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Closest woodland to central London
This a marvellous local space and a great and worthwhile walk with the kiddies. Combined with the adjacent Dulwich Wood, Sydenham Hill Wood is the last vestige of the Great North Wood, which once stretched from Deptford to Selhurst, and amongst the trees there are scattered ruins of garden follies and the like.

Head up to the ridge of Sydenham Hill, where the Dulwich Wood House Inn does good pub lunches. Walk 500 metres along Crescent Hill Road to the entrance to Sydenham Hill Woods. The left hand fork descends to the disused line of the High Level railway, built in 1865 to service the Crystal Palace (or Screaming Alice, in rhyming slang), and a very impressive tunnel can be found –albeit boarded up– cutting into the hill side. Up until recently the tunnel was opened a couple of times a year for stalwart historians to walk the mile or so to the Parade where remains of the tunnel’s other end can be seen behind Victorian railings.

Follow the abandoned railway track for a kilometre – diversions in the adjoining woods include seasonal outdoor art installations and a ruined chapel. Eventually, a bench across the path invites you to climb a set of wooden steps leading up to the left. A metal fence separates the woods from a golf course with sweeping city views –much loved by Denis Thatcher in his day but denied to non-members. Follow the path to a great suspended walkway, turn left through a metal gate, and descend Cox’s Walk to Dulwich Common, at the Lordship Lane end of the woods. Turn left and after a kilometre you will see the stone gates to Dulwich Park. There is a good café in the middle of the park. Press on to College Road, where you can visit the Dulwich Picture Gallery.

 

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About the Wood
London Wildlife Trust

Southwark Council

Map and directions
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