The London Wildlife Trust have started working on a project to ensure Grangewood Park’s historic oak trees are preserved for future  generations.

Once known as Whitehorse Wood, Grangewood Park forms part of the old Great North Wood, a patchwork of coppiced woods and wooded commons that once stretched across the high ridge from Deptford to Selhurst. 

Since 2017, London Wildlife Trust has been working on the Great North Wood project which aims to revive and celebrate the remaining fragments of this forgotten landscape for people and wildlife, writes Edwin Malins, Great North Wood Project Officer. 

Grangewood Park is unique among the remaining fragments of the Great North Wood.

 Its extensive areas of mown grassland beneath a canopy of majestic oaks is possibly the closest resemblance to the old wooded commons of the area, where commoners’ livestock would have grazed beneath the trees.

A key issue for the long-term future of the remaining woods of the area is a lack of oak seedlings and saplings coming through to form the next generation of trees. Young oaks need light, and so under the current canopy there is very little regeneration. Last autumn, Great North Wood project volunteers thinned out scrub from an area of young oaks to allow them space to develop, using the material to construct a traditional hurdle (pictured)  to protect this area from trampling. 

This spring, the team have erected a temporary fence around an area of grassland adjacent to some mature oaks. This will allow vegetation to develop in a previously mown section of the park, and it is hoped that oak seedlings will emerge and develop naturally in this sunny patch.

The Great North Wood project is funded by Heritage Lottery Fund, the Mayor of London, Veolia Environmental Trust, The Dulwich Estate, and The Dulwich Society. For more information on the project and how to get involved through volunteering, please email the team at greatnorthwood@wildlondon.org.uk