Oxleas Wood: Ancient Woodland

The selected images from ‘Oxleas Wood: Ancient Woodland’ come from a project commissioned by Greenwich Council, London, in 1990. The work was part of a campaign to focus public attention on one of the South East’s most outstanding ancient habitats, which was under threat from Government proposals for an East London River Crossing. That six-lane highway would have cut the wood in two, causing massive and irreparable damage to its ecosystem.

The photographs were exhibited at the Greenwich Cinema, Blackheath Library, and the Citizens Gallery in London. The project was featured in the Observer newspaper and on Radio London. One folio of images was auctioned to raise funds for the campaign, and the original collection placed in an archive with Greenwich Council.

After considerable lobbying and pressure from local groups like PARC (People Against the River Crossing, under the chairmanship of Dr Barry Gray) and national organisations like Friends of the Earth, the plans were shelved. I am delighted to say that the woods are still thriving.

"I've made clear in all my meetings with ministers - there is no question of the road scheme being taken further south anywhere near Oxleas Wood. ... I will do everything possible to make it almost impossible for someone ever to actually build down to Oxleas Wood." (Ken Livingstone, London Assembly, 19 June 2002)