Lesnes Abbey Wood is approximately 88 hectares (217 acres) in size. The wood is made up of a large complex of ancient and secondary woodland, with adjacent areas
of heathland and acid grassland. Sweet chestnut (Castanea sativa) and
sessile oak (Quercus oak) dominate older woodland, the extent of the
latter being particularly unusual in London. Birch (Betula spp.) and oak
woodland on former heathland provides further structural variation.
woodland supports a rich flora, including London rarities spurge laurel
(Daphne laureola), southern woodrush (Luzula forsteri), thin-spiked
wood-sedge (Carex strigosa) and wild daffodil (Narcissus
pseudonarcissus), the latter at perhaps its only native site in the
capital. In early spring the wood has a amazing display of native wild daffodils.
There are small but significant areas of heath and acid grassland contain
heather (Calluna vulgaris), with lesser chickweed (Stellaria pallida),
little mouse-ear (Cerastium semidecandrum), subterranean clover
(Trifolium subterraneum) and the nationally scarce lesser calamint
The walls of the ruined abbey support further
regionally uncommon plants, including rue-leaved saxifrage (Saxifraga
tridactylites). The avifauna includes all three British woodpeckers,
nuthatch and treecreeper. Reptiles include slow-worm and common lizard.
The site also appears important for bats, including rare species. 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 includes the Abbey Wood Geological Site of Special Scientific Interest. Dr Paddy Cocker was of the opinion the site was also of SSSI quality for its plants and animals.