Who We Are

Westcombe Woodlands view from Tom Smith Close
photo by Sue Jenkins

The Friends of Westcombe Woodlands are not seeking to change the unique wild nature of the woodlands. We do not plan regular public access, as given the steep nature of the land this is potentially unsafe. For one or two days a year we want to invite the public in, under supervision, to see what is happening and to experience the diversity of the woods. There are also regular volunteer days in which we seek to clear, improve and plant different areas.

We are working on a Management Plan, building on that provided by Trees for Cities in 2011, which will be available to all members and on which we will welcome views.

The trustees who sit on the Executive Committee, all drawn from the local community, are:

Tim Barnes

Tim is a retired KC who has lived for 35 years in Greenwich, and has recently retired from the Bar where he specialised in fraud, terrorism and homicide cases. He was a long time Chairman of the Greenwich Society and remains an Executive Committee member. He chairs the University Law Forum and the Woolwich Garrison Church Trust.Together with Frank Smith he was responsible for setting up the Friends of the Woodlands.

Don Albrecht

Don is a landscape architect, partner in Landscape Consultancy practice, Ireland-Albrecht, with offices close to the woodlands in Greenwich. Don has been part of woodlands friends committee since its establishment in 2011, playing an important role in establishing the management and volunteer tasks since that time.

Chris Bates

Chris moved from rural Cheshire to Blackheath in 2000, living for several years in the development, Seren Park Gardens, which immediately borders Westcombe Woodlands.  Although now living in the London Bridge area, he continues to be an active member of the Woodland Committee.  He has a degree in Environmental Science and Chemistry with an additional HNC (Higher National Certificate) awarded from The Scottish Wildlife Trust in Habitat Surveying for Nature Conservation. In addition to the above Chris has been members of the environmental charities “Plantlife” and “Trees for Life” for over 25 years. Currently he works for a Health and Safety consultancy in central London.

Nigel Duncan

Nigel Duncan is professor of legal education at City Law School, where he trains barristers. He lives in Vanbrugh Hill, having moved to this area a few years ago. As well as volunteering in Westcombe Woodlands he is a Friend of East Greenwich Pleasaunce and has, with others, planted the community orchard there. He is a member of the Westcombe Society and a Friend of Greenwich Park and has a long-standing interest in maintaining and improving the environment.

Jerry Avis

Jerry came to Maze Hill in 2016 . With the move to Seren Park Gardens he overlooks the Woodlands and was keen to do something practical to help maintain the infrastructure that allows access to visitors and volunteers. With some experience of charity and membership management he also hopes to support the financial sustainability of such a worthwhile endeavour.

Rich Sylvester

Rich lives in East Greenwich and along with work at the woodlands he volunteers with projects such as the Wassail in the Pleasaunce (see Facebook: PipWassail), and with Forest for Our Children a community wood in Lawshall village, Suffolk.
As a “Guide to Green Spaces and Old Places” he delivers storytelling and story-walks for community and public events and works with schools at the National Maritime Museum.

Miles Storey

Miles retired from a career in Banking a few years ago and whilst not especially green-fingered, has an interest in supporting local societies looking looking after the finances to allow fellow members to focus on the aims of the society. He has been a member of the Friends for many years and has lived locally since 1987, currently in Westcombe Park Road.

Lieve Reckers

Lieve Reckers was born in Belgium but moved to London straight after her university studies. Greenwich became her new home in the 1980s, and in 1992 she moved into the Maze Hill cul-de-sac.
After working in the City for 30 years, mainly for the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development, she took early retirement in 2010 and became a Westcombe Woodlands volunteer in 2011. Her interests include writing, photography and travel, often for long stretches and in rather basic conditions. She is also a very keen hiker and cyclist and takes a great interest in environmental matters.

Andrew Slade

Andrew moved to Maze Hill in 1978 and has always worked as a surveyor in various forms in UK and abroad.  He is a member of the Greenwich Society and as a Friend of Westcombe Woodlands keen to attract a wide variety of wild life into the woodlands by developing the appropriate conditions.   Using his experience in education Andrew hopes to encourage Young Naturalists to explore and enjoy this unique environment.

Henry Medlam

Henry Medlam was officially elected to being a Trustee of Westcombe Woodlands in November 2022. More details soon.

Fiona Machen

Fiona Machen was officially elected to being a Trustee of Westcombe Woodlands in November 2022. More details soon.