DULWICH SOCIETY ANNUAL GENERAL MEETING - 24 April 2017
EXECUTIVE COMMITTEE REPORTS for the year 2016

CHAIRMAN’S REPORT


SOCIETY:
Executive Committee I am sure all members appreciate the amount of work done by the members of our Executive Committee, and the Chairs, and members, of our sub- committees. They continue to do their best to maintain Dulwich’s unique ambience.

Journal: The Society’s Journal, edited by Brian Green, continues to be regarded as one of the major benefits of Society membership and around 85% of the copies are still distributed by hand - for which I also thank the zone co-ordinators and the many volunteer members who deliver the Journal around Dulwich.

eNewsletter: The popular monthly eNewsletter is now sent to over half (600) the membership - those who have given us their email addresses. It provides a useful mechanism to keep members up to date on important issues affecting Dulwich (such as planning or transport proposals from Southwark) but also lets people know about events and activities in the area which cannot be included in the quarterly journal. Members can request to be added to the circulation by emailing This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

Society Gift to Wheels for Wellbeing: At the end of November the Dulwich Society Chair presented a cheque for £1000 to Wheels for Wellbeing’s Director Isabelle Clement for the purchase of a recumbent tricycle. The charity holds weekly cycling sessions for disabled and older people at the Herne Hill velodrome.

Society Gift to Dulwich Woods: The Society’s Executive Committee has agreed to give just over £6000 to the London Wildlife Trust’s wide ranging programme of upgrading works in the Dulwich Woods. The Society will contribute towards the installation of chestnut conservation fencing to an area on the slope at the entrance to Dulwich Wood from Cox’s Walk, and assist in funding invasive species removal and treatment. It will also provide financial support for two guided walks in the woods per year for the next three years.

Members: Ian Dejardin, one of our vice presidents has moved to take up a new post in Canada and I am sorry to have to report the death of Peter Lawson, one of our founder members. He was an early chairman and a long-standing vice-president. He made a major contribution in the negotiations with the Dulwich Estate over the Scheme of Management. He lived in Half Moon Lane for over 60 years in a house he designed and built himself.

I am also sorry to report the death of Peter Jones who, with his wife Stella, have been zone coordinators in West Dulwich for many years.

PUBS:
The Crown & Greyhound, Dulwich Village: It is still not confirmed when the Crown and Greyhound will reopen, the current projected date is early June. The continuing delays reflect very badly on the Dulwich Estate.

The Half Moon Hotel, Half Moon Lane: In contrast Fuller’s, who purchased this pub in the Spring of 2016, have rapidly undertaken a substantial programme of works of development and restoration in less than 12 months. The pub re-opened on 20th March to very positive reviews. As well as several bars, and a restaurant, there are 12 b & b rooms on the upper floors - each named after an astronaut who walked on the Moon. They will provide much needed local overnight accommodation for visitors to Herne Hill and Dulwich.
 
The Grove Tavern, Dulwich Common: The current lessee, Stonegate Pubs, has several years left on its lease but still shows no sign of wanting to re-open the pub. In the meantime, the Dulwich Estate seems happy to collect the rent and has currently no intention of doing anything with the site. The Society continues to press them to do something.

Article 4 direction for pubs: The Council has agreed an immediate Article 4 direction to withdraw the permitted development rights granted by the General Permitted Development Order 2015 "for changes of use, demolition and alteration of public houses in Southwark”. This means that any proposals to change local pubs to other uses will have to go through the planning process.

DULWICH ESTATE MATTERS:
Dulwich Estate Media Relations and Communications Manager: Karen Wood has been appointed as the part time media relations and communications manager. She lives locally in East Dulwich.

Scheme of Management Report: We have only recently been sent a copy of the report and we have been told that the Dulwich Estate is implementing its recommendations.

Tollgate charge increases; The cost of going through the tollgate was raised to £1.20
on 3rd January

Shepherds: The Dulwich Estate bought back control of the lease from Shepherds and are currently looking for a ’convenience store’ tenant. In the meantime, the shop has been let to a pop up’ clothes shop.

Old Post office: Following the demise of the short-lived art shop, the old Post office unit remains closed pending re-letting. We understand that there is a tenant lined up but, owing to the need for some internal alteration works, it will not be trading until the late summer.

Former S G Smith Showroom: The Society has pressed the Dulwich Estate to find a suitable tenant for this unit in order to increase footfall at this end of the village. Unfortunately, the Estate still intends to let the unit as a temporary office for the builder on the site behind it.

