A South London borough could get a new park after locals raised £100,000 to buy an ancient patch of woodland.

Lewisham residents want to turn 400-year-old Gorne Wood in Brockley into the borough’s newest park. 

The woodland was leased to locals as a “thank you” to local scouts who patrolled railway bridges in the area during the First World War.

News Shopper: Gorne Wood in Brockley (photo: Daniel Saunders)Gorne Wood in Brockley (photo: Daniel Saunders)

But the land fell out of public hands after it was sold privately during the 1980s. 

In 2004, local scouts were evicted from their hut on the site and in recent years the woods have become a hotspot for fly-tippers. 

Residents have now raised enough money to buy the site with the help of Lewisham Council.

They dream of reopening the ancient woodland to the public once again. 

Anna-Maria Cahalane, a local resident who has been involved in the campaign, said:  “We are over the moon that the community have come together to raise the funds for this special place.

“The acquisition process may take several months but eventually the unstable hut will be removed, years of damage will be undone and a beautiful oasis will be created for environmental education, creative projects and it will provide a resource for community groups.

"Wildlife will be cared for and protected and will finally be in safe hands.”

According to Fourth Reserve Foundation, a conservation charity leading the campaign, the site will be restored by “planting trees, and restoring ponds and meadow habitats.”

The group plans to replace the derelict scout hut with “more environmentally sympathetic structures that will work with the landscape and which people can use for activities, courses and events connected to the reserve’s work.”

Eventually, activities such as wildlife photography classes and writing, painting and theatre workshops will take place in the woods. 

The Fourth Reserve Foundation has been running another nature reserve next to Gorne Wood since January 2018.

Now the group has raised enough money, Lewisham Council intends to compulsorily purchase the woods from its current owner. 

Gorne Wood is one of 10 green spaces in London that environment charity, the Campaign to Protect Rural England [CPRE], wants to become a park.

The group is trying to raise £10,000 to help locals turn the spaces into parks.

Gorne Wood is one of two green spaces in Lewisham that the charity has earmarked as a future park.

The other is a stretch of land near railway tracks in Grove Park that inspired Edith Nesbit’s classic book, The Railway Children.