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Frequently asked questions

How do I find my local woodland?

You can look up your local woodland using the Mayor's Wildweb website which gives details and locations of all the publically accessible woods in London.

Is my woodland safe?

In relative terms most woodlands in London are very safe, some even have woodland rangers who patrol during the hours of daylight. Unfortunately, woodlands have been identified by the media as being places that might be unsafe and there are cultural reasons why in the UK woodlands may be portrayed in this way.

In using your local woodland it is always sensible to make personal security a factor in that use similar to when you visit other major attractions, events and outdoor places . However, do not let this aspect of modern life overshadow your use of a fantastic resource that is freely available on your doorstep.

Am I allowed to ride a bicycle in my woodland?

Most woodlands permit the riding of bikes and some have designated cycle routes. Check with the woodland owner or any signage to see if there are any byelaws prohibting the use of bikes.

Do I need a permit to ride a horse in my woodland?

Many woodlands in London permit the riding of horses if bridal paths are provided. Check with the woodland owner or any signage to see if there are any byelaws giving information on the riding of horse in your local woodland.

Do I have to walk my dog on a lead?

The Forestry Commission's advice is that it is preferable to have a dog on a lead when exercising it within woodland, largely so that the dog does not harass wildlife. If not on a lead then the dog should certainly be under the owners control. Check with the woodland owner or any signage to see if there are any byelaws giving information on the keeping dogs on a lead in your local woodland.

The Forestry Commission also encourages all dog walkers to clear up after their dogs and to leave only footprints!

How can I get to my woodland by public transport?

You can look up your local woodland using the Mayor's Wildweb website which gives details and locations of all the publically accessible woods in London.

Does my local woodland have basic facilities, toilets etc.?

Some woodlands in London do have basic facilities like toilets and some also have cafes where refreshments can be bought. Check with the woodland owner what is provided

Are there any areas for a picnic in my woodland?

Most woodlands have areas for picnics or there are glades, clearings or small meadows where you could stop and have a relaxing picnic in pleasant surroundings. Remember to take all your rubbish home with you!

My neighbour keeps dumping rubbish in the woodland by our gardens what can I do about it?

This situation can be very awkward. If your woodland is owned by the local authority you should report it to them and they will have a process and powers for dealing with it. You will probably be able to contact the local authority anonomously. Otherwise report it to the woodland owner.

A burnt out car/motorcycle has been dumped in my woodland what can I do about it?

If your woodland is owned by the local authority report it to them and they will arrange to dispose of the vehicle. Otherwise report it to the woodland owner.

The trees from the local woodland are overhanging my garden what can I do about it?

If trees from an adjacent woodland are shading your garden you do not have any "rights to light" under these circumstances and so cannot require the woodland owner to act. If however the trees are overhanging your garden's airspace you do have a common law right to trim back those branches but to the boundary only. You should also offer the cut branches back to the owner before disposing of them yourselves.

It may be that the trees in the woodland are legally protected either by a tree preservation order or because they are within a conservation area. Under these circumstances your common law rights are superceded and you must contact the local planning authority before proceeding with any pruning.

If the woodland is owned by a local authority you may find that they are prepared to undertake this pruning themselves. It is always best to contact them before doing any work to find out what the position is and what they might give consent for.