|The 77 hectare Oxleas Wood to the north of Eltham, along with neighbouring Jack Wood and Castle Wood, is a surviving fragment of London's old countryside being a Site of Special Scientific Interest (SSSI) collectively known as Shooters Hill Woodlands. The name 'Oxleas' comes from the Saxon word for 'pasture for oxen' which gives a clue as to its former use. The area includes ancient woodland some of which is at least 8,000 years old, dating from the Ice Age. Trees from here were used in Woolwich and Deptford Dockyards for ship-building, and may have been used for ships which fought in the Battle of Trafalgar.
The woodlands today are dominated by tall oak, hazel and sweet chestnut trees. Ash and silver birch also common, with some wild service trees, hornbeam and hazel. The foliage provides a home for woodpeckers, chiffchaff, nuthatches, tree creepers and wood warblers, along with an established flock of feral rose-ringed parakeets. The woodlands floor is littered with dead and decaying wood providing excellent habitat for insects and other organisms like the magnificent bracket fungus and other fungi that thrives in the dark, damp deadwood.
Located in the woodlands is the Oxleas Wood Honeybee Apiary, totalling about 20 or so active hives depending on the month of the season. The woods and the nearby Woodlands Farm with its 90 acres of farm fields, including wild flower meadows, hedgerows and orchards, together with the general Shooters Hill locality 'green' environment, all make up a rich diversity of nectar and pollen for Oxleas's foraging bees.