The archived pdf Newsletters (1 to 81) were edited by Dr Martin Heath as  superviser of  the Belair Project, and include attributed  contributions by others.  Some  have been reconfigured here as blog posts for ease of browsing and viewing. (An archive of the original PDFs is available here.) More recent newsletters are posted below.

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Robbie Gibson

The disappearance of Robbie Gibson has caused great concern and there are serious fears for his safety.

Many will know him as an indefatigable and very eloquent campaigner for the Crystal Palace area and for Lambeth libraries, he was one of the stalwarts who occupied Carnegie Library in protest over Lambeth’s plans hatched out with Greenwich Leisure Ltd to convert the library into a gym, with an unsupervised book area.

Anyone with information on his whereabouts is asked to call police in Lambeth on 101 or the charity Missing People on 116000.

Go to This Local London for more on this story.

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Louis Masai live painting for Dulwich Festival


The London Wildlife Trust are very pleased to announce that artist Louis Masai will be painting an image of brown long-eared bats onto the Crescent Wood Tunnel in Sydenham Hill Wood on Friday 13th, Saturday 14th and Sunday 15th May as part of the Dulwich Festival. Louis will be working on the painting between 10:00 and 18:00 on each day

Please join us to watch Louis at work and to learn more from our staff and volunteers about London Wildlife Trust’s bat work at Sydenham Hill Wood

We were delighted to find a brown long-eared bat for the first time in 5 years during a survey this week (pictured above). It is the first record of this amazing animal since one was found hibernating in the old train tunnel in 2011. The tunnel is a registered bat roost which is protected by law. Louis’s painting aims to celebrate the brown long-eared bat and raise awareness about London’s bats

Thank you to the Dulwich Festival for their enthusiasm in organising the event with us and special thanks to Dulwich Going Greener for providing crucial funding for this event and for Southwark Council’s cooperation


PDF  SHW events spring-summer 2016

Loads more London Wildlife Trust events coming up!

Evening bird walk, Sydenham Hill Wood, Thursday 19th May 2016, 19:00

Tree walk for London Tree Week, Crystal Palace Park, Thursday 2nd June 2016, 19:00

Tree walk for London Tree Week, One Tree Hill, Saturday 4th June 2016, 14:00

Bat walk, Sydenham Wells Park, Friday 10th June 2016, 20:30


Pond dipping family event, Sydenham Hill Wood, Sunday 12th June 2016, 14:00

Booking essential, contact Diana Wallace:


The history of Sydenham Hill Wood, Dulwich Library, Tuesday 14th June 2016, 14:00

Evening tree walk, Sydenham Hill Wood, Wednesday 15th June 2016, 19:00

Bat walk, Nunhead Cemetery, Friday 24th June 2016, gates open at 21:00 for 21:30 start

Wildflower walk, Sydenham Hill Wood, Sunday 26th June 2016, 14:00

Booking essential, contact


Bat, moth and owl prowl, Sydenham Hill Wood, Friday 8th July 2016, 21:00

Bug day! Sydenham Hill Wood, Thursday 21st July 2016, 11:00-15:00

Butterfly walk, Sydenham Hill Wood, Sunday 24th July 2016, 14:00

Booking essential, contact

Great North Wood walk, One Tree Hill to Crystal Palace, Saturday 20th August 2016, 12:00


Best wishes,

Daniel Greenwood

Conservation Project Officer, Sydenham Hill Wood

London Wildlife Trust – Protecting London’s wildlife for the future / Facebook / Twitter

Direct line: 020 7252 9186 / Mobile: 07734 599 728


All our lives are better when they’re a bit wild. Share why wildlife and wild places matter to us all at



The London Wildlife Trust is part of a network of 47 local Wildlife Trusts across the UK, working under the umbrella of The Wildlife Trust Partnership, the UK’s leading conservation charity dedicated to wildlife protection.


