by song thrushes which survive well along the ridge as open green areas with a variety of trees and cover suit them in conjunction with the moist ground conditions. These red listed birds are critically endangered and are on the UK Biodiversity Action Plan list of priority species.
Otto Close has a unique and unspoilt semi natural green space where wildlife can move between the gardens and green spaces of the surrounding areas including the woodland on the opposite side of the ridge. This greenspace is directly connected to Hillcrest woods, Wells Park and the gardens of Longton Avenue.
The additional benefits to this particular green space is the high water level in that location which benefits insects and therefore the visiting bat population.