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Grove Park Nature Reserve

Find out about Grove Park Nature Reserve.

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Opening hours 

All year.

Where it is

Across the railway from Hither Green Cemetery (see map below). 

The site is located at the end of Railway Children’s Walk (off Baring Road) near the Ringway Centre.

The Walk is named after the novel ‘The Railway Children’ written by Edith Nesbit who lived adjacent to the reserve.  The nature reserve is also on the established Green Chain Walk (GCW).  The GCW is a long distance walking route which consists of 10 sections with a number of spurs and links.  It covers over 65 km (40 miles). 

Access is also available from Reigate Road on the Downham side of the Railway Bridge. Across the railway from Hither Green Cemetery (see map below).  

Nature and education 


  • Grove Park Nature Reserve contains many habitats, including the only substantial area of grassland with a calcareous influence in the borough (meaning mostly or partly composed of calcium carbonate) - these habitats support a wide diversity of plants and animals, including a number of locally rare species

  • the woodland supports a good range of common birds including Great-spotted woodpeckers and Blackcap

  • the grassland supports a good diversity of invertebrates including Common blue, Small skipper and six-spot Burnet moth 

  • there is a small stream running along the south eastern side of the site and this runs in to a pond. The pond is used for pond dipping by local schools

People enjoy visiting the reserve to:

  • walk their dogs

  • pick blackberries and plums

  • quietly enjoy a peaceful wild space

The nature reserve is an important wildlife site and it also makes up part of the South East London Green Chain Walk and the regional Capital Ring.

Educational visits

Local schools make good use of the site for educational visits. Sessions can be self-led or run by Lewisham Council’s Nature Conservation Officer.


19th century and the Second World War 

Between St Mildreds Road and Grove Park station, a very wide corridor of land was left. To the east of the line, apart from the goods sidings and carriage sheds, this was largely given over to allotments until the 1980s.

The land which now comprises the nature reserve has a rather complex history. The woodland at the southern end was once the garden of a large house. This appears on the Ordnance Survey six-inch map of 1894–96.

Most of the rest of the reserve was allotments, at least during the 'Dig for Victory' campaign in WWII, and parts were allotments before then.

The western edge of the reserve lies on the shallow bank of a cutting which has remained more or less undisturbed since the railway was built.

A hollow beside the path marks the site of a former pond which has now dried up. This may have been the site of an anti-aircraft battery during WWII.

Nature reserve 

The site first became a nature reserve in 1984, when we agreed to manage it under a licence from British Rail. It had been used for informal recreation by local people for many years before this.

We acquired the freehold of the land in 1987 following a public inquiry in 1986 which allowed planning permission for housing on land just north of the reserve (now 'Bramdean Village').

When the freehold passed to us, it was agreed that the site should remain open access for the public.

More information

Grove Park nature reserve website.


Nature Conservation Officer