The Hydrocitizenship Lea Valley team spent an afternoon yesterday with the London Wildlife Trust in Walthamstow Wetlands and Woodberry Down Nature Reserve discussing the development of these reservoirs for community access, environmental education and recreation. Both sites are in receipt of Heritage Lottery funding for environmental improvements, visitor facilities and interpretation of these habitats. The reservoirs are fed by the River Lea and New River, still providing fresh drinking water for Londoners. Current works include the creation of reed beds, boardwalks, renovation of heritage water buildings such as the Gas Works - all towards the opening up of these water facilities to the public after two hundred years. The Woodberry Down wetlands will reopen in September 2015 whilst the larger Walthamstow Wetlands will open in 2 years time – this is an important habitat for many birds including reed bunting, song thrush, kingfisher and the occasional bittern; and also provides valuable foraging and roosting habitat for bats. The site provides important winter shelter for wildfowl and is a key ‘stepping stone’ for large numbers of migratory birds as they move to and from the Lee Valley Special Protection Area.
Cllr Phillip Glanville, Hackney Council Cabinet Member for Housing said: “The opening up of the East Reservoir (Woodberry Downs) will reveal and celebrate this hidden gem for local residents and beyond. It’s one of the many ways we are working with partners to transform the Woodberry Down area. As well as improving local facilities we are providing thousands of new homes for social renting, shared ownership and private sale. At Woodberry Wetlands visitors will have the opportunity to enjoy and learn about the natural world in a beautiful setting that also remains part of busy, urban inner London.”
Helen Newman, Head of Corporate Social Responsibly for Thames Water said: “We are proud to be working with the London Wildlife Trust to open our reservoir in Stoke Newington to the public. Our partnership will protect and enhance the habitat for the unique wildlife at the site, and by engaging with the local community, help them to understand the importance of water in the environment and why we all need to use water wisely.”
The Trust is appointing Community Engagement officers with whom the Lea Valley team will be working on a range of participatory activities and consultation on Hydrocitizenship issues.
To read more by Graeme visit his page on hydrocitizens.com