Alex Nieora
Alex Nieora

Perivale Wood

Perivale Wood Nature Reserve is a 27 acre (11 hectare) area of ancient oak woodland in Perivale owned and maintained by the Selborne Society. It is located adjacent to the residential estate I manage.


You can follow Perivale Wood on their Facebook page


Listen here to the Perivale Wood dawn chorus birdsong I recorded at 4am on midsummer's day.

ABOVE: Entrance gate to Perivale Wood from Sunley Gardens


LEFT: Horse grazing on Perivale Wood meadow



Perivale Wood Nature Reserve has recently completed a new ecologically friendly straw bale education and visitor centre with a classroom and laboratory to make the Reserve more accessible to schools and community groups. You can read more about the new education and visitor centre here:




The Selborne Society was founded in 1885 to commemorate the 18th Century naturalist Gilbert White of Selborne in Hampshire. It was originally a national organisation, founded to promote the study of natural history, habitats, ecosystems.


Gilbert White is regarded by many as England's first ecologist, and one of those who shaped the modern attitude of respect for nature. He said of the earthworm:


'Earthworms, though in appearance a small and despicable link in the chain of nature, yet, if lost, would make a lamentable chasm. [...] worms seem to be the great promoters of vegetation, which would proceed but lamely without them...'


White and William Markwick collected records of the dates of emergence of more than 400 plant and animal species, White recording in Hampshire and Markwick in Sussex between 1768 and 1793. These data, summarised in The Natural History and Antiquities of Selborne as the earliest and latest dates for each event over the 25-year period, are among the earliest examples of modern phenology. His 1783–84 diary corroborates the dramatic climatic impacts of the volcanic 'Laki haze' that spread from Iceland with lethal consequences across Europe.


Gilbert White's biogrpaher Richard Mabey notes the striking the way in which Gilbert White often arranges his sentence structure to echo the physical style of a bird's flight. So:


'The white throat uses odd jerks and gesticulations over the tops of hedges and bushes'; and 'Woodpeckers fly volatu undosu [in an undulating flight], opening and closing their wings at every stroke, and so are always rising and falling in curves.'


Today's Selborne Society Ltd was originally the Brent Valley branch of the national Society, and continues the work of its founders, observing and recording wildlife in suburban west London and managing and conserving Perivale Wood Local Nature Reserve as the Gilbert White Memorial. 


The name Selborne lives on in Perivale in the nearby residential road Selborne Gardens built in the 1930s and Selborne Primary School, while Gilbert White can be found in the cul-de-sac Gilbert White Close on the adjacent Woodlands residential development.




RIGHT: Oak Bush-Cricket at Perivale Wood - Image by Amin Art








BELOW: Comma Butterfly at Perivale Wood - Image by Amin Art

Bluebell lagoons awash in bloom,
When once ribbon danced Maypoles, 
Were raised up in glade and coomb,
And Penguin paperback stacks

For sale, honey and 50p tea,
Drew many to the Open Day, 
To explore Gilbert White’s lea,
And nearby grazing horses lay

Summer soon seized,

the sun soaked sky, 
Fenestrations of light,

filtered through,
To the flourishing,

fern furnished floor,

Aloft Painted Lady and Small Copper, 
Small Tortoiseshell papillionidae,
Red Admiral and Essex Skipper,
The native butterflies fluttered by


Squirrels scavenged afoot,
Awhile, as gath’ring autumn befalls 
Leaves rustling, twigs snapping underfoot
Owl hoots and pied wagtail calls 


Nigh is winter, no time to brood

Battle down the hatches!
Drones’s wings chewed, 
They’re left to die


Arboretum in Suburbia Reginae

by A Nieora

LEFT: Me in Perivale Wood in winter 2012-13

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Thank you to everyone in Perivale who voted for me on 22nd May 2014. I received 1,165 votes as an independent candidate but was not successfully elected.

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