Dulwich Upper Wood is managed by TCV Urban Ecology as
a nature reserve, educational facility, research area and a place
of recreation, with grant aid from the London Borough of Southwark.
The wood is open at la times and has a full time warden and interpretative
portakabin situated on the site.
The present day shape and composition of Dulwich Upper Wood can
be traced back to the Great North Wood and the rapid land-use
changes in the Crystal Palace area since the mid 1800s. From the
12th to the 15th century, the Manor of Dulwich, the area which
today contains the wood, belonged to the Abbot of Bermondsey.
The Manor stretched for more than two miles from Herne Hill to
the southern tip of Sydenham Ridge and was mostly covered by mixed
Oak woodland - part of the Great North Wood which then extended
from New Cross to Croydon.
When Henry VIII dissolved the monasteries in 1542 he had the
Dulwich Estate surveyed. In 1605 the Manor was sold to Edward
Alleyn who later set up the College of God's Gift which today
owns Dulwich Upper Wood. Within the wood lies tow old woodland
boundaries - a line of ancient coppiced and pollarded trees and
a ditch - marking subdivisions of the Great North Wood.
In 1852 the Great Exhibition (The Crystal palace) in Hyde Park
was re-erected on the ridge of Sydenham Hill. With the Crystal
Palace came the High :Level Railway Station and residential roads.
It was at this time that eight large houses with gardens were
built along the east side of Farquhar Road.
In 1936 the Crystal Palace burnt down and the area went into
decline. The High Level Railway Station fell into disuse and was
eventually demolished, with prefab houses being erected on the
Some of the Victorian houses were bombed during World war II
(1939 - 1945), others were neglected and had to be knocked down.
By 1960, most of the site was overgrown and only number 18 Farquhar
Road was still lived in. The basements of the houses can still
be seen today and are an important feature of the wood.
In 1981 the Dulwich Society, together with the GLC and the London
Borough of Southwark, arranged for the Trust for Urban Ecology
(then the Ecological Parks Trust) to manage the wood as a nature
park. Spinney Gardens Housing Estate was built in 1986 with Bowley
Lane linking it to the Farquhar Road. This link road cut through
the southern section of the wood separating a small triangle of
land from the rest of the park.
Since 1988 a number of improvements have been made to the site
to enhance wildlife value, improve educational facilities and
The Woodland Food area at Dulwich Upper Wood LNR originated from ideas to establish an area in the Woodland that firstly demonstrated food growing in shaded areas & secondly assisted in showing where our food comes from. Read More...
details, access and opening times
at Dulwich Upper Wood
Friends of Dulwich Upper Wood