Joyden’s Wood, Bexley (and Dartford, Kent)
A 325-acre swathe of ancient woodland – and an adjacent residential locality – situated east of North Cray
The western part of Joyden’s Wood falls within the London Borough of Bexley (with access from Vicarage Road, Old Bexley). The rest, including almost all the residential locality called Joydens Wood (usually spelt without an apostrophe in this context), is in Kent.
The name derives from the family of William Jordayne, a 16th-century resident of Dartford. The wood has also been known as Jordans in the past.
The Forestry Commission acquired Joyden’s Wood in 1956 and later placed it under the management of the Woodland Trust, which opened it to the public in 1988. There are over eight miles of public and permissive paths and three miles of bridleways.
The trust has been felling conifer trees planted during the 1950s and replacing them with native deciduous species like oak, beech, silver birch and sweet chestnut. With more sunlight reaching the ground, bluebells, lily-of-the-valley, honeysuckle and wood sage are flourishing. A patch of open heathland in the centre of the wood is a popular picnic spot.
Visible in the photograph above,* a mile-long Saxon earthwork known as Faesten Dic (Strong Dyke) runs north–south through the wood. Other ancient features include the remains of two Iron Age roundhouses.
South-west of Joyden’s Wood, Bexley’s Chalk Wood has 69 acres of ancient woodland, traversed by a bridle path.
Two Hawker Hurricane fighter planes were shot down over Joyden’s Wood in 1940. Metal fragments from one of the planes are still in the woods. Both pilots successfully bailed out before their planes crashed close by. The tail and fuselage of a Hawker Hurricane have been installed in the wood to commemorate these events.
Postcode areas: Bexley DA5 and Dartford DA2
See also: Coldblow