Lesnes Abbey is a unquie urban oasis in the North West Corner of the London Borough of Bexley, overlooking the river Thames and the iconic 'new town' of Thamesmead.
The Lesnes Site has the ruins of a 12th century abbey, extensive ancient woodlands and an area for recreation, including a playground, a youth area including a parkour zone, and a multiuse sports area. The Park is 88 hectares in size, with 69 hectares of woods.
The Abbey was founded by Richard De Luci in 1178. It is rumored that it was founded as penance for the murder of Thomas A Beckett, in which De Luci played a leading role. The Abbey was dissolved in 1525 by Cardinal Thomas Wolsey as part of the desolation of the Monasteries.
You can find out more about the abbey by visiting The Greenwich Heritage Centre, Artillery Square, Royal Arsenal, Woolwich SE18 4DX, where there are many interesting archaeological finds on display from the excavation of the Abbey.
Lesnes Abbey Woods
The Woods are home to a diverse range of wildlife habitats. The site has over 900 species of invertebrate, more than 40 birds including redwing and fieldfare, over 70 recorded species of fungi, nearly 300 species of plant and 12 species of mammal. The site also has three ponds, with species of amphibians, including frogs, toads and newts. There is also a very rare and valuable area of heathland, with species of reptile including Slow Worms and the Common Lizard.
The recent enhancement works have built on this magnificent heritage with enhanced pathways, the new Lesnes Lodge, which is a Education and community center, and a variety of new features that are sure to surprise and delight.
Rules for the Fossil Pit
The Fossil Pit is open during daylight hours. Please do not use it after dark for safety reasons.
It is free to use for individuals or families, but organised group visits must book beforehand.
Please follow these rules when using the pit:
- Please do not dig deeper than 2ft or 60cm.
- Please fill any excavations before you leave.
- Please do not remove more than 2kg of material.
- If you find anything other than shell fragments or small sharks teeth, please make Bexley council aware of your find, it may be of scientific importance.
Directions for finding the Fossil Pit:
- Enter the park from the main gate on Abbey Road, by the footbridge
- Walk up the main path up the hill.
- The path leads into the woods, just before this there are some monkey bars on the left of the path.
- Keep following the path straight up the hill, the Fossil pit is on your right.
See you there soon.
This website hosts a range of information regarding the park and in particular, progress on its Enhancement Project.
Please return regularly for updates about the park, activities and possible delivery of Enhance Project proposals
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Due to evidence of metal detecting on site, Bexley Council is compelled to remind visitors that the Lesnes Abbey ruins are a scheduled ancient monument, under the Ancient Monuments and Archaeological Areas Act 1979 and the use of these devices is expressly forbidden under this act. Any person found to be using these devises on site will be guilty of a criminal offence and will be subject to a possible fine or even imprisonment.
Please click on below link for legal details.