Thursday, February 04, 2016

A new wildlife and heritage centre for East London / West Essex

Our roving reporter Ron Jeffries writes:

I had a great afternoon out on Tuesday. The sun shone, the wind blew mightily across the open water and I did wonder at times if I would ever see my warm home again for the cold got into my old bones - but I made it, thanks to support from Chris and Nicholas (who, I would guess, thought they might have to carry me or call for the air ambulance!). So what was it all about? Well, read here and you will find out!

Thames Water’s reservoir complex at Walthamstow is being transformed into a distinctive urban wetland nature reserve and centre to learning that is unprecedented in size in London. Walthamstow Wetlands will open in 2017, giving visitors free access to the suite’s unique natural, industrial and social heritage in one of the capital’s most diverse and densely populated areas.

The £8.7M project is supported by the Heritage Lottery Fund and led by the London Borough of Waltham Forest in Partnership with Thames Water and a consortium of partner agencies. The project’s operational phase is being delivered by London Wildlife Trust through an extensive programme of community engagement including conservation and site volunteering, alongside formal and informal learning and events.

Tuesday 2nd February was World Wetlands Day and the right time for me to visit in company with Chris Gannaway and local residents. The group was led by Matthew Frith of the London Wildlife Trust who gave a fascinating explanation of the work being done and the potential for the site when this opens to the public in 2017. I learned much, for example, Chris told me that in the Middle Ages Walthamstow had its own currency which was minted in the Coppermill Tower seen here!

The entrance to the complex is in Forest Road, opposite the Ferry Boat Inn.

Ed: The Ferry Boat Inn is a pub that sells traditional cask ales and it can be easily accessed from Ilford, Gants Hill, Clayhall and Woodford via the 123 bus route.

This post first appeared on Just an Essex lad.

1 comment:

  1. Many thanks Alan for taking this story onto your excellent Blogsite. Great! I must include the fact that I am a Roving Reporter for Barkingside 21 in my CV.