Registered Office: Dean Bradley House, 52 Horseferry Road, London, SW1P 2AF. A company limited by guarantee registered in England and Wales, Number 1600379. Registered as a charity in England and Wales, Number 283895


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Great North Wood – Launching an exciting new project

Photo shows Sam Bentley-Toon Great North Wood Project Development Officer - Centre for Wildlife Gardening London Wildlife Trust making his presentation to meeting

Sam Bentley-Toon Great North Wood Project Development Officer – Centre for Wildlife Gardening London Wildlife Trust making his presentation to meeting

On May 7, 2016, the London Wildlife Trust invited representatives from friends of open spaces groups to meet at The Sparrowhawk Public House at Crystal Palace to hear an outline of a scheme to enhance  the ecology of a number of key sites which were once part of the Great North Wood. The idea was received with enthusiasm and participants were keen to explore ways in which they could co-operate to turn it into reality. This was just the beginning of the process, which has the makings of another great community project, like the LWT’s Lost Effra programme.

These are some documents as PDFs:

GNW Consultation poster – friends

GNW-project summary

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Labour’s shame as it tries to close libraries in questionable deal with gyms company.

occupation Carnegie libraryLambeth refuses to consider alternative financially viable plan by libraries’ chief.

Carnegie Library occupied!


Big march on Saturday April 9. Gather outside Carnegie Library, 118 Herne Hill Rd., SE24 at 11:30AM. The march will go to Brixton via the threatened Minet Library. 

The Friends are a non-political body. We criticised the Conservatives in no uncertain terms over their odd deal to put a giant commercial building on Crystal Palace Park and now it’s Labour’s turn to feel our wrath.

Lambeth Council has revealed its financial incompetence and true Machiavellian colours with its plans to close several libraries and convert library space to gyms run by  Greenwich Leisure Ltd.  GLL has revealed no business plan and has not had to submit itself to competitive tender. In order to push the plans through at Carnegie Library (Herne Hill Road, SE24 Lambeth set up a community trust that the community can’t actually join and which has been packed with former Labour cllrs.  Our local Labour MPS have damaged their reputations by refusing to back the campaign to safeguard all of Lambeth’s Libraries. Labour’s Mayoral candidate Sadiq Khan has not had the courage to risk his stage-managed campaign by confronting an issue which would have brought to light Lambeth’s scandal.

We asked documentary maker Charlotte Knowles if she would produce a video highlighting the anger and defiance of local people:

Carnegie Library  – Barbarians at the gates.

Statement from Dr. Martin Heath A.K.C..

They just haven’t got it. Maybe, they can’t get it. They insist on being the proverbial swine before whom one is warned not to cast ones pearls.

Like many people engaged in actions which are clearly wrong and destructive by most people’s standards, Lambeth councillors protect their consciences by weaving around themselves a coccoon of their own spin, a kind of virtual reality helmet, which shuts out the world and what it is saying.

On our side of the fence, I see good, gentle and sensitive people with a profound sense of civic responsibility, some of whom are being driven to illness with the worry of this ludicrous situation.

From their side of the fence, a Lambeth councillor, bored with the debate and wanting to mock despairing members of the public, sends out an image of a yawning cat, followed by an image of a cat on gym equipment.

Councillors have denounced those trying to defend their libraries as “toxic” and “troublemakers.” As one of those who helped plan the occupation and who stayed for its early stages, I’ll tell you what I actually saw.

Right up to the final moment when the Library was officially shut, I saw a group of young women clustered around a table, revising hard for their A levels. Presumably, if they had somewhere else to go that was better and more convenient, they would have been there. I noticed pages of biochemistry. A decade from now, these women may well be doctors treating the community, perhaps at the hospital a short walk down the road, or researchers engaged in the fight to defeat crippling or killer diseases.

I saw toddlers playing and being read to in the safe space of the children’s library, where they come into contact with books and could begin a life-long journey of discovery. Overnight, I spoke with a researcher in neurosciences, about stem cells and about Parkinson’s Disease. She had found public libraries indispensable during her education. I spoke also to a youthful geophysicist, with a particular interest in the Earth’s core and our planet’s magnetic field. A young woman was pursuing a masters in evolutionary biology. Another told me of her concerns about defining “Fine Art.” 

“Toxic?” “Troublemakers?” All of them involved in  conspiracy to mislead the public?

How many movers and shakers and technologists and ecologists first set down their roots in the public library – a place as essential to education and to keeping our civilization running as schools and universities?

 I met with those who have traveled widely and who were keen to extend peaceful relationships between very different cultures and we were addressed and inspired by a man, looking years younger than his age, who had survived the WWII siege of Stalingrad. I spoke also to many, many people who were not career academics, but a cross-section of locals, who were no less intelligent or well-read and who loved books dearly.

