Oxleas Wood, Castle Wood and Jack Wood

With trees dating back to the ice age, this trio of woods is one of the most important sites for wildlife in the whole of London. Some of the magnificent specimens in this historic woodland are as much as 8000 years old.

The site’s highlights include Severndroog Castle – a folly tower-cum-tea room with views over the city (and occasional theatrical and musical performances) – a café, a terraced garden and rose garden, an outdoor gym, fallen trees aplenty, and a family of very noisy woodpeckers! The Oxleas Café serves traditional café fare and, in the summer, hosts weekly live music sessions on Sunday afternoons – perfect for a lazy Sunday picnic.


Oxleas Wood is a little piece of countryside in the city. Wandering along its meandering paths and clambering over enormous ancient trees, ankle deep in mud, it’s easy to forget you’re, technically, in London. Young families can collect pine cones, listen out for the woodpeckers, pick berries, hunt for bluebells, wade through puddles and make the most of Severndroog Castle’s child-friendly events, from fetes to theatrical performances. Dog owners can lose themselves in the majesty of this 8000 year old woodland. Nature enthusiasts can spot rare flora and fauna.

Young couples can soak up the rays along with live music on the meadow on Sundays in August. Fitness fanatics (or fitness phobes) can make use of the park’s outdoor gym. There really is something for everyone. As a young family with a mud-loving dog, we adore Oxleas Wood and have many a happy memory of strolling through the woods eating ice creams brought at Castlewood Tea Room or discovering another of the park’s mysteries – a rose garden, a brick-built cottage, stone steps leading to a teeny castle…even the teenager loves it (and that’s saying something)!

Address: Shooters Hill, London, SE9.

Website: www.oxleaswood.com.

Playground: No, but has an outdoor gym with a small range of equipment and plenty of trees to climb.

Cafe: Yes, serving cooked breakfasts and other hot food along side sandwiches, cakes, snacks and drinks.

Toilets: Yes, with baby change and accessible loo.

Pram / wheelchair / mobility friendly: Cafe and toilets are accessible and there are a number of paths that are good for wheels but they do peater out once you get deeper into the woods. The accessible entrances are on Crookston road, Rochester Way (on the way up towards Falconwood), and if you come in the entrance on Shooters Hill with the car park. Slings are better for babies if possible. More details here: www.disabledgo.com/en/access-guide/oxleas-wood/royal-borough-of-greenwich.

Parking: Free parking at two car parks accessible via Shooters Hill.

Nearest Station:

Train: Woolwich, Welling, Falconwood.

DLR: Woolwich Arsenal, and then a bus.

Tube: No.

Phone: 020 8921 6885.

Email: [email protected].


Every Friday morning at 10.30am – come rain or shine – Nature Play Greenwich takes pre-schoolers and their parents on a child-led adventure through the woods. In the spring and summer, berry picking and a visit to the bluebells are a must.

See our listing for Severndroog Castle here.

Review by Lianne Moseley-Mould.

Founder of MGF, Helen is a mum of four who spends way too much time on the interweb and not enough time in bed. She loves wearing her dressing gown, car boot sales and watching TV programmes featuring food. Her specialist subjects include 'how to overfill your car boot' and 'how to avoid dusting'. Follow her at Twitter: @Ginfund, Facebook: @MGFund, Instagram: @mummysginfund and online: www.mummysginfund.co.uk.