What we do

The Selborne Society of the 21st Century continues the work begun at the end of the 19th Century, maintaining Perivale Wood Local Nature Reserve as a place where nature can thrive even in the middle of the modern urban landscape. Members of the Society maintain close links with the village of Selborne and the legacy of Gilbert White and we are fortunate to hold a collection of books and papers which includes the manuscript of his Garden Kalendar.

The Reserve is formally titled “The Gilbert White Memorial and the Society works hard both to use it as a resource to continue his work in developing the study of natural history and also to maintain the land for future generations . We are always looking to share this wonderful resource as a tool for the exploration of natural history in all its aspects, for all ages.

Field Meetings and Evening Talks

We run a program for adults with field meetings and evening talks. The field meeting gives members a chance to visit the Reserve in the company of an expert guide for an practical introduction to a range of topics include pond dipping (which feeds valuable data into our records of bug life in the Reserve), the flora and fungi of the wood and even archaeology. The meetings usually take place in the Reserve at 2pm on the first Saturday of the month. Our evening talks also take place at the Reserve in our education building, the Bluebell Centre and are held in the evening on the first Tuesday of each month (winter only). Topics are varied but focus on different aspects of nature and natural history, with tea and coffee and a chance to chat during the evening.

Junior Members, Schools and Education Groups

For younger members we hold a Rangers session on the second Saturday of each month for all ages up to 16 (all children must be accompanied by a parent or carer). The sessions are run by trained volunteers and we cover a wide range of topics with a natural history theme. Rangers have the chance to go exploring in the woods and to take part in an activity in our education room at the Bluebell Centre.

For local schools and education groups we run a thriving education program which offers the opportunity for teaching staff to bring groups into the Reserve for a session with either an environmental education or a forest school based theme. For more information visit our education website at www.perivalewood.org.uk

Open Day

In April each year we hold our Open Day when the public have the chance to visit the Reserve and find out more about its natural history and the Society’s management plans. Teas, coffees and cakes will be on sale and we hope that our bluebells will be at their best for Open Day!

Conservation Days

Day to day management of the Reserve is an important part of our work and we need plenty of help! Conservation days take place at Perivale Wood on the second Sunday and the last Tuesday or each month. Come along if you’d like to help maintain and improve the natural features of the woodland, ponds and pastures. Tasks include coppicing, hedge laying and scrub clearing: you’ll be made welcome by our habitat management volunteers and have the opportunity to learn new skills in the friendly environment.

Science and Research

Many society members have a interest in a specific area of natural history whether professional or amateur. We encourage members to use the Reserve for study and research and have a small library of publications on topics including the Flora and lepidoptera of the wood. The Society has its own nest box scheme which has been running since 1908 – members can help out with maintenance of the boxes and collection of data.


If you’re interested in getting involved and would like to find out more about the volunteering opportunities in conservation, building management, activities and events, education and general administration please email us at contact@selbornesociety.org.uk for more information.


Please see our diary for details of upcoming events.