Dacres Wood Nature Reserve occupies 2.5 hectares in LB Lewisham, to the east of the main railway line between Forest Hill and Sydenham stations. It was formerly part of a large Victorian garden, and includes an important remnant of the Croydon Canal, closed in 18. There is a diverse invertebrate fauna, including several species of particular note and a number of useful invertebrate habitats. The site’s close abutment to a railway line makes possible potential colonization and the spread of many species up this ‘green corridor’.
From Lewisham Nature Reserves Summary Plan, Sept 2009 – 2014
Much of the site is secondary woodland, but there is a discontinuous canopy dominated by a number of very large turkey oaks, as well as a few horse chestnut and English oak.
The secondary woodland is comprised of young growth of sycamore, English elm, ash, holly, lime, horse chestnut and other species. There are also a few English oak, hazel, spotted laurel, rhododendron, cherry, beech, elder and hawthorn amongst these. Much of the field layer/under-story is dominated by bramble and ivy, with other species such as bluebell (native and Spanish), red campion, wood dock, and lords and ladies also occurring.
A pond near the entrance to the wood is a feature of the site and has a pond dipping platform and bridge (currently underwater). The pond has deep water at its centre, and towards the northern end it becomes shallower and has an extensive area of thick marshy growth.
Amphibians living in the pond include a large population of smooth newt and common frogs. Dragon flies include broad bodied chaser, common darter, southern hawker, blue tailed and azure damselflies.
A preliminary invertebrate survey conducted by Richard A. Jones in 1996 confirmed that there is a diverse invertebrate fauna including several species of particular note and a number of useful invertebrate habitats. This diversity is a reflection of the site’s history as a remnant of a large Victorian garden which would have been home to many of the invertebrates from the surrounding ‘semi-natural’ countryside.
Towards the rear of the site there is small grassy clearing between several large turkey oaks. The flora of the glade is not considered to be particularly diverse. There is a mixture of different grasses such as cocksfoot, barren brome, couch, annual meadow grass, perennial rye grass, false oat grass and wall barley.
At the very back of the site there runs a railway line, with broad overgrown banks to the cutting. The site’s close abutment to a railway line makes possible potential colonization and the spread of many species up this ‘green corridor’.