If you live in SE London you’ll have some awareness of the remnants of the Great North Wood – that swathe of oak forest that contributed much to Britains maritime history, providing oak timbers to build ships at the Royal Dockyard in Deptford. Ancient names litter our geography: Gypsy Hill, West Norwood, One Tree Hill, names from the past which still inhabit our present.
Some small pockets of the Great North Wood still exist and can be visited today – one of these is Sydenham Hill Woods, home to a multitude of animal and plantlife, including the Brown Long-eared Bat
As part of the recent Dulwich Festival, Artist Louis Masai painted a large mural of these distinctive bats, which inhabit the woods and roost in the abandoned Victorian railway tunnel.
The bat is one of several that are found in the woods and use the tunnel to roost. Adding to the body of work that make up the Dulwich Outdoor Gallery, this is a beautiful piece of contemporary art, that sits perfectly in the midst of such an ancient place.
©Chez l’abeille 2016