A National Trust nature reserve along the River Wandle has been opened to the public, having been hidden behind locked gates for 100 years. Part of the project has included improvements to The Wandle Trail, part of National Cycle Network route 20.
National Trust founder Octavia Hill and her sister Miranda personally started the appeal to save Watermeads. The 11-acre site in London has now had new paths, bridges and a sluice, which will improve the wetlands habitat and public access.
The Wandle Trail improvements included the creation of a shared-use path for walkers and cyclists, providing easier access and enjoyment of the Wandle and the wildlife that thrives along the river.
A breathing space for Londoners
Wandle is now one of London’s jewels, providing a valuable breathing space for Londoners, with easy access to nature in the heart of south London.The nature reserve is home to a rich array of wildlife species, including reed warbler, kestrel and kingfisher.
Other works have improved pathways and habitats for people and wildlife, particularly in Poulter Park at the heart of the Wandle Valley Regional Park where some of the changes to the riverside landscape have been dramatic.
Elaine Sullivan, Chair of London Wildlife Trust said:
“The River Wandle was once one of London’s most polluted rivers, but with the help of dedicated volunteers and the collective input of many different agencies, wildlife now flourishes along many parts of the Wandle, on its riverbanks and on nature reserves such as Spencer Road Wetlands. Where nature thrives, people do too, and we would urge people to visit and enjoy the natural delights of the Wandle Valley Regional Park.”
German Dector-Vega, Sustrans London Director said:
“We are delighted to have played a part in this exciting project and bringing the important new link to the Wandle Trail to life. It is a wonderful place to enjoy a bike ride or stroll. The new path through Poulter Park is a huge improvement to the route as it is now all off-road with lovely views next to the river. With the long summer days ahead, now is the perfect time to get out with friends and family and explore the Wandle Trail.”
Come and explore
- Spencer Road Wetlands is open on Saturday 16 May, 11am – 5pm, with guided nature walks around the new boardwalk at 12, 2 & 4pm.
- The entrance to Spencer Road Wetlands is on the corner of Spencer Road and Wood Street, Surrey, CR4 4JS. For event information call 07837 576 786.
- Guided cycle ride for beginners with the national cycling charity CTC on Saturday 16 May, setting off from the Pavilion Café in Beddington Park (SM6 7NN) at 2pm. Cycle to the Spencer Road wetlands, Watermeads and back to Beddington Park for 5pm. For event information call 0208 540 3358.