Oxleas Wood

Oxleas Wood

Oxleas Woodlands
Site of Special Scientific Interest
Area of Search Greater London
Grid reference
Interest Biological
Area 72.7 hectares
Notification 1984
Location map Magic Map

Oxleas Wood is one of the few remaining areas of ancient deciduous forest in the Royal Borough of Greenwich (with a small amount passing over the boundary into the London Borough of Bexley), in southeast London. Some parts date back over 8,000 years to the end of the last Ice Age, the Younger Dryas.[1] It is part of a larger continuous area of woodland and parkland on the south side of Shooter's Hill: other parts are Jack Wood, Castle Wood, Oxleas Meadows, Falconwood Field, Eltham Common and Eltham Park North (the latter being divided by the A2 main road from its southern section). Eltham Park North includes the ancient Shepherdleas Wood.

Tree stump in Shepherdleas Wood


  • History 1
  • Description 2
  • See also 3
  • References 4
  • External links 5


In 1311, the Royal manor of Eltham was established and this included the woods. The woods were leased to Sir John Shaw, 2nd Baronet, from crown occupation in 1679. His family managed them until 1811, when they were taken over by the War Department. The woods were then acquired by the London County Council for the use of public recreation in 1930, and then opened to the public in 1934. Ownership then passed from the Greater London Council to the Borough of Greenwich on abolition of the GLC in 1986.[2]


Oxleas Wood, Jack Wood and Shepherdleas Wood are a Site of Special Scientific Interest called Oxleas Woodlands, covering 72 hectares with oak, silver birch, hornbeam, coppice hazel, and a great number of fine samples of the Wild Service Tree.[3][4] A larger area including Eltham Common is designated a Local Nature Reserve called Oxleas/Shooters Hill Woodlands.[5][6]

The site covers most of the top of Shooters Hill (in the Royal Borough of Greenwich), and contains a folly called Severndroog Castle.

There is an underground water reservoir in the grassed area called Oxleas Meadow. This serves the local area with water. This is associated with 'the hut' which is a building containing the equipment that Thames Water uses to control the reservoir.

Within Oxleas Meadow is a cafe. The café building is of brick construction and is owned by the Borough of Greenwich. Public male and female toilets are also located in this building and are available for use during the café opening hours. The café part of the building is leased to the café operator.[2]

Within the woods there is a thriving honeybee apiary, the Oxleas Wood Apiary managed by apiarist John Large.

There have been plans to build roads through Oxleas leading to a Thames Gateway Bridge over the River Thames as part of the Thames Gateway redevelopment plans. These plans were abandoned in 1993 after strong local protests. The proposals for the Thames Gateway bridge have recently been revived and there is concern that, if built, this would lead to pressure to link it to the A2, crossing Oxleas.

See also


  1. ^ London Gardens Online, Shooters Hill Woodlands (Oxleas Woodlands)
  2. ^ a b http://www.greenwich.gov.uk/NR/rdonlyres/95FA096E-7B56-479F-B305-5A04A7362D6F/0/OxleasWoodland.pdf
  3. ^ "Oxleas Woodlands citation" (PDF). Sites of Special Scientific Interest. Natural England. Retrieved 14 November 2013. 
  4. ^ "Map of Oxleas Woodlands". Sites of Special Scientific Interest. Natural England. Retrieved 14 November 2013. 
  5. ^ "Oxleas/Shooters Hill Woodlands". Local Nature Reserves. Natural England. 6 March 2013. Retrieved 14 November 2013. 
  6. ^ "Map of Oxleas/Shooters Hill Woodlands". Local Nature Reserves. Natural England. Retrieved 14 November 2013. 

External links

  • Oxleas Wood on the website of the Royal Borough of Greenwich
  • "Roadblock-How people power is wrecking the roads programme". Retrieved 2008-01-13.  Case history on the Oxleas Wood anti-road protect.
  • "Oxleas Wood Information Website". 
  • "Oxleas Wood Apiary". 
  • Oxleas Wood/Shooters Hill Woodlands, Wild About Britain
  • Green Chain, Oxleas Wood and Meadow
  • "Map of Oxleas Woodlands SSSI". Natural England.