Two more Lewisham parks have been awarded Green Flag status, Increasing the number of spaces in the borough with the award to 21, it’s highest ever total.

The green spaces to receive the award last week were Dacres Wood Nature Reserve in Sydenham and Garthorne Road Nature Reserve in Forest Hill.

The Green Flag Award is a stamp of quality for parks and nature reserves and are awarded in a similar way to Michelin Stars. The criteria are robust and judges analyse aspects such as accessibility, community engagement, cleanliness, biodiversity and  the aptitude of a community to keep green spaces at an excellent standard but can also be lost if these standards drop.

Lewisham Councillor, Patrick Codd, called the nature reserves a “key part of our work to create a greener Lewisham”, further elaborating on their success: “As an inner-city borough, we are very proud of the many nature reserves, parks and green spaces that have brought much needed happiness to our residents during the very challenging times of the pandemic.”

Garthorne Road Nature reserve

Garthorne Road Nature Reserve is four kilometres long and over 200 metres wide.

It is popular for being an important metropolitan site for nature conservation and local wildlife.

“We are excited that Garthorne Road Nature Reserve has received the Green Flag Award” said Nick Lee, Treasurer of the Friends of Garthorne Road.

“As volunteers who work to protect and develop it, and open it to others, we are pleased and proud to have received the recognition that the Award brings.”

Dacres Wood Nature Reserve

Dacres Wood Nature Reserve occupies 2.5 hectares to the east of the main railway line between Forest Hill and Sydenham stations. It hosts a variety of invertebrate fauna, including notable species such as the purple hairstreak butterfly.

It is thanks to their rich wildlife and admirably well-kept landscape that the two nature reserves have happily received their green flags.

Paul Todd, manager of the Green Flag Awards Scheme, praised both reserves as a “testament to the hard work of the staff and volunteers who do so much to ensure that these two nature reserves have high standards of horticulture, safety and environmental management and are places that support people to live healthy lives.”

In light of the recent COP26 conference and the abundance of issues threatening our environment, the Green Flag awards represent a beacon of hope for London and the UK to inspire a more environmentally friendly future.

As it stands, the world currently faces a 60% decline in animal populations and more than a million in extinction, over 150 of which are directly under threat in London.