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Southwark residents gathered yesterday to celebrate the worthless, scrubby ugliness of Southwark Woods.


While most old inner London cemeteries are preserved for their social, environmental and economic value as nature reserves, Southwark council want to chainsaw and excavate Southwark Woods at Camberwell Old and New Cemeteries, to plant 4,800 sterile new graves.


According to Southwark council leader Peter John, the 10 acre inner city patch of Grade 1 woodland – a registered Site of Importance for Nature Conservation and Metropolitan Open Land on the South London Green Chain Walk – is ‘not beautiful’ and ‘scrubby’.


Southwark Woods are not only home to protected species such as bats, owls, stag beetles and many other live occupants. They are also home to around 300,000 of Southwark and London’s dead – the vast majority of whom died in poverty.


If you haven’t been to Southwark Woods, watch the aerial video to see the extent of what is at risk.


Yesterday’s Honey Hunt clues referred to the history of the old graves, including William Stanlake’s, awarded the Victoria Cross at 23 for courageous action in the Crimea in 1854. Bug hunting families found Meadow Browns, Peacocks, solitary bees and many other invertebrates, including rare Stag Beetles.


The ‘Writing the Woods’ workshop led by author Claire Collison inspired a writen connection with the nature of life and death.


Just a worthless piece of old scrub? Campaign group Save Southwark Woods and over 8,000 of its supporters disagree.


Residents walked from the woods at Camberwell Old Cemetery to the wooded hill slopes of Camberwell New Cemetery, with a fine view north across London. Here, memorials to Southwark residents include commemorations to people killed in 1944 by bombs that hit the Woolworths in the Walworth Road.


Save Southwark Woods’ supporters want Southwark council to respect the heritage of the dead and the valuable living woodlands, and declare Camberwell Old and New Cemeteries nature reserves as Nunhead Cemetery is.


Campaigners will present the petition – and the financial, environmental and social arguments behind it – to the full Southwark council on Wednesday July 8th. Join them to present the petition.

Southwark Woods at Camberwell Old Cemetery - From the Air

By John Edwards @aerialuas


Southwark Woods Day, Midsummer Sunday 21st June

Stag Beetles and Honey Hunt, and Claire Collison's Writing the Woods workshop


Southwark Woods – just a worthless piece of old scrub?

22nd June 2015


Watch the video:

Southwark Woods at Camberwell Old Cemetery - From the Air 

by John Edwards @aerialuas


Support the call to Save Southwark Woods and sign the petition here:


Contact campaign co-ordinators for images and info: [email protected]


Or go to:


Twitter: @southwarkwoods


Facebook: Save Southwark Woods