Behind some padlocked gates in the heart of Hackney in east London and surrounded by a building site is a project that is truly inspirational.
It would be easy to wander past or miss what is happening completely. You’d be forgiven for thinking that its just another reservoir in London.
But something great is happening here. Nearly 200 years after it became a Reservoir in the 1830s the London Wildlife Trust is turning this site into a wetland. Wetlands are such important habitats, providing a home for a rich diversity of wildlife. The story of the loss of wetlands is well documented, which makes Woodberry Wetlands a story that we should all know about and a success that deserves to be celebrated.
When you’re stood on the banks of the emerging wetlands you can look south and see the Shard. Its easy to forget that you’re in the capital city as the trees come into leaf, the buds to start to flower and the birds belt out their tunes.
Work is happening to create a new network of reed beds around the former reservoir, supplementing the reeds gently blowing in the breeze. Reed buntings can be seen perching on the reeds, a graceful heron has moved in and an egret has recently settled on this site too. Brimstone and peacock butterflies are all aflutter with the arrival of the warmth of a spring day.
Green and for that matter blue spaces are so important in our towns and cities. These are the places that we live and we need access to nature to enhance our quality of life and oases such as Woodberry wetland will be the perfect location to connect with wildlife and recharge people’s batteries.
And for the people living around this newly created wildlife gem there can only be benefits in terms of the the sight of natural spaces every day. The exciting thing about this wetland project is that people are at the heart of the vision for this site. Its all about the families and people that live locally and providing a gentle helping hand to give people high quality access to nature.
New homes are being built as part of a massive local regeneration project and its so good to see a project that is linked into making sure that a local nature space is being created for everyone to enjoy.
Walking around this site made me feel really good. This is a wonderful example of a conservation charity working with local people, the construction industry, the local authority, Thames Water and the Heritage Lottery Fund to create a place which people can be truly proud of.
I will certainly be coming back to follow the story of this special place.