More about Joyden's Wood

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Poetry seat (Photo: WTML)

Joyden’s Wood is the perfect place to escape the hustle and bustle of the city, just 13 miles south-east of central London.

The oak, sweet chestnut and beech are alive with many species of bird and you may catch sight of a buzzard, sparrowhawk or kestrel soaring on the thermals high overhead. In spring, the woodland floor is a patchwork of vibrant bluebell, sunny yellow celandine and delicately fragranced lily of the valley, and in summer the small heath on high ground at the centre of the wood is a great place to picnic and enjoy the views across the city.

Autumn brings an explosion of colour as the leaves turn to gold, russet and crimson, and all kinds of imaginatively-named fungi burst out of the dead wood and the woodland floor. Look out for the purple tones of the amethyst deceiver and lilac bonnet, and the white-spotted red cap of the iconic fly agaric. And in winter the conifers provide a welcome splash of greenery.

 Joyden’s Wood has a long and fascinating history too. Archaeology buffs can hunt for the remains of Iron Age roundhouses, medieval field boundaries and wartime bomb craters, as well as the Faesten Dic, a Saxon-built defensive ditch. Once in a while fragments of Roman pottery or metal from crashed World War II fighter planes come to light. Who knows what other secrets the earth holds?

Wander the two circular waymarked routes through the site and you’ll come across a wooden sculpture of the tail and fuselage of a second world war Hawker Hurricane commemorating the planes shot down over the wood. There’s even a seat in the shape of an acorn – wind it up and it will recite some poetry!

Joyden’s Wood has plenty to delight, whatever your age and interests – it’s perfect for a family day out.

Listen to two of the poems

Icon SoundListen to the poem, 'Joyden's acorns'.

Icon SoundListen to the poem, 'We stand together'.

Setting

The 136ha (325 acre) Joyden’s Wood is located on the south-eastern edge of Greater London, only 21km (13 miles) from the city centre and within walking distance of Bexley High Street. The wood is split into three areas: Joyden’s Wood is the largest block at 128ha (316 acres); Gattons Plantation is to the west of this and the more isolated Sands Spinney lies to the north.

The wood is designated a Site of Metropolitan Importance for Nature Conservation.

OS Explorer 162, Landranger 177, TQ501717

Access/Walks

There are two main pedestrian entrances: one off Summerhouse Drive and another at the end of Ferndell Avenue. Only the Summerhouse Drive entrance is accessible to wheelchairs and buggies, having a wide kissing gate leading to a surfaced stone track.

The main entrance to Gattons Plantation is from the west side, off Cocksure Lane. There is no public access provision in Sands Spinney.

Three entrances for horse riders lead to a network of permissive bridleways around the west side of the wood. These bridleways are fenced off from the rest of the site. Riders must purchase a permit from Mount Mascal stables.

The woodland has a good network of paths and tracks, and two circular waymarked routes: the Faesten Dic Trail (3.3km/two miles) and the Woodland Walk (2.7km/1.7 miles). Gattons Plantation has one circular path. There is no vehicular access to this part of the wood.

For details of the walks, download the Joyden's Wood leaflet (PDF, 1.4 MB).

Directions

By bus

Buses run from Swanley, Dartford and Bexley with stops close to the Ferndell Avenue and Summerhouse Drive entrances to the wood. For Thameside bus enquiries call 01634 281100.

By train

The nearest railway station is Bexley, on the Dartford/Sidcup to Charing Cross line. The stations is around 1.6km (one mile) from the wood.

For up-to-date information on public transport, visit traveline.info (telephone 0871 200 22 33), or call National Rail Enquiries on 08457 48 49 50.

By car

From Bexley, head south-west on Manor Road, then turn left on to the A223 (Bexley High Street). At the roundabout, take the first exit on to the A2018 (Vicarage Road). Turn right into Baldwyn’s Park and then left into Tile Kiln Lane. Take the second right on to Summerhouse Drive.

From the M25, leave at Junction 2, following the A2 and then the A2018 towards Bexley. Turn left into Oakfield Road at the mini roundabout. After 0.4km (1/4 mile) turn right into Leyton Cross Road. After 1.6km (one mile) turn right into Summerhouse Drive.

There is no car park at the wood. Limited street parking is available along Summerhouse Drive, close to the main entrance. There is also a pay and display car park on Bexley High Street and parking at Bexley train station from where you can walk to the woods.

Nearest amenities

Public conveniences

The nearest toilets are at Summerhouse Drive Library during opening hours (Tuesday 9.00am - 6.00pm, Thursday 9.00am - 6.00pm, Friday 2.00pm - 6.00pm, Saturday 10.00am - 2.00pm).

 There are numerous facilities around four miles away in Dartford town centre. The closest is on Market Street, near the library, where there are disabled facilities which can be used via a RADAR key.

Refreshments

There is a range of cafes and restaurant within walking distance on Bexley High Street, and also around 6.4km (four miles) away in Dartford town centre.

Accommodation and Tourist Information

The Bexley Tourist Information provider is the Central Library, Townley Road, Bexleyheath, DA6 7HJ, telephone 020 8303 7777; or visit their website: arena.yourlondonlibrary.net

Alternatively, visit tripadvisor.co.uk  or bexley.gov.uk/visitbexley for ideas on accommodation. You can also email: touristinformation@bexley.gov.uk

Entry into our woods is free but please donate now to help us care for them

More about Joyden's Wood

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