|Belsize Wood Nature Reserve and Russell Nurseries||Camden|
In the 1860s this sloping woodland was part of land owned by the Midland Railway Company. In 1948 the company leased it for various uses including tennis courts, nursery gardens and an industrial estate. Later owned by LB Camden, redevelopment of part of the land was under discussion from 1971, but it was not until 1982 that an architectural competition led to a scheme that provided for recreational use and housing. Russell's Nursery Estate housing estate abuts the woodland, which is partly freely accessible and partly a Nature Reserve managed as ecological woodland, having restricted access.
The information shown above was correct at the time of the last update 01/08/2002
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The information below is taken from the relevant Local Authority's planning legislation, which was correct at the time of research but may have been amended in the interim. Please check with the Local Authority for latest planning information.
Belsize Wood, August 2002. Photo: S Williams
Click photo to enlarge.
Part of the Hampstead Ridge, this sloping woodland site is a haven for local wildlife and plant species, particularly large specimen oak trees. In the 1860s the land was part of that owned by the Midland Railway Company who had built a railway tunnel beneath; in 1948 the company leased the land out for various uses including tennis courts, nursery gardens and at one time an industrial estate. In the ownership of LB Camden, from 1971 redevelopment of part of the land was being discussed, but it was not until 1982 that a competition was announced by the Architects Journal, which led to a scheme which provided for recreational use and housing. Russell's Nursery Estate housing estate was built and abuts the woodland, which is partly freely accessible with paths running through it and partly a Nature Reserve managed as ecological woodland, having restricted access.
Adjacent to the woodland on Lawn Road is an interesting piece of 1930s building design, the Isokon Flats, part of a block of 36 'minimal' flats built in 1933-34 to the designs of Wells Coates for Jack and Molly Pritchard. The modernist block was designed for single professional people as cheap but more independent alternative to digs, fitted with space-saving furnishings and units, much of it in plywood and designed by Jack Pritchard. The ground floor of the block was converted into the Isobar in 1937 by Marcel Breuer and F R S Yorke and then in 1960s became four small flats.
Michael Waite, Daniel Keech, Meg Game, 'Nature Conservation in Camden', Ecology Handbook 24 (London Ecology Unit), 1993