Selsdon Wood

Selsdon Wood Nature Reserve, commonly known as the Bird sanctuary, is 200 acres of countryside on the very edge of Greater London. Selsdon Wood is a wonderful place for a walk whatever time of year.

Selsdon Wood Nature Reserve, commonly known as the Bird sanctuary, is 200 acres of countryside on the very edge of Greater London. Selsdon Wood is a wonderful place for a walk whatever time of year. 

In the spring, the ground is carpeted with anemones, followed by bluebells. In the summer the lush green leaves keep it shady and cool. Autumn is the time for blackberries, fungi and nuts. And in winter when it snows the wood is silent and magical.

Autumn leaves in Selsdon Wood
Autumn leaves in Selsdon Wood
Autumn leaves in Selsdon Wood

Approximately a quarter of the area is open field, criss-crossed by paths and maintained with an annual mowing. The remainder is ancient woodland, dominated by oak with areas of coppiced hazel. It is home to deer, foxes, badgers, squirrels and over 100 different species of bird.

Blackthorn in David's Crook
Blackthorn in David's Crook
Blackthorn in David's Crook

Visiting the woods

The main entrance and car park is in Old Farleigh Road, served by bus route 433 with the nearest stop being Dove Close only a short walk from the entrance. There is an additional hourly bus, 409, which runs along Old Farleigh Road with a stop named Selsdon Nature Reserve and it is also possible to access the wood from Courtwood Lane which is served by the 353.

Although many of the entrances are never locked, the car park and Kingfisher Gardens gates are locked overnight, opening at 8.00am and closing at different times throughout the year:

  • January 4.30pm
  • February 5.30pm 
  • March 6.30pm 
  • April 8.00pm 
  • May 9.00pm 
  • June and July 9.30pm 
  • Aug 8.30pm 
  • Sept 7.30pm
  • Oct 6.30pm 
  • Nov and Dec 4.30pm

Paths are generally dry during the summer months but boots are recommended in the winter or after prolonged rainy periods. Dogs are welcome and may be walked off the lead if under control.

There are two walking routes on site, the Red (1.6km) and Green (3km) walking routes These are marked by wooden posts and start at the car park. You can download a guide to the walks here. The London Loop and Vanguard Way pass through the wood following Addington Border from the Yew Tree Way Gate to the Courtwood Lane Gate. 

Looking west from Great Field
Looking west from Great Field
Looking west from Great Field

Friends of Selsdon Wood

The wood is owned by the National Trust but managed by the London Borough of Croydon with the assistance of a voluntary group, the Friends of Selsdon Wood (FSW). 

The Friends website is a rich source of information about the natural environment and history of the wood.

The Friends regularly hold informative, guided walks which are free of charge and to which all are welcome. All the walks are advertised on boards at the entrances and on the FSW website.

Groups of Friends carry out sustainable conservation and restorative work and monitor wildlife in Selsdon Wood. Workdays are held twice a month in the winter season and monthly in summer. See the Friends website if you’re interested in getting involved.