The Wandle Valley Regional Park, in South West London, is a vibrant but fragmented network of over 40 green spaces, 12 nature reserves, listed parks and heritage assets, in multiple ownership, linked by the riverside Wandle Trail, covering some 900 hectares.
Rich in natural, heritage and social capital, it is a strategically important asset for London, providing environmental benefits, supporting sustainable economic growth, and building social capital and resilience for its growing communities.
The