Friends of Crofton and Sparrow Woods

.... including Gumping Common, Crofton Heath and Eynsford Recreation Ground

Recent news


11Oct

The grassy south end of Eynsford Close Recreation Ground has been allowed to grow over the summer. To encourage more meadow plants, the vigour of the grass needs to be reduced. Here is Jenny from the Working Group sowing yellow rattle seeds. The pretty yellow flower pictured below is parasitic on grass roots, and will help provide more space for meadow wildflowers. Fingers crossed for next summer!

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22Sep

Lovely weather on Saturday for last Saturday's free guided history and nature walk at Crofton and Sparrow Woods attracted over 60 people to come and find out more about our lovely green space. The history from William the Conqueror through to the post war building boom was explained, the wonderful woodland wildlife and plants, and well as reasons for the area being a Site of Special Scientific Interest. We also took the opportunity to celebrate the 20th birthday of the London Loop which passes through the heart of the woods.

Thank you to Petts Wood and District Residents Association, Bromley RSPB Local Group, and London Loop for being a key part of organising the event.

Interested in holding a guided walk for your group? Then contact friendscroftonandsparrowwoods@gmail.com



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06Sep

The Friends of Crofton and Sparrow Woods September 2021 e-newsletter is out now to all members. Join the group now to receive a copy and learn more about our wildlife and history, as well as forthcoming events.

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16Jul

Seen in Crofton Woods is one of the best known migrant butterflies - the painted lady.

It is a thistle lover, so well done to Work Group members in the Spring that cleared bramble to encourage the resurgence of thistles.

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10Jul

The Bromley RSPB Local Group walked through Crofton Woods this morning, and in addition to hearing the birdlife and seeing the buzzard nest, despite the drizzle, we also found a newly emerged purple hairstreak butterfly gradually enlarging and drying its wings. Wonderful colour.

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29Jun

The June 2021 Friends of Crofton and Sparrow Woods newsletter has been published - 6 pages of interesting news about this lovely area. Join the Group to receive your free copy.  

Use the Contact Us link, or fill in the membership form in the Form link and send it to us at friendscroftonandsparrowwoods@gmail.com


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23Jun

This is the time of year to keep your eyes open for speckled wood butterflies.They love Crofton & Sparrow Woods as sun dappled woodland glades are their favorite haunt. Don't look for them on flowers - they prefer honey-dew produced by aphids. They bask in sun spots with their wings half open.

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25May

Vetch in bloom

It is vetch time of year again. Bush vetch (with a purple flower) and common vetch are doing well thanks to the warmth and rain. We hope that letting the grass grow in part of the Recreation Ground will see vetch return to that area too.

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10May

Beautiful bluebell carpet

It is bluebell time of year at last. Bluebells are scattered all over the woods, but they are at their most beautiful in the south side of the woods, where they carpet the ground with a haze of blue. 

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04May

Friends Group members and Duke of Edinburgh scheme volunteer tackling waste dumped in Crofton Woods

Three sessions of rubbish removal from the woods secured a mass of fly tipping - unwanted items consciously taken into the woods to dump. It is a real shame that the beautiful and scientifically important woods are despoiled in this manner. Well done to all the hard work of the Friends Group members and our Duke of Edinburgh scheme volunteer for sparing the time to make a difference, and to idverde for their support.

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25Apr

Crofton buzzard sighting

Good to see raptors are doing so well - although I am not sure that the very cross nesting crows agree.

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15Apr

A delightful flower or spring

Here are a couple of plants of cuckoo flower flowering on a Kyd Brook tributary stream bank, so named because of the time of year that it flowers is when cuckoos were heard. It has been a few years since cuckoos were heard in Crofton Woods.

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About Us


The Friends of Crofton and Sparrow Woods is dedicated to maintaining and improving this beautiful, well used, and environmentally important site.

Much of the woodland is an area of Site of Special Scientific Interest (SSSI). It is a rare wet woodland habitat in London which supports a wide range of plants, wild animals and birds, as well as butterflies and moths.

The area includes a well used walking commuter route for the surrounding urban population to get to school, work, shops and Petts Wood station. There is a popular children's playground, playing fields, and easy walks into the extensive woodland (although very muddy in winter).

The Friends of Crofton and Sparrow Woods provides volunteering opportunities for the Duke of Edinburgh Scheme Bronze Award.