GENERAL:
Dulwich Picture Gallery: The competition for the temporary pavilion installation to celebrate the 200th anniversary of the Gallery being open to the public was won by Camberwell architectural practice IF_DO. There was a public presentation of the winning scheme on 24th February. It is due to open on June 1st and be in position for at least 3 months.

Council CGS funding: The Society has secured further Council CGS finding for the repair and enhancement of the historic posts and chains as well as the replacement of some of the grassed areas in the Village by ground covering ivy.

Love West Dulwich competition: The winners of this competition were announced at the end of February. The new banners will be installed in May.

New Local Ward Boundaries: The revised ward boundaries have been agreed. The Dulwich area will be divided into four wards, College, Village, East Dulwich and Dulwich Hill.
Proposed zebra crossing on Burbage Road: Consultation on the proposed new pedestrian crossing at the junction of Burbage Road and Half Moon Lane finished in February. Hopefully installation work will start in the summer.

Ian McInnes, Chairman

 


HON. SECRETARY’S REPORT
Rosebery Lodge in Dulwich Park, which is leased by the Dulwich Society (until 2019), continues to be well utilised as a meeting place for the Dulwich & District University of the Third Age (U3A) and other amenity groups, and also for Society archive storage and exhibition space. This year it was open to the public on the last day of the Festival with an exhibition on local pub history linked to the publication of the Society’s (and Herne Hill Society’s) book on local pubs.

Circulating information to members is vital and we have six main channels of communication. Apart from the monthly eNewsletter and quarterly Journal, the Society publishes news and other updates on the Society web site www.dulwichsociety.com. Our Twitter feed @dulwichsociety has over 650 followers with recent articles on the Half Moon pub reopening and Dulwich blossom being particularly popular. We also distribute email notices of key events or consultations to Dulwich residents’ associations so if your RA is not on our list, please contact the Chairman This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.. Notices are also posted on the Society noticeboard next to McColl’s in the Village.
 
The Society receives regular requests from the media and both Brian Green and Ian McInnes have talked on the radio and BBC London News on Dulwich history and topics, and we are frequently asked to help find families and individuals to participate in TV shows!

There is a steady flow of family history and heritage enquiries to the Society as well as requests from people wanting to track down old school and family friends. The WWII bomb plaques continue to generate interest. The digitisation of Society journals, newsletters and materials has created a valuable resource and answers to many Dulwich questions can be found by searching the Society web site. Members may like to know that there are two helpful archives to assist with enquiries -
http://www.southwark.gov.uk/heritage-and-local-history/local-history-library-and archive/about-the-archives is the comprehensive Southwark local history archive which can help with family history and press cuttings. There is also a fantastic archive on all things London at the London Metropolitan Archive in Clerkenwell which has papers on London neighbourhoods and boroughs, and key London buildings https://www.cityoflondon.gov.uk/things-to-do/london metropolitanarchives/Pages/default.aspx

The Society has continued to be very active in the promotion of public engagement and consultation on transport, local developments & planning applications. After a long and exhausting period of consultation Quietway 7 was finally approved in November 2016 for implementation in 2017 though there is still uncertainty about the layout of the main Dulwich Village junction. A holistic review of Dulwich traffic is due to take place in 2017.

The Society has kept a watching brief on the formation of local Neighbourhood Forums under the Localism Act. The Herne Hill Forum is close to getting its boundary designated while the Dulwich Village Forum is just at the initial stages. Other forums are being developed in Norwood and Crystal Palace.

The Society works closely with a wide range of stakeholders across Dulwich including residents’ associations (which are increasing in number), Dulwich Picture Gallery, Dulwich Estate, amenity societies such as the Herne Hill Society, sporting venues such as the Herne Hill Velodrome, local councillors, MP and council officers and the police (Safer Neighbourhood Panels).
The Society Chairman and Chair of Planning and Architecture together with representatives from Dulwich residents’ associations drawn from across the Dulwich Estate sit on the Estate Scheme of Management Advisory Group which meets three times a year to discuss matters relating to the SOM, and other Estate issues which impact the amenity of Dulwich.

The Executive Committee meets 6 times a year primarily at the St Barnabas Library with a summer meeting at Rosebery Lodge. In view of the Society’s surplus reserves, the Executive has started to award funds to suitable local projects in line with the Society’s remit and objectives. Over £10,000 has been allocated so far notably to support the work of the London Wildlife Trust (£6,000), to replace cherry laurels in the Park with native hedge in conjunction with the Dulwich Park Friends (£1,500), and Wheels for Wellbeing (£1000) who took delivery of a new recumbent bicycle funded by the Society.

