Work of woods friends group recognised with London award

A community group in Crystal Palace which supports biodiversity and helps people to connect with nature in a piece of woodland has been recognised as one of the best projects of its kind in London.

Stambourne Woods have regular events staged there by its Friends group

The Friends of Stambourne Woods, from Upper Norwood, has been named as the best Community Woodland Project at the London Trees and Woodlands Awards.

Stambourne Woods was first opened up to the public in 1984. The woods were once part of the ancient Great North Wood, which extended from the Thames down to the North Downs and Kent Weald.

As well as native species, Stambourne Woods also includes some more exotic trees, which are believed to have been planted there when the Crystal Palace was moved into the area 170 years ago.

The volunteers of Friends of Stambourne Woods hold monthly walks and other activities including conservation, bushcraft and forest school classes. They promote year-round use of the woodland.

Events include expert-led fungi, plant, owl, bat and tree walks; butterfly, hedgehog, small mammal and bug hunts; forage and feasts, land-art; solstice gatherings; and experiences including bare foot walking, tree climbing and animal yoga.

The Friends group receiving their certificate at City Hall

Sarah Johnson, the chair of Friends of Stambourne Woods, said: “It’s wonderful to receive recognition for the transformative work we’ve been doing here in Crystal Palace over the last three years.

“We hope that more people will get to know about our little project, come and join us, or perhaps be inspired to create something similar on their patch.

“Spending time in the woods is such a delight – a personal, social and environmental boost – get out there.”

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