Shooters Hill is the highest point in South London at 132 metres (432 feet), and it offers some fantastic views. The road through the area, however, would have been the low point for any traveller, as it was here that highwaymen took advantage of the dark woods for their dark deeds.
The name 'Shooters Hill', first recorded in 1226, may have been coined as a result of such criminal associations.
It was, however, also a place of burial. A burial ground of possibly bronze age lies on the northern side of the summit.
In the 18th century the area began to be developed, with fine houses on both slopes of the hill. Severndroog Castle in Castle Wood was designed in 1784 as a memorial to the exploits of Sir William James.
Later much of the woodland on Shooters Hill was threatened by development, most of the grand houses had been demolished and the London County Council acquired areas that could be preserved for the public, including:
- Castle Wood in 1922
- Jack Wood in 1923
- Oxleas Wood in 1934.