Wednesday, August 06, 2008

Sydenham Hill Woods

Took the dog for a walk today in one of my favourite local spots, Sydenham Hill Woods. In the woods there is what appears to be the ruins of a chapel - in fact it is a Victorian folly, built to look like a ruin in a garden which then covered part of the area.

At the other end of the wood there is this bridge. Today all that is underneath are burnt out stolen scooters, and the view is of woodland.

In 1871 Camille Pissarro stood on this bridge and painted the railway line heading down to Lordship Lane station - the course of the former is now the main track through the woods.

Nearby on Sydenham Hill there is an elaborate roadside memorial commemorating the death in a car accident of 30-year-old Michael Maloney in July 2007. Unusually the shrine includes an engraved stone as well as the more usual flowers and photographs.


Anonymous said...

I always understood that the closed up tunnel which can be seen near the Dulwich Wood House entrance to the woods forms part of what was once a vacuum powered railway system.

The best information I could find quickley came from here:

Transpontine said...

It was apparently part of the Crystal Palace and South London Junction Railway, which went between Nunhead and Crystal Palace.

Anonymous said...

I think the vacuum-powered railway was at the Crystal Palace itself.

Went on a walk along the line a couple of years ago - it's an interesting wander.

More here and here.

Anonymous said...

Sydenham woods is a great assett
but could be even better if we encourgaed/forced Dulwich College to give up various strips of land

and an underpass into Dulwich Park would be the top priority as the South Circular prersently cuts off the woods and wildlife from the Park

Dulwich Park was not given to us by Dulwich Estates (but was effectively stolen by the local "Progressive" Dulwich London County Council member...while the board was on holiday) see the book on the Park

makes a change for the people to steal something from the rich

I understand the tunnel was used to film old episodes of Dr Who

Anonymous said...

The memorial has been intresting to watch and has included solar garden lights, white garden path chips, picturers of Mary etc

I suspected it was a travellers shrine (common in Ireland)
but have never known the name

Anonymous said...

I note that they are upgrading the war memorial opposite the Harvester public house

They were going to move this into the TA base at High Wood (Named after the WW1 battle)just up the road

But pleased if its staying on the corner

history should be for the people

mike cupcake said...

Aha, I didn't realise those ruins were pure folly. Nice bit of woodland for a walk.

Anonymous said...

There is some info about the woods at

Anonymous said...

walked that tunnel as a child, before it was bricked up. came out towards Dulwich/A205, can't remember ... wait a moment ... went in off Fountains Road or something near Crystal Palace; the tunnel was straight as a die, you could see from end to end, it was about 1/4 mile long; also walked the High Level Crystal Palace Station tunnel, which curved, so you couldn't see the far end, not quite as long as the Sydenham tunnel; came out in someone's back garden, forgotten where: they never saw us :-o in those days you could also access the CP Station ticket office, beneath CP Parade (road), all fenced off now, for decades


Anonymous said...

I walked up the path to the huge house behind the Michael Maloney monument, and it is really odd.

There's a big gazebo that looks like there had been a rave in it and the house is all unkempt with sheets over the windows (but people living in it) and on the drive there are three smashed up cars.

I wish I knew what was going on there.

Transpontine said...

Intriguing - always thought that house looked like a kind of rock star palace, maybe now abandoned and squatted.

Ernest said...

I am a volunteer of Sydenham Hill Wood which the railway came through. I hold a information stall on most Sundays near the old tunnel in Sydenham Hill Wood which has pictures of the line, and also for sale a leaflet called Nunhead to Screaming Alice for £1 if you wish me to post you one please contact me at with your name and address.

The line was opened to serve the Great Exibition which was moved from Hyde Park to Sydenham Hill after 'Crystal Palce' burned in 1936 the line was not vaible and closed in 1954. I have some rare film footage of the last train.