The 77 hectare Oxleas Woods to the north of Eltham is, along with neighbouring Jack Wood and Castle Wood, part of Shooters Hill Woodlands. The name 'Oxleas' comes from the Saxon word for 'pasture for oxen' which gives a clue as to its former use. The area includes ancient woodland some of which is at least 8000 years old, dating from the Ice Age. Trees from here were used in Woolwich and Deptford Dockyards for ship-building, and may have been used for ships which fought in the Battle of Trafalgar. The woodlands today are dominated by tall oak, hazel and sweet chestnut trees. Ash and silver birch also common, with some wild service trees, hornbeam and hazel. The foliage provides a home for woodpeckers, chiffchaff, nuthatches, tree creepers and wood warblers. In the 1980s, Oxleas Woodlands were threatened by a new road development. After a widespread local and national protest, the proposals were dropped. It was designated a Site of Special Scientific Interest in 1984. Taking the Green Chain Walk you can stroll from here via the Thames Barrier and Erith to Crystal Palace Park.
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LondonTown.com - Oxleas Woods Location Map
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