Nature Trail

Explore this beautiful, wild woodland trail stretching the length of our Gardens, once a railway line to Crystal Palace.

The Horniman Nature Trail is the oldest in London. It is roughly half a mile long on the site of the original Crystal Palace and South London Junction Railway. The railway was closed in 1954 and the area was left unmanaged until 1972. This resulted in it becoming a wild woodland area.

Today, the Trail is managed carefully to encourage a wide variety of plants, birds, insects and other animals that depend on each other for survival.

Pond and meadow habitats have been introduced to attract new species. A log pile area is home to dozens of different mini beasts, including the endangered stag beetle.

Looking after the Trail

The Nature Trail is a sensitive area and much time goes into managing it for your enjoyment. Please help us to look after the area by not taking dogs onto the trail. Please take all of your litter home with you.

Guide dogs are allowed.

Please do not pick any leaves or flowers on the Nature Trail. They are an important part of the habitat, and some can be sharp or sting.


Finding the Nature Trail

The main entrance to the Nature Trail is located on the cycle path that runs parallel to the Horniman Museum and Gardens (at the bottom of Meadow Field) and can be accessed from London Road.

It is open from

  • 9am – 3pm (until 4 Feburary 2024)
  • 9am – 4pm (5 February – 26 October)
  • 9am – 3pm (27 October – 2 February 2025)

but may be closed at short notice during bad weather. Please check with the Information Desk at the start of your visit or call 020 8699 1872.


Stepped access from the cycle path on London Road.

The ground on the Nature Trail is uneven and can be muddy in rainy weather, so is not suitable for pushchairs or wheelchairs.