A note from Maria Gatland – our Chair. “Below is a report by Gemma Thomas of Natural England who conducted a site survey recently. I am very pleased with it and particularly about the comments on the meadow.”

“On 2nd June I carried out a site check at Croham Hurst SSSI. The site received a full condition assessment in 2009 so it was due a check just to make sure the features were still in favourable condition.

Overall the site is doing well and working towards maintaining the favourable condition. I saw the area of holly removal in the north west of the site and whilst at first glance it does look like quite a large area was worked on, the vast amount of holly in the woodland shows that removal and control is necessary. There is little understory left in this area but a few seedlings are coming through. The canopy cover has been reduced which will allow more sunlight to reach the woodland floor.

The small meadow near the opening in the west is looking good, with species present such as columbine, common knapweed, hedge bedstraw, wild strawberry and marjoram. Shrubs and wildflowers were present along the southern edge of the SSSI, parallel to Upper Selsdon Road. Species included wavy-hair grass, ox-eye daisy, holly, bilberry, hawthorn & field maple.

There is a high canopy cover throughout the woodland, mainly consisting of beech and oak with some silver birch, hazel, ash, yew and sycamore. There was the occasional patch of laurel but otherwise no other invasive species. Ground cover is dominated by bramble and holly dominates the understory. There is some evidence of saplings coming through and some patches of bluebells.

The two heathland areas at the top of the site comprised of generally very short vegetation with eagle fern and sheep’s sorrel. Ling coverage is building with some patches of mature and degenerate gorse.”

Until 1901 the Hurst was owned by the Whitgift Foundation, but a proposal to build on it caused such public outrage that it was sold to Croydon Council.

Since 2002 Friends of Croham Hurst Woods have served the woodland in many ways:

  • Helped the rare, endangered pale St John’s Wort by clearing 30 years of scrub
  • Recreated the meadow shown on old maps
  • Designed and funded the Information Boards
  • Erected new benches

In addition, in  2012 we funded a major conservation project – the removal of one hectare of holly which had become too invasive.   And we publish two newsletters a year which enables members to keep up-to-date.

As of February / March 2015 another tranche of holly was removed which opens up parts of the woodland to light, warmth and regeneration. The contractors are using a machine used in bog work to help protect the soil surface. Below is a picture of our Chairman Maria with the very large bog machine! In November/December 2016 another large tranche was removed so the woodland is looking much lighter and brighter.


The view from the top of the Hurst has also been opened up and many positive comments have been received. (Photo courtesy of Douglas White).


 In 2017, and with grateful thanks to all members of FCHW,  another tranche of holly was removed  on the Upper Selsdon Road side.  Access for machinery has always been a problem here but the contractors carried out the work by hand. This will have many beneficial effects especially  in the meadow where there are already bees, butterflies and lizards.  It will be most interesting to see what else may make their home there over the coming years.
The removal of holly is continuing year on year and now in 2020, thanks to members of FOCHW this work continues with wonderful results.

A sunny day

A not so sunny day in July 2018:


Fire fighting…………..

You can see more images on the tab “Fire 2018”.