Supporting Gorne Wood, the closest Ancient Woodland to the City of London: Phase 2

£130.87k of £200k





Days left

'We've raised the funds to purchase but still have a long way to go'.

The Fourth Reserve Foundation (registered charity:1186942) has raised the funds to buy the closest site of designated Ancient Woodland to the City of London based in Lewisham SE London.

They've reached the 100K target to pay for the acquisition via a Compulsory Purchase Order through the Council thanks to you and can't thank you all enough. So many amazing people have donated. You truly are incredible and all the messages are so encouraging.

With so much media coverage people new to the campaign have asked to donate to the project and so we have set a new target to raise funds that will go towards the restoration including the removal of the derelict scout hut, meadow restoration, replacement fence/gate and tree planting.

Why is Gorne Wood Special?

Gorne Wood is situated in Brockley, Lewisham to the rear of Buckthorne Road SE4 and to the side of Courtrai Road SE23. It is an extremely rare living remnant of the Great North Wood and forms part of the Buckthorne Cutting half of which the Fourth Reserve manage as a nature reserve. The other half which is under threat of development is a designated site of Ancient Woodland where 400-year-old trees, protected and endangered species, including hedgehogs and toads and ancient hedgerows can still be found, tucked between houses and a railway line. It is also a designated Asset of Community Value which gives community groups a right to buy opportunity.

Exactly a hundred years ago, a section of the land was given to local people but in recent years the woods were sold in to private ownership by the railway, local people and in particular scouts, brownies and cubs were shut out, and the site is now being damaged and degraded. There is a risk it will be lost forever if the community can't secure and restore the site which is suffering from neglect and decades of damage.

Who are the Fourth Reserve and what do they plan to do with the wood?

The Fourth Reserve Foundation have been successfully running the Buckthorne Cutting Nature Reserve adjacent to Gorne Wood and along the same railway embankment since January 2018. This nature reserve serves the local community including 12 schools and provides a sanctuary space for female refugees. It has been supported by funders such as the National Lottery, the Feminist Review Trust, Stanley Smith Horticultural Trust, Groundwork UK and the Co op Local Community Fund.

The Lewisham Teachers Hub use it to train curriculum leads on how to use the natural environment in their schools and the reserve has a partnership with several organisations including the London Wildlife Trust and the Greenwich Wildlife Network to provide environmental education and to protect wildlife. Recently for example it became home to injured and rescued birds.

The aim is to care for and manage the Ancient Woodland section while providing access for the community and in particular for environmental education in a time of climate emergency where the need for children to access nature, particularly in the city has increased.

Who supports this campaign?

The Campaign to Protect Rural England (CPRE) includes this site as one of 10 ‘at risk’ green spaces that should be saved to create 10 London parks. Alice Roberts - Head of Green Space Campaigns says this about Gorne Wood:

London only has half the green space it needs for a population of its size, so spaces like this one are incredibly valuable. Despite a long history of public use, the community is in danger of losing access to a unique green space.”

What happens to the donations if the purchase doesn't go through?

If you leave your e-mail address we will contact you and offer to return the donation or use the funds for nature restoration work at the Buckthorne Nature Reserve such as tree planting, creating hedgerows and meadows etc...No donations would be used for any other purpose other than woodland conservation and supporting wildlife.

Matthew Frith, Director of Conservation at the London Wildlife Trust says this about Gorne Wood:

“A wood like this one that has somehow survived to today is irreplaceable in its variety. Many species are only associated with ancient habitats and it plays a critical role in the green stepping stones that sustain nature within London. Ancient woodlands like this are the cathedrals of our biodiversity. You wouldn’t knock down a cathedral to build a modern house - you lose all the intricacy and complexity has built up over millennia. " 

The Fourth Reserve campaign is supported by the local community including groups such as the 3rd Crofton Park Scouts, St.Hilda’s Church and the Dandy Park Revival Residents group and is firmly supported by the local authority who have confirmed that they will do everything possible to secure the sight if the community are able to raise the funds.

Please donate and help the Fourth Reserve buy back this woodland that has survived for centuries so that it can be used and looked after for centuries to come.

This appeal has been featured on ITV London News, BBC London Radio and BBC News London. See link below for most recent news coverage.


Fourth Reserve Foundation

London | Environment

Fourth Reserve Foundation Logo

What your gift could provide


removal of fly tipping


meadow restoration


sweet chestnut tree

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