Birdbrook Nature Reserve

Birdbrook Nature Reserve is gated and only opens to the public on special days or by appointment. The London Wildlife Trust manages the site. At the moment (August 2022) it is clearly suffering like the rest of London from ongoing extreme heat and no rain for months. I hope that I may be able to get access once the weather changes, or if there is an open day next year.

A little history

In the 19th century Kidbrooke was farmland. Lower Kidbrooke Farm was in this area with the farmhouse at the western end of Carnbrook Road.

In 1917 a Royal Air Corps storage and maintenance facility was set up on both sides of the railway line at Kidbrooke Station. One year later this became RAF Kidbrooke. In WWII the site was further enlarged to include a barrage balloon depot. During its years in service the site also provided glider training, language training, and training for military transport. The site closed in 1968-69. Today the new Kidbrooke Village and Thomas Tallis School cover the area.

Birdbrook Nature Reserve
The nearby Kidbrooke Village at one end of the nature reserve

In 1982 British Telecom apparently owned the site of the nature reserve but I am not yet sure why. The company gave the London Wildlife Trust a licence to manage the little nature reserve.

The Rochester Way relief road was built in the mid-1990s. However, volunteers from the Trust reached an agreement with the government and the reserve was preserved. 

Birdbrook Nature Reserve today

Birdbrook Nature Reserve
The entrance to the reserve and the path alongside the reserve on Birdbrook Road
Path alongside Birdbrook Nature Reserve
The path leading to Kidbrooke Village

Inside the fence there are six ponds with one of the most important colonies of newts in London. I could see bulrushes and willowherb through the railings but I wondered if there was still water in the ponds. But the hedging is thick and although I read of scrubland and grass and lizards you can’t really see anything from the path.

Birdbrook Nature Reserve
Bulrushes and willowherb

The path from Birdbrook Road runs between the nature reserve and the main road and leads to Kidbrooke Village.

Birdbrook nature reserve
Birdbrook Nature Reserve (L) and the main road hidden behind the trees on the right

The Birdbrook Nature Reserve looks interesting and I hope to visit one day.

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