Welcome to the Elephant and Castle Urban Forest. Yes it’s true, there really is one!
ALERT: Expected almost total closure Summer 2013.
Elephant and Castle Urban Forest is London’s secret woodland. At its heart are 450 majestic trees, mostly London Plane, which for decades have been thriving hidden behind the towering slabs of the Heygate Estate in a part of London best known for concrete, cars and a big pink (now blue) shopping centre. Glimpses of the woodland can be seen by outsiders along the bustling New Kent Road and on the northern corner of Walworth Road. But today most of this mature forest is a sheltered and verdant semi-wilderness thriving in between the remains of the almost empty social housing estate. A few people know the secret and are having fun in there. Some residents remain and the evicted return to enjoy the green space. In clearings guerrilla gardeners have established new allotments and in the old playgrounds people still congregate. This forest has entered an exciting new phase of its life. But plans for the comprehensive redevelopment of the Elephant and Castle have presented risks for this precious place as the building density will increase. We have campaigned for valuation and appreciation of the forest.
Come in and enjoy the forest today while it is still open. Help create and campaign more activities in the forest, join in with the Mobile Gardeners and help campaign for the value of trees with Forest Bank.
Click on the map to zoom in or download an A4 pdf of our illustrated map of the heart of the forest here. Map illustrated by Rebecca Davies. We define the forest as reaching far beyond the old Heygate estate and throughout the Elephant and Castle. You can see others maps of the forest, including the far reaches of the frontier on our Maps page.