The Society held a very well attended members’ party at the Parish Hall in October and the 150 members and guests, local councillors and our MP, Helen Hayes, were treated to music, wine and canapes. The music included Charles Cary-Elwes on the piano and a delightful a cappella choir, the Hasty Nymphs. Many thanks to Brian Green for arranging the entertainment.

Sue Badman, Hon Secretary

 


MEMBERSHIP SECRETARY’S REPORT
Membership remains at over 1100 households. Just over 10% live outside Dulwich and our membership represents approximately 20% of all households in Dulwich. We gained 75 new members and lost 48 during the year. A further membership drive targeted several roads in Dulwich in October and this resulted in 30 new members in the last three months of the year. A further membership drive will be done, on different roads, in 2017.
 
For the financial year 2015-2016 we claimed £2334.01 from HMRC for gift aid.
 
Diana McInnes, Membership Secretary

 


REPORT FROM THE PLANNING & ARCHITECTURE GROUP
Dulwich Estate License Applications:
During the year, the refurbished Old Grammar School has returned as the venue where the Planning and Architecture Group has each month carried out inspection of plans relating to licence applications for external alterations to enfranchised houses that come under the Scheme of Management of the Dulwich Estate.
 
212 licence applications were commented on - compared with 218 in 2015. Loft conversions, rear and side extensions, the remodelling of front gardens and parking - along with sheds and garden buildings are the more usual applications. Windows and door replacements, and new satellite dishes are steady requests. A small number of applications for replacement houses and even for some new ones continue to appear.
 
Ongong & Upcoming Developments
Former S G Smith Workshop Site (“The Gilkes”): There has been little progress on the new housing scheme which will replace the vehicle workshops. The Dulwich Estate sold the site for £5.25M to McCulloch Homes and Moat Housing Association last year.

Some exploratory work is being carried out in a half-hearted manner and neighbours are becoming concerned at the condition of the site. The developers had told us that their original intention was to start work in the summer but they are now saying September and, unless they submit information to the Council to satisfy the planning conditions very soon, even this date will be delayed. Helen Hayes, our MP, has been working with Village Ward Councillors to try and set up a monitoring group but the developers are being unresponsive.

Proposed New Almshouses in Half Moon Lane: The Dulwich Estate made a planning application in December to develop the vacant site next to the Judith Kerr School on Half Moon Lane for new almshouses. After some delay, the application was registered on 9th March - the planning reference is 17/AP/0118.

Old Dairy site, 13-19 Croxted Road, West Dulwich: Work is progressing well and the first phase, the doctor’s surgery, should open in the late summer. The new flats are to be retained in Dulwich Estate ownership and rented out.

Herne Hill Velodrome: The new building is largely complete and was open for public view at the end of February.

Dulwich Hamlet Football Club: Southwark Council failed to meet the statutory timetable for determining the planning application to redevelop the current football pitch for housing and construct a new pitch on adjacent Metropolitan Open Land. The application is now at appeal and the Society has objected to the plans.

St Faith’s Vicarage: The old building has now been demolished and work is progressing on the new vicarage. It is still not clear when work on the other two adjacent houses will start.

No 1 Fountain Drive: The old house has now been demolished. Work will start shortly on the 5 townhouses which were won on appeal after Southwark rejected the original application.

New houses in Boxall Road: The Council and the Estate finally approved two new houses in the gardens of No 60 Dulwich village.

Charter School East Dulwich: The first students started in September 2016 on the temporary school site in Peckham. Planning consent has been granted for the new school, and the adjacent health centre, on the former Dulwich Community Hospital site in East Dulwich Grove. The school will occupy most of the site and construction work should start later in 2017 -The latest information on the proposed health facility on the southeast corner is that it should be operational by 2019.

Dulwich College: The School has started work on the external repair and refurbishment of six elevations of the Barry Buildings. It is also working on a new link block between two of the boarding houses on Dulwich Common. The new Science Building on College Road is now complete

Alleyns School: The new buildings by the main entrance are now under construction.
JAGS: Preliminary work on the new music school has started.
Holmehurst, 46 Half Moon Lane: Work continues on the former Holmhurst Day Centre to create 8 new flats for 10 adults with learning disabilities, along with space for 5-10 care staff. Completion was expected in April but it looks likely to be later.

