Nature-ist: Oxleas Woods & Severndroog Castle

By Londonist Last edited 115 months ago
Nature-ist: Oxleas Woods & Severndroog Castle

Londonist takes a walk on the wild side...

What is it? At over 8000 years old this 77 hectare forest comprises several woods and a common along with a café providing suitable respite from an afternoon’s ambling.

The woods are also home to Severndroog Castle, a folly built in 1784 as a memorial to William James by his widow. Quite the renowned seaman in his time James was employed by the East India Company to secure shipping routes and keep pirates at bay. The castle’s name commemorates the capture of the pirate fortress of Severndroog on the Malabar coast of India in 1755.

Where is it? In tube strike friendly south east London, just off the A2 on Shooters Hill. From Blackheath overground the 89 bus will drop you off right outside the entrance to the woods. Alternatively you can catch the 486 from Greenwich direction if you go by tube to North Greenwich or overground to Charlton. There is also parking available.

Why has it tickled our fancy? Aside from the pirate connection? The woods are perfect for transporting you to the kind of peace and tranquillity you’d expect from the New Forest. It’s a great place to walk off a Sunday lunch (try the Greenwich Union for one of those by the way). From the steps by the castle you can see out over SE London for miles.

Nature notes: Its great age means that you won’t be disappointed; oak, silver birch, hornbeam and coppice hazel to name a few trees. Unfortunately no furry friends were spotted, at least not without an owner attached; it must be easier for them to get food in town.

Words and pictures by claireg.

Map after the jump.

View Oxleas Woods/Severndroog in a larger map

Last Updated 11 June 2009