Castle Woods on Shooters Hill

Castle Woods on Shooters Hill is one of the interesting woodland areas on Shooters Hill, lying between Eltham Common and Jack Woods.

Shooters Hill Woods

The woods remained Crown Estates into the 20th century. The Crown Commissioners leased land out for income. The entire site of Castle Woods and Severndroog Castle was originally part of the estate for Park Farm Place. (The remainder of Park Farm Place is now under the Corbett Estate, Eltham Parks North and South and The Warren Golf Course.) 

Castle Wood on the OS map of 1893-94:

Castle Wood House

A small lane leads from Shooters Hill Road to Severndroog Castle car park. Here a tarmacked lane winds round the hillside to the site of Castle Wood House. Tom Wareham1 proposes that Thomas Jackson, who owned Eltham Park, leased additional land from the Crown Estate and built Castle Wood House c.1869. Probyn Godson was the last owner. He bought the freehold in 1907 and died in 1920. The estate was offered for sale at this point. The LCC raised money and bought c.9 acres which was added to the Severndroog park. Castle Wood House was demolished in 1922 and all that remains are the terraces and mature trees. The site opened to the public in 1925 as a public park. 

The site today

Castle Wood House stood on the level site of today’s rose garden. Severndroog Castle stands on the hill behind the site, hidden in the trees. The rose garden was planted in 2019 and there are beautiful old rose varieties in bloom in June.

Rose garden in Castle Woods, site of the former house
The rose garden, site of the former Castle Wood House

The trees in Castle Woods

The trees are glorious and varied: pedunculate and sessile oaks, chestnuts, birches, hornbeam, beeches and holly.

Castle Woods on Shooters Hill
Pedunculate and sessile oak trees
Castle Woods on Shooters Hill
Birch trees
Castle Woods on Shooters Hill
Chestnut tree

The meadow in Castle Woods

The hillside below the terrace falls away towards the south, covered with grass and young trees springing up towards the edges of the grass. There are some wildflowers, particularly in the north east corner, but there is not an abundance of flowers in the meadows.

Castle Woods meadow
Meadow of Castle Woods
Hillside below Castle Woods House
The hillside below the site of Castle Woods House
View from the field below Castle Woods House
View from the field below Castle Woods House

Castle Woods on Shooters Hill is a good place to walk and it has a view! If you fancy a longer outing there is always Eltham Common, Jack Woods and Oxleas Woods!

  1. Wareham, Tom: Oxleas, 2020, printed by Amazon, p.121ff


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