About the Ridge
To go to the relevant section, please click on each subtitle:
1 Maps of the Sydenham Hill Ridge Neighbourhood Area and surroundings
2 Aerial Photograph of the Ridge and surroundings
3 Characteristics of the Ridge
The Sydenham Hill Ridge is the highest part of South London. It is densely green with Sydenham Hill Woods, Dulwich Woods, Hillcrest Woods and Wells Park. These woods, the remaining parts of the mediaeval Great North Wood, make up over half of the SHR Neighbourhood Area. They provide superb amenities for the local community and for Londoners, but also need protection.
The Ridge forms part of the southern border of the London basin and can be seen from all over the city. Part of the Ridge is designated a Site of Important Nature Conservation. The Ridge provides a natural home for many species; bats, birds, mammals, amphibians and insects rarely found in other built up areas of London. This nature corridor protects owls and woodpeckers, stag beetles and hedgehogs, foxes and squirrels.
The Ridge is divided by the main road, Sydenham Hill, which politically divides it between two boroughs, Southwark to the North-West and Lewisham to the South-East. On the Lewisham side there are underground streams and spring fed wells.In Victorian times, railway tunnels were built under the Ridge to carry passengers out of London to the south and also to take people to see the amazing Crystal Palace. This glass-and-iron structure was originally built in Hyde Park for the Great Exhibition of 1851. It was taken down and rebuilt in1852–54 in open land, to which it gave its name, to the south of Sydenham Hill Ridge. It survived there until 1936.
St Stephen's Church and Sydenham Hill Station, were built in the mid-19th Century to service the new, large homes being built at that time on the Ridge. Some ten of these Victorian houses survive today, many divided into apartments. There is one pub, The Woodhouse, built at the southern corner of Crescent Wood Road which received its licence in 1860.
Unusually for a Neighbourhood Area, there is no high street, no school, no office buildings, and only one shop, on The Hillcrest Estate.
4 History of the Ridge and surroundings
5 Local Government Association Reports on the Ridge and surroundings
6 Photographs of the Neighbourhood Area
Licenced in 1860, note the electric vehicle charging points added in 2020