Tree management in Beckenham Place Park

Tree management in Beckenham Place Park

The regeneration of Beckenham Place Park involves tree management works and habitat improvements.

The tree works happened between November 2017 and March 2018.

This is an important part of park maintenance as well as a means of investing in the future of the park. The works will also help to make the new vision for Beckenham Place Park a reality – creating a well-used and much-loved open space for the whole community.

What happens to the cut timber

Much of the cut timber will be used in the park:

  • as play bark in the playground
  • as play elements in the playground and wider landscape
  • to define and protect areas of woodland and parkland
  • for forest schools and learning in the park.

Most of this wood will be processed and stored off site and brought back for future use.

The tree works

We need to ensure the park remains safe for everyone. Around 80 trees will be taken down because they were dead or diseased.

Some areas of scrub and undergrowth within the parkland were removed to improve sightlines and views across the parkland and to the key heritage buildings. This enhances the feeling of space and openness which is so valued by many park users.

Other trees were removed within clumps to allow the most mature specimens to flourish. This thinning is an important part of normal tree maintenance.

Some of the planting that is associated with the golf course was removed, just as the bunkers and tees will also be removed. These trees were planted in the 1990s, were relatively young and offer little habitat value. 

Memorial trees

All trees planted in memory of a loved one will be kept within the park.



Five acres of new woodland (12,000 new trees) have been planted. Within 20 years this woodland will grow to 30 feet and will be providing habitat for many native birds, insects and mammals. With the support of the Mayor of London we will plant at least 2,500 more trees over winter 2018–19.

England's woods are home to more wildlife than any other landscape. The regeneration of Beckenham Place Park expands the area of woodland, creating a more natural woodland edge, where woodland had previously been removed for golf fairways.

This woodland edge is particularly valuable habitat – providing an important transition zone between the forest and the grassland where many species forage or lay eggs. The previous abrupt change from woodland to grassland was a missed opportunity ecologically, and the new plans seek to maximise the value of this zone as well as the woodland itself.

Almost one acre of woodland was removed to create the new lake. This is young woodland, made up mostly of ash and willow which has grown up since the lake fully dried up around 50 years ago. All the ancient woodland, which is particularly valuable ecologically, will be retained.

The new lake – standing water habitats

Small standing waters (ponds and small lakes) are a particularly important habitat. They are identified as a priority habitat in the London Biodiversity Action Plan.
We're delighted to be restoring the 18th century lake for heritage and ecological reasons. The lake was created by John Cator who owned and lived in the Mansion House in the late 1700s.
We also know that people are drawn to water and the lake will become a key new focal point for the transformed park. The lake will have a natural planted edge, as well as a beach area allowing access to the water. Wild swimming will be allowed.

Wet woodland

The wet woodland being created in Beckenham Place Park is part of the larger woodland, much of which is ancient.
Wet woodland is an extremely rich invertebrate habitat, supporting a large number of species, many of which are now rare in Britain. There have been considerable losses of wet woodland habitats in Britain in the last century, mainly due to clearance, conversion to other land uses or the lowering of water tables through drainage or abstraction.
This opportunity to create wet woodland with the park as a transition between the woodland and the lake is special and almost unique in London.

Other planned habitat improvements

New areas of meadow will be created as part of the new parkland.

Management plans are being drawn up to ensure that the existing acid grassland and woodland are managed and maintained as effectively as possible in the future.