Back in the Middle Ages the Great North Wood was a natural oak woodland that started three miles south-east of central London and scaled the Norwood Ridge. At its full extent, the wood’s boundaries stretched almost as far as Croydon and as far north as Camberwell. It had occasional landownings as large clearings, well-established by the Middle Ages such as the hamlets of Penge and Dulwich. Twenty small fragments or re-plantations remain today including Dulwich Wood, Sydenham Hill Wood, Biggin Wood and Beaulieu Heights.
Many place names refer to the Great North Wood such as South Norwood, Upper Norwood and West Norwood. Other settlements that reflect the area’s woodland past are Woodside, Forest Hill, and Honor Oak. (Thank you Wikipedia for that short summary.)
In 2017 the London Wildlife Trust was awarded a grant from the Heritage Lottery Fund as part of the Living Landscapes initiative for a Great North Wood Project. This ambitious project will run for four years and includes volunteers, community groups, local woods’ friends’ groups, landowners, and local councils, all under the London Wildlife Trust’s stewardship, clearing and re-wilding what remains of the woods.
If you would like to know more about the project – and even how you could volunteer to help with it – there is an excellent post here on the Richly Evocative blog.
But if you are not likely to get much further than your screen then The Great North Wood’s virtual festival is just the thing for you.
Running from Monday 7th to Sunday 12th December it includes everything from talks on ‘Managing London for Wildlife’ or the history of Sydenham Hill Wood to yoga, well being and baking classes, painting, leaf printing and ‘owl craft’ classes and short films and panel discussions with young people from the Keeping It Wild project.
While some events are adult focused a number of them are designed for the whole family to take part. So, in the Owl Craft workshop:
Artist Karen Barnett will guide you step by step to create your very own owl and scene. Free standing and created from recycled household items. Fun and easy to make for all ages.
You will need:
- 3 toilet rolls
- 1 cereal packet (opened and flattened)
- 1 peg
- Coloured pens/pencils
- Glue stick
The workshop will be delivered online via Zoom.
(Please contact us at email@example.com if you need any help accessing zoom or you have any other questions)
See you there!