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Morley Site
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Saving Atkinson Morley's Hospital Green Space
and Working for a Greener London

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Ancient landscape




Guided walk




The site forms part of an important network of strategic open spaces within and without the Borough, known as a “green chain”. Its symbiotic relationship with other open spaces creates a corridor of sustainable wildlife territories. 

Click on map showing open spaces in Merton. Nearby out-of-Borough open land includes Putney and Wimbledon Commons and Richmond Park.

According to the Public Inquiry Inspector’s report released August 2002, the Atkinson Morley’s Hospital site “happens to be one of the largest and also one of the most environmentally sensitive development sites identified in the [Merton] Unitary Development Plan".


Map of the Atkinson Morley site with Nature Notes.


Ancient woodlands and historical landscapes

Prior to the building of Prospect Place in 1757, the whole area was wild and undeveloped. Construction of the house was followed by extensive landscaping by Humphrey Repton. There remain a few of the older trees, such as the London Planes in the avenue from Cottenham Park to Copse Hill (these are said to be about 200 years old) and there are now dense areas of woodland and brambles where saplings from the mature trees have self-seeded. This has provided a rich environment for wildlife in an area that has been largely undisturbed for a number of years (in some places there has been serious neglect from which the wildlife has benefited).


A study undertaken by a member of the Residents’ Association of West Wimbledon has catalogued the following birds as being observed in the fields and woodland:Photo of Goldfinch and teazel plant

Blackcap, Blackbird, Bullfinch, Chaffinch, Chiffchaff, Carrion Crow, Cuckoo, Collared Dove, Dunnock, Fieldfare, Goldcrest, Goldfinch, Greenfinch, Gull – Common, and Black-headed, House Martin, Kestrel, Jackdaw, Jay – Common, Magpie, Mallard,  Pigeon – (Feral and Wood), Redwing, Rose-ringed Parakeet, Robin, Sparrow – house, Sparrowhawk, Starling, Swift, Tawny owl,Thrush (Mistle & Song), Tit (Blue, Coal, Great, Long-tailed), Wagtail –(Pied, Yellow), Whitethroat, Willow Warbler, Woodpecker (Greater Spotted, Green), Wren.

The image bank in the web-site Library has more bird images

Click here for further information from the Royal Society for the Protection of Birds


A nature conservation study of the site has been undertaken by consultants acting for the London Wildlife Trust.

The woodlands to the west of the path and in other parts of the site house badger “outlier setts” where young start to live separately from the family group once they mature.Colour photo of a badgerPhoto of badger hole amongst brambles

The badgers and other wildlife need the grassland and bramble areas to source their food. Click here for a link to the National Federation of Badger Groups.

Site of Importance for Nature Conservation (SINC)

The whole area to the east of the footpath is designated as a Site of Importance for Nature Conservation (Grade I).  The reasons for this are

1) The significant badger setts which are located in the woodland banks 

2) One of the best breeding grounds for stag beetles in  Photo of male stag beetle England         

3) The rare grasses and plants which inhabit the lawn area behind the hospital buildings.

For a guided walk of the site with Tony Drakeford click here

More photos of the plants, animals, butterflies, moths and insects so far identified  can be seen in the Library Image Bank of this web-site