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Rotherhithe Peninsula

Once it was farmland and marshes. Then the docks were dug out and big ships came. Now those docks have disappeard and nature has moved in.


Walk along the path which would once have been the edge of a dock and its features can still be seen - bollards and tracks, wall capstones and mooring chains.

Along the edge of the dock


But there is no longer the danger of falling over the edge into deep water - it is now filled with vegetation. Some trees and plants have been selected and planted but others have grown naturally, including a plant called the Canadian Fleabane which has been discovered here - and probably arrived as seeds on one of the ships.


The blue space has become green now but there are still ponds and streams around the site. They become overgrown very quickly and are full of wildlife.



An overgrown pond


An overgrown stream


A heron stands guard on one of the ponds.


Heron


And there are many other birds to be spotted in the water around here: kingfishers, coots, moorhens, swans and mallards. Reed warblers can be heard - but not seen.


There is also plenty to discover on dry land, with paths that lead into a variety of habitats.


One of the many paths


There are many different trees: oak, birch, poplar, golden acacia, poplar, hornbeam, sweet chestnut and crack willow where jays and black caps have been spotted.


Other creatures have also been found here, in this diverse landscape: hedgehogs and foxes, common newts and slow worms, frogs and toads, water scorpions, butterflies and spiders.


There is so much to see and learn about here - ant hills are have signs on them so that the meadow that they are in are not disturbed when it is scythed. The green woodpeckers can then feed on the ants,


In spring, there are colourful flowers: English bluebells, cowslips and primroses. And in autumn there are apples to be picked in the orchard.


Climb to the top of Stave Hill for all round views across the peninsula and then trek down into Russia Dock Woodlands and across to Lavender Pond Nature Reserve. There are two kinds of paths here - some cut across the peninsula directly and people cycle or walk to and from their destinations. Others wind around the space and are for exploring and discovering this wildlife space, some of it hidden amongst the dense growth all around.



Another path to follow


Rotherhithe, Canada Water or Surrey Quays Station

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