The Library has hosted an endless succession of community events, including – this is the one I would have enjoyed most as a child – talks about bats and other wildlife, where children have been encouraged to read books and then to attend a twilight bat watch in the nearby park, where the public gather around the pond with bat detectors.

The occupation reminded me of a film I once saw, in which academics were besieged in the great Library of Alexandria, defending it (unsuccessfully, as it turned out) against a mob of religious extremists.

The barbarians are at the gates. What do they want? They want to cram the books into a back room where a self-service, no-librarians regime will be unsuitable for children. They want to hand over space to a gym and so they tell us, opening hours will be extended. When we see this arrangement, we are told in all seriousness, we will be so impressed that will all flock to vote Labour. That at least is the view from inside the virtual reality helmet of Lambeth spin.

We have seen a community trust, with no membership from the general public , but apparently open to former Labour councillors, claim to talk for local people and being exposed for what it is at packed meetings of the Friends of Carnegie Library. We have seen a petulant refusal of Lambeth to get to grips with alternative, and financially feasible schemes, such as that put forward by a libraries chief.

I call for an investigation into the financial competence of Lambeth Council and into the peculiar intimacy of its relationship with Greenwich Leisure Ltd, would-be managers of the gym.

M. J. Heath c/o 020 8670 8924.

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Avaaz’ petition to stop destruction of Ancient Forest

In order to build a ski slope for the 2018 Olympic Games, a swathe of Ancient Korean woodland is under threat. Avvaaz has petitioned the Olympic Committee thusly:

To the International Olympic Committee and the South Korean government:

As concerned citizens from across the globe, we call on you to stop the destruction of forest on Mount Gariwang for the 2018 Pyeongchang Winter Olympics, and to protect what remains of this forest that has been a sanctuary for over 500 years. We urge the IOC to ensure that all Olympic Games truly live up to ideals of sustainability and environmental protection.

If you are interested in reading and possibly signing this petition, go here:

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Tom Bolton’s River Effra Walk

This event is coming up on Saturday 19th September. It should be an insightful event, exploring the area’s watery past and the influence that it still holds on local neighbourhoods and wildlife today. The walk will start from the Railton Road entrance to Herne Hill train station at 10am, setting off through Herne Hill and hopping on the bus for a brief stretch to end up on the Thames foreshore near Vauxhall Bridge at 12.30pm. Please bring an Oyster card or contactless payment card for the bus trip and wear shoes suitable for walking along pavements.

We are requesting a donation of £10 to cover the costs of the walk and you have the choice of either making a payment online in advance using Paypal or through a cash donation on the day. If you would like to pay in advance, please send a Paypal request for £10 to Tom Bolton at and feel free to get in touch with me or Tom if you have any queries (or need IT support!).

Finally, if you are no longer able to make it along, please let me know in advance so I can allocate the space to someone else and so that we know not to wait for you in the morning. I will have my mobile on me 07971 315 245 on the day.

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Community Autumn Fair Saturday September 19, 2015

This ever-popular annual event will take place at All Saints Church West Dulwich and outside in Lovelace Road SE21 8JY from 2.00 to 5.00 pm.

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Martin Knight’s Autumn River Effra Walk

When: Afternoon, Sunday October 11, 2015.

River Effra walks and talks are always very popular and a walk last year led by Effra expert Martin Knight was predictably over-subscribed. Here’s another chance to find out about our local “lost” river. First priority will be given to those who could not be accommodated on the previous walk, but all are welcome (space permitting).

We have received the following notice from Martin Knight: “We will be walking about 2 1/2 miles of Effra watershed from Upper Norwood to Hornimus, via Sydenham Hill. There will be no charge, but a small charity donation will be invited, as before. If anyone is interested they can contact me for further details.”

If you want to come please contact Martin by email (, or telephone (020 8693 8639).

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local blogger Candy Blackham visits Belair Park

Local blogger Candy Blackham set out in 2013: “I am going to explore London using shoe leather and my Freedom Pass and enjoy activities and events which are free of charge.”  She began with the tour as recommended by ‘Bradshaw’s Illustrated Hand Book to London and its Environs, 1862′ – which was used as a starting point for interesting and historically-informed day-trips around the capital.   You may be interested in reading her recent experiences of Belair Park on her blog: www.

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Southwark – please change your mind over Southwark Woods

This is the newsletter of May 25th, 2015 as a PDF:

Community Action May 25, 2015

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