Flood Alleviation works in Dulwich Park and elsewhere is Dulwich: The hard and soft landscaping and underground alleviation works have been completed and have received awards for their implementation.
 
David Lloyd Roberts, Chair

 


REPORT FROM THE TRAFFIC AND TRANSPORT GROUP
Cycle Quietway: Southwark Council has decided to implement the Elephant and Castle to Crystal Palace Quietway scheme, subject to a number of qualifications. Local residents have made an alternative proposal, and, at their own expense, have commissioned a well-respected traffic consultant to examine the feasibility of their proposal.

Double yellow lines painted at the corners of all road junctions: The Council has put forward a proposal that 7.5 m long double yellow lines are to be painted at either side of all road junctions in Village Ward and College Ward. Consultations on the Council’s proposals are in train

Review of school coaches
Southwark Council and the Foundation Coach Service jointly appointed consultants to review the impact of the schools’ coach service on the Dulwich area. The two core problems identified are the use of Calton Avenue by eleven coaches and congestion on Townley Road outside Alleyn’s. Two key recommendations are considered practical but require action by other agencies, namely the creation of a crossing on the South Circular opposite Dulwich College and the creation of a holding pen for coaches in the afternoon at the Trevor Bailey Sports Ground.
 
Holistic Transport Plan for the Dulwich Area: The consultation on the Cycling Quietway indicated a widespread view that there is too much traffic in the Dulwich area. In response to that Southwark Council and Transport for London have agreed to work with the Dulwich Councillors and residents to produce proposals for traffic reduction and road safety in line with the Mayor of London’s Healthy Street Vision: ‘A city for all Londoners’. The Council and Transport for London plan to start the review shortly.
 
East Dulwich Grove/Calton Avenue/Green Dale junction: The Council has installed flexible “wands” to protect cyclists on the cycle lanes north and south of the junction.
 
Safe Routes to School group: The Traffic and Transport Committee liaises closely with the Safe Routes to School Group in its endeavours to encourage children to walk, cycle or use public transport to get to and from school. The percentage of children now arriving in these environmentally friendly ways has increased due to the efforts of the group.

CPZ in North Dulwich Triangle: This has been a great success in the roads in and around the North Dulwich Triangle. Unfortunately, as expected, it has moved parking stress southwards into and around Dulwich Village.
 
Bus Services: In October 2016 Transport for London extended Bus Route No 42 which now runs between Liverpool Street Station and Sainsbury’s car park on Dog Kennel Hill. This has proved extremely helpful for residents, school children and commuters, as easier access is now possible for more people wishing to travel to King’s College Hospital, Dulwich Community Hospital, North Dulwich Station and many other destinations.
 
Community Road Watch: This is a new initiative by the Police and Southwark Council to encourage the community to assist the police in enforcing the 20mph speed limit in the area.

Rail Services
1. The industrial action on Southern has been a dominant theme.

2. Consultation continues on the train timetables for 2018 onwards. GTR has been consulting on the timetables to be introduced in 2018 on completion of the Thameslink improvements, including the rebuilding of London Bridge Station, but omitted to include reference to parallel changes to SouthEastern timetables. This has caused concern to those using the service, and we are in the process of seeking clarification from SouthEastern.

3. We have been working on radical ideas for improving train and Underground services in South London and discussing these ideas with Transport for London, Southwark Council and others.

4. In response to our concerns about over-crowding at Denmark Hill Station, Govia, the train operating company, has agreed to install an additional entrance and exit at the station.

5. Both staircases at North Dulwich station have been replaced.
 
Herne Hill regeneration project: The action group which worked for many years on the regeneration of the Lambeth side of the centre of Herne Hill has now identified a small number of improvements which will benefit the Southwark side of this junction.
 
Alastair Hanton, Chair

 


REPORT FROM THE LOCAL HISTORY GROUP
Several works on local history have been issued this year written by members of the committee. The booklet on The Pubs of Dulwich and Herne Hill which was published with the Herne Hill Society has since been reprinted and an exhibition of photographs on the subject displayed in Rosebery Lodge. The 400th anniversary of the consecration of the burial ground in Dulwich Village was commemorated by a leaflet, an information board and further details on the Society’s website. Many visitors came to see the burial ground during the Open House weekend in September. The 400th anniversary of the Dulwich almshouse the same month was marked by a book written by Brian Green, which is also available to download from the charity’s website.
 