The Group is actively looking for new members including people who would like to to do one or more of the following:

  • Learn more about the areas's history and local environment through receiving our newsletter.
  • Join our fortnightly Tuesday morning woodland Work Groups.
  • Help with litter picking.
  • Join in butterfly, moth, plant, and bird identification (no experience necessary).
  • Help running the Group - from manning stalls at local events, writing articles, applying for grants, running the website, joining the Committee, to bringing new ideas.
  • Make a donation towards our objectives (e.g. rewilding part of the recreation ground, better signage, a replacement bridge to Gumping Common, a firm path all around the recreation ground to improve disabled access, playground improvements etc)
Join and help make a difference to our local community.


(All photographs are subject to copyright - contact friendscroftonandsparrowwoods@gmail.com if you wish to reproduce them elsewhere)


About UsAbout Us

Join us


  • Eynsford Close, Petts Wood, Orpington BR5 1DP, UK

The Friends of Crofton Woods is a group of like minded people interested in knowing more about the wildlife and history of the area, and supporting the area's use for recreation and as a Site of Special Scientific Interest. We need you to join us to help keep the area beautiful. If you just wish to donate for yourself or in memory of a loved one, we will ensure that all your money is dedicated to improving the woodland and recreation ground. Do get in touch.


History


History
The area has a long history - from when Odo, William the Conqueror's half brother, was given the land. It been woodland and fields for hundreds of years, and has never had a grand house on it. The land was broken into smaller field-sized pieces, with the result of a large number of owners of one or more piece, and they often then rented to tenants.  

Some of the area has been woodland for at least 400 years. Some was arable land until the end of the 20th Century.

Over the 19th Century there were many disputes between area occupants, with animals straying to others' areas, and boundary disputes.

About a third of the currently wooded area was arable land, but by the 20th century bush and small trees started taking over.

80% of the area was in agricultural use in 1937.

Regular coppicing ceased around 1930.

In 1963 the old Orpington Urban District Council agreed to compulsorily purchase much of the area of open space with a small nature reserve in one section.

In 1966 when Orpington became part of the Greater London Borough of Bromley, the Bromley authority commenced a plan to ensure that the area remained Green Belt and Public Open Space .

1970 - a planning application was made to build houses on the site of the isolation hospital, but this was withdrawn.

Early in 1973 a full dossier of the natural history of the area was completed (which the Friends Group would love to see). This listed 342 plants, over 60 species of birds, 30 butterflies and innumerable moths recorded from 1934 - 72. At that time the area was put on a list of Sites of Special Scientific interest at Nature Conservancy.

In March 1973 the principle owners- Rookery Estates and M E W Norman submitted a planning application to develop 139 acres for 1000 houses.

By 1974 Sparrow Common was becoming scrub - and it is now woodland.

2-3 April 1974 a planning application (after appeal) by Rookery Estates and Mr G H Norman to develop 139 acres of Sparrow Wood, Roundabout Wood and Crofton Heath was refused.

April 1989 - The Nature Conservancy Council declared the area as a Site of Special Scientific interest.

Early 1990s - Bromley Council acquired 40 acres (16 hectares) of Sparrow Wood, part of it isolated. Also 15 acres (6 hectares) called St Thomas Open Space near St Thomas Drive- former Education land, Gumping Common and part of Crofton Heath.

St Thomas Open Space was agricultural land until the 1930s. When the Council acquired it, it was being maintained as open grassland with a scattering of trees. By 2021 only a small amount of grassland survived.

1998- Thames Water were going to install a relief sewer on the west side of the long metalled path that runs along the east side of the area, making boreholes and promising a public meeting, but the work was postponed.

The Friends Group has researched the history behind the Fever Hospital that was built in in the woods, the reasons some areas were owned by the Isleworth Bluecoat School, and the 20th century plans to build sewers, bypasses and housing.

If you are interested in knowing more about the history, or have knowledge that you are happy to share with the Friends Group, please contact friendscroftonandsparrowwoods@gmail.com.

We are particularly interested in any photographs that you may have.

Wildlife and Flora


Trees, shrubs, plants and fungi

Trees, shrubs, plants and fungi

The trees shrubs and plants of Crofton and Sparrow Woods

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People


Jane Andrews

Chairman

Kirsty Blackman

Committee member

Karen King

Treasurer

Claire Osborn

Membership Secretary and Committee Member

John Bray

Committee Member

Derek Middlemass

Facebook

Forms


Membership and Donation Form

This includes a link to the PDF of the Membership and Donation Form for the Friends of Crofton and Sparrow Woods. .

Privacy Policy

This is the privacy policy that has been agreed by the Committee of the Friends of Crofton and Sparrow Woods.