West Norwood Cemetery was built as one of Victorian London’s “Magnificent Seven” garden cemeteries, but is now a wildlife haven covering about 16 hectares (40 acres) on a north-facing sloping site in south London. It includes a variety of habitats that attract wildlife. It is owned by the London Borough of Lambeth.

Address: West Norwood Cemetery, Norwood Road, London SE27 9JU (Map:; OS grid reference TQ323720)

History Edit

West Norwood Cemetery was opened by the South Metropolitan Cemetery Company in 1837. It was built on fields purchased the previous year near the hamlet of Norwood. By the middle of the 20th century, the cemetery had become neglected and overgrown, and in 1966 it was bought by the London Borough of Lambeth, which maintained the cremation service and turned the grounds into a memorial park, removing many of the memorials.

The Council have received about £240:000 in 2017, from the Lottery Fund to renovate the cemetery and make it more attractive for visitors.

Habitat Edit

Habitats within the cemetery include flower beds, planted shrubbery, scattered trees, scrub, secondary woodland, semi-improved neutral grassland and vegetated walls and tombstones. The site is mostly managed as grassland, with a wide range of plants. The highest part of the cemetery includes a fine area of trees — both ancient Pedunculate Oaks (possibly remnants of the Great North Wood, from which Norwood gets its name) and a mixture of exotic species including Chile Pine and Cedar of Lebanon. Shrubs include Bramble, Ivy, Rose and Hawthorn. An area of the cemetery near the eastern edge is damp and is managed for nature conservation. Some stretches of the walls enclosing the cemetery support spectacular growths of ivy.

The Cemetery is on a hill and provides a pleasant walk with views over city and up to Sydenham Hill/Dulwich Woods.

Species Edit

Birds According to London WildWeb, the trees and shrubs support a wide range of birds, including Willow Warbler, Kestrel and Tawny Owl. Can anyone add any more useful information?

I have visited several times (first time I've ever been here) in autumn 2017 usual woodland birds, active and visible Jays, Green and Great-spotted Woodpeckers, Nuthatch, Coal Tit, Goldcrest, Jackdaws over, Sparrowhawks seen on 2 occasions, 1 Woodcock seen 17th November in overgrown bramble areas, also 1 Fieldfare, 15 Redwing 30/11/17 No sign of any Kestrels or Tawny Owls but an old rotten owl nest box from 90's or sometime in one of the oaks. There are many Feral Pigeons nesting inside many of the large tombs that have ornate holes. The Cemetery has received about £240,000 renovation award from National Lottery and want to increase visitor facilities which could turn a relatively quiet and attractive cemetery into a tourist attraction for grave spotters! There are many areas overgrown which are being cleared now I hope they don't clear them all. Seems to have a lot of potential for possible rare spring migrants as no dogs and not too many people at the moment! Michael N Mac 23rd Nov 17.

Other vertebrates

No doubt there are plenty of foxes and grey squirrels on the site. Can anyone add further information? There are a lot of grey squirrels also seem to be a lot of cats come in to the place.


Anyone know anything about the site's creep-crawlies?

Practicalities Edit


The cemetery is a short walk from West Norwood station, which is served by Southern Railway, with connections to London Victoria, London Bridge, West Croydon and Crystal Palace. The cemetery can also be reached by bus route 2 or 196 from Brixton, which is served by London Underground (Victoria line) and South Eastern railways (London Victoria to Orpington line). Other bus routes passing the cemetery are 68, 315, 322, 432 and 468.

Access The cemetery has free public access. The gates open daily at 8am (10am on Christmas Day) and close at 6pm from April to October and 4pm from November to March (2.30pm on Christmas Day).


Pubs and shops can be found on the west side of the cemetery in Norwood Road, Norwood High Street and Knights Hill.

This information has been cobbled together from various internet sources by someone who has never visited the site but thinks that it deserves a page on the London Bird Club Wiki. If you are familiar with the site, please correct, expand and/or update this information. Please!