The Dulwich Society Journal continues to publish articles on aspects of local history. These are sometimes initiated by enquirers from outside the area, providing us with useful leads. Two in particular produced interesting results. Research showed the connection with the Selfridge family of Prince Serge de Bolotoffs, a former resident of Kingswood House, who coincidentally was being featured in a television series. A photograph from 1883 sent by a collector led to the discovery that one of the houses in East Dulwich Grove was a competition prize given to a soldier by Tit-Bits magazine for a story which he submitted.

The committee is co-operating with Dulwich College Archives in various projects linked to the College’s forthcoming anniversary. These include work on the medieval manor court rolls held there and plans to digitise estate maps from the nineteenth century. Information boards are planned about the windmill which stood on the site of the present College and the pond which lies opposite. The burial ground will be opened to the public again this year during the Dulwich Festival, when local history walks will also take place

Bernard Nurse, Chair

 


REPORT FROM THE GARDEN GROUP
The eighth consecutive annual brochure “Dulwich Gardens open for charity”, compiled by Ann Rutherford, came out with the spring Journal. Copies were distributed to all members of the Society and an additional 4,000+ copies to relevant local outlets. The brochure gives details of some 40 local garden that raise considerable sums for the National Gardens Scheme (supporting cancer, caring and gardening charities), St Christopher’s Hospice, Link Age Southwark and other local and national charities.

Dulwich punches above its weight in London for the number of gardens that open for charity, a tribute to the generosity of those involved.
 
In March we also enjoyed a talk by three speakers on front gardens, Anthony Noel, Pamela Johnson and Nigel Watts, with some 90 members of the Society attending. We also ran a front gardens competition for all households in the Dulwich area, to encourage homeowners to put effort into their front as much as their back gardens. Some 50 entries were received, generally of a high standard, the first prize of £100 going to 101 Woodwarde Road, with five further Gold Prizes of £50, five Silver Prizes of £25 and two Special Prizes of £25 each being given.
In June there was an enjoyable coach visit to Nymans and to Sheffield Park in Sussex for some 50 members of the Society, the talk and the visits being ably organised by Will Anderson.
 
Lastly, in July we organised two City Gardens tours which were enjoyed by the 30 or so who attended (the first tour sold out quickly, so we ran a second a week later).

Our events, which are publicised in the Journal and eNewsletter, are open to all members of the Dulwich Society.

Jeremy Prescott, Chair

 


REPORT FROM THE TREES SUB-COMMITTEE

We have been taking action to protect existing trees - especially veteran oaks threatened by planning applications - planting some new young trees and arranging guided walks to spread appreciation of the wonderful trees we have in Dulwich.

Tree Protection
We have appreciated members notifying us of their concerns about trees and have dealt appropriately with every case referred to us.

- Usually the concerns are about planning applications to fell trees. We view the trees, where they are publicly visible and scrutinise the application details, particularly the arboricultural reports. Whenever we consider felling to be avoidable, we register objection on Southwark Council's Planning website, giving our reasons and often also putting forward alternative proposals/solutions. We have registered objections for trees in private gardens,e.g. in Dulwich Village, Turney Road, Gilkes Crescent and Eastlands Crescent; for trees in the street in Dulwich Village and College Road and for trees on Greendale Fields, in connection with the Dulwich Hamlet Football ground application to build housing on the football ground. Our objections are specifically about the trees, so, as in this case, are in addition to any objections from our Planning Committee.

- In the case of the Eastlands Crescent oak, the Chair of the Wildlife Committee and I attended a subsequent appeal hearing at the council's offices. We spoke in support of local residents who had approached us and in support of the council's decision to refuse permission to fell this veteran oak tree. We pointed out the tree's value in the conservation area. Fortunately, the Independent Planning Inspector upheld the council's decision on appeal, so permission to fell has been refused.

- In other cases, not involving planning applications, we have helped to prevent trees from being felled, by referring members to the Urban Forester at the council, who can respond quickly to threats to trees and who has the authority to impose an immediate temporary Tree Preservation Order, where one is not already in existence. We recommend that members who become concerned that someone is about to fell a tree without permission, similarly contact the council, whether or not the tree is one which is already under protection.

Also thanks to being alerted by members,

- we have taken action through the council's tree department to prevent young street trees from having hot asphalt poured round their roots by the Council's Highways Dept.,

- followed up street tree replacements

- and ensured that new trees planted in inappropriate places have been repositioned.
All this is quite a lot of work and we would welcome new members to assist us with these tasks of responding to threats to our trees - particularly as we are now dealing with the wider Dulwich area, where the trees do not have the protection of the Dulwich Estate or of being in a Conservation area.

Tree Planting
- We would urge members to follow up street tree replacements with the council in the first instance and to refer any difficulties to us.
We have a good relationship with the council's tree department and are supporting their efforts to combat the street tree planting criteria which have been imposed on them, which are preventing street trees being replaced. They are working on obtaining agreement to enable the planting of small species on narrow pavements.

- We have planted some new trees, with more planned. We arranged for three new native black poplars, funded by the Society, to be planted on Long Meadow, as future replacements for existing old boundary black poplars - a species which is now quite rare in its native form. We will continue to be active in the future management of Long Meadow.

- We have recently obtained funding from the council for new street tree planting.

Appreciation of our tree heritage
- In each issue of the Journal, one of our members has written a profile of a local tree or tree species which can be found in the Dulwich area.

- We arranged for a guided tour of the veteran oaks in Dulwich Park. This was very informative and much appreciated, so we will be repeating it this year, in London Tree week, on Sunday 28th May. Daniel Greenwood of London Wildlife Trust will lead the walk and he has also agreed to join our committee.

- We have a good relationship with the Friends of Belair and Dulwich Parks and with the Parks Manager. We are working on tree maps of our local parks, particularly Dulwich, and the Society has approved funding for some corresponding tree labels in Dulwich Park. If anyone has IT skills which could help us in producing digital tree maps to go on our website, we would be very pleased to hear from you.

Glynis Williams, Chair

 

 

REPORT FROM THE WILDLIFE SUB COMMITTEE
Now, more than ever, we can see just how important are gardens, front and back if we’re lucky enough to have them, for wildlife and plants. These linked oases form a living chain, as essential for species survival as the distant exotic landscapes we see on our TV screens. Our Group have been working actively, in conjunction with London Wildlife Trust, Southwark Council, and the Dulwich Estate, to protect and enhance these valuable green spaces on our doorsteps.

Expert surveys of living local landscapes and regular recording of bird, bat, butterfly and plant species reveal a rich tapestry of nature that is practically unique within the Greater London area - all very encouraging, despite the pressures from climate oscillations, building development and the desire to park one’s car in the front garden to escape controlled parking zone restrictions.

Among the cast list of birds spotted over the past year were: a Tree pipit and a Water rail - which provided such a great photo in the Journal - both in Dulwich Park, a woodcock at the bottom of a neighbour’s garden, Willow warblers singing in Belair Park, plus a family of newly hatched Egyptian Geese. A Wheatear, which normally breed around coasts, attracted a following of twitchers to the Alleyn’s school playing fields. A few swifts bred in East Dulwich, though the Burbage Road colony of House Martins produced just one breeding pair and a single fledgling. Dr Peter Roseveare, our Recorder, says the reasons for this species’ decline is unclear, but may be linked to a lack of flying insects for the birds to feed on, in turn perhaps due to increased air pollution.

There was a decline, too, in Blackbird and Thrush numbers, but a reappearance of tiny Firecrests last autumn - they favour evergreen shrubs where they can feed on small invertebrates, such as spiders. Some of the bigger visitors included a Kite, over the Picture Gallery, and buzzards, one of which was being harassed by crows, while another was attacked in flight by Herring gulls.

Three popular Bat Walks were led by London Wildlife Trust, and transept surveys in Sydenham Hill and Dulwich woods showed “high feeding activity”, roost surveys revealed Leisler and Pipistrelle varieties. There was a new butterfly record - Marbled White - although last year was one of the worst on record for butterflies generally. Hedgehogs, now entering the national endangered species list, are being surveyed in the Dulwich Woods complex.

Surveys have revealed many indicator species for ancient woodland in Low Cross Wood, such as wild garlic, native bluebells, wood anemone and Solomon’s Seal, a nationally scarce lily which isn’t normally found in London any more. The value of our area’s veteran oaks, some of which are between 200 and 400-plus years old, has been highlighted by walks and talks which explain the roles of mature trees to conservation species such as bats (which shelter in bark cracks in order not to fatally lose body heat) and Stag beetles. Our area is a hot spot for these endangered beetles, whose larvae live on rotting wood below ground for seven years. We greatly value the way our local woodlands have been managed to protect native habitats and hope that such improvements as we have seen locally can be extended to all our woods.

Angela Wilkes, Chair.

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