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From farmland to an airport, the 52-hectare site of the Roundshaw Downs has now become an important area for nature conservation.
The rare chalk grasslands play habitat to a variety of birds, insects, and wildflower species.
From the 19th century, the downs were the site of London’s first international airport.
Due to the popularisation of air travel and planes becoming increasingly larger, the airport outgrew its location, and the Croydon Airport was closed at the end of 1959. After the closure of the airport, the chalk grass thrived.
In 1993 it officially became the Roundshaw Downs and declared as a nature reserve, now home to rare ground-nesting birds such as the skylark and meadow pipit.
Turn your eyes towards the sky, and you’ll likely see kestrels hovering over the grassland, waiting for voles to come out of their tunnels.
Mown paths enable easy access for runners dedicated to escaping the pavement, yet large swathes of unspoilt grassland surround you as you follow the two anticlockwise loops, including a short segment through woodland.
The start and finish of the parkrun is next to the access gate at the end of Imperial Way.
If you’d like to join the timed run, get there before 9am each Saturday and bring some cash for a social coffee at a local cafe afterward.
Roundshaw Downs is located 18 kilometres south of London’s CBD.
Hop online to register for parkrun and print your free barcode at https://www.parkrun.org.uk/register/ . Source: https://www.sncv.org.uk/wildlife-on-suttons-doorstep/sites/roundshaw-downs/