Woodberry Wetlands nature project receives funding

Woodberry Wetlands in Stoke Newington. Picture: Penny Dixie

Woodberry Wetlands in Stoke Newington. Picture: Penny Dixie - Credit: ©Penny Dixie 2016

A new nature project has just received funding to help get thousands of Hackney residents living near the Woodberry Wetlands closer to nature.

Dhruv Patel, Chairman of the City of London Corporation's City Bridge Trust Committee. Picture: City

Dhruv Patel, Chairman of the City of London Corporation's City Bridge Trust Committee. Picture: City of London Corporation - Credit: City of London Corporation

Charity, London Wildlife Trust, will run learning and conservation sessions offering people the chance to experience the wide variety of bird, animal and plant life at the wetlands located in Stoke Newington.

The charity will also encourage residents, in particular under-represented groups living near the site, to take part in a community food growing initiative as well as volunteer work performing vital jobs to conserve the habitat, such as reed-cutting, wildflower meadow seeding and refurbishing tern rafts.

READ MORE: Woodberry Down reservoir now open to swimmers all year round

Terry Skippen, 67, who has volunteered at the wetlands for six years, said: “Playing a small part in helping London’s wildlife is very satisfying and, while the primary aim of the work at Woodberry is that the wildlife thrives, I know for sure that I benefit both physically and mentally from volunteering.”

The project is being funded through a £216,000 grant from City Bridge Trust - the City of London Corporation’s charity funder - and hopes to reach about 6,000 people.

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Andy Flegg, London Wildlife Trust’s senior sites and projects officer at Woodberry Wetlands, said: “Woodberry Wetlands is an oasis in the heart of Hackney, in an area where there’s been a lot of recent development, but we often find that people who have lived in the area for a long time don’t visit and enjoy the nature reserve as much as they could.

“These activities will allow us to enable more people to experience the physical and mental health benefits of being outdoors, getting close to nature, growing their own food and venturing out and sharing experiences with other people.

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“The sessions are part of our commitment to making our sites accessible to as many people as possible and ensuring everyone can enjoy London’s nature.”

READ MORE: Hackney nature reserve launches fundraising appeal to reopen

Woodberry Wetlands is situated on the site of the area’s East Reservoir, created in the 1800s to store clean drinking water for London from the nearby New River. It opened to the public as a nature reserve in 2016.

The scheme is due to start at the end of November and will also offer learning walks for those wanting to explore the wetlands and its history.

Dhruv Patel, Chairman of the City of London Corporation’s City Bridge Trust Committee, said: “Often those of us who live in London don’t realise the breadth and variety of nature that exists in the capital – sometimes right in the middle of some of its most built-up areas.

“This funding will enable London Wildlife Trust to introduce thousands more Hackney residents to the natural beauty of Woodberry Wetlands and the diversity of flora and fauna which live there.”

Activities are to be promoted through local community groups, community centres, shops and libraries and via on-site notice boards.

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Volunteer Alison Johnston says her experience working at the wetlands for four years has been “fantastic”: “During these difficult times it’s been a lifeline to me – working in the open air, enjoying the great teamwork you always find at Woodberry Wetlands and knowing you are doing something really useful for the natural world.”

For more information visit www.wildlondon.org.uk/woodberry-wetlands-nature-reserve

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