A community group supporting biodiversity and helping people reconnect with nature in one of Croydon Council’s woodlands has been hailed as the best project of its kind in London.
The Friends of Stambourne Woods are supported by Croydon Council and organises events to reconnect the community with the woods.
Now the group have been named as the best Community Woodland Project at the London Trees and Woodlands Awards for their work to celebrate Stambourne Woods in Upper Norwood.
“Stambourne Woods is one of 127 parks and green spaces in Croydon – we are lucky to have such easy access to fantastic natural spaces and parks across the entire borough. The Friends of Stambourne Woods do excellent work to improve the woodland and make it more accessible for everyone to enjoy.”
Councillor Oliver Lewis, cabinet member for culture, leisure and sport
Stambourne Woods were first opened up to the public in 1984. The woods contain native species including trees that used to make up the Great North Wood alongside exotic trees planted as part of the Great Exhibition.
The volunteers of Friends of Stambourne Woods run monthly walking parties and ad-hoc activities including conservation, bushcraft and forest school classes. They promote year-round use of the woodland.
Events include expert-led fungi, plant, owl, bat and tree walks; butterfly, hedgehog, small mammal and bug hunts; forage and feasts, land-art; solstice gatherings; and experiences including bare foot walking, tree climbing and animal yoga.
Sarah Johnson, chair of Friends of Stambourne Woods, said: “It’s wonderful to receive recognition for the transformative work we’ve been doing here in Crystal Palace over the last three years.
“We hope that more people will get to know about our little project, come and join us, or perhaps be inspired to create something similar on their patch. Spending time in the woods is such a delight – a personal, social and environmental boost – get out there.”
The Friends of Stambourne Woods were presented with a bowl and a certificate at a special ceremony at City Hall on Thursday 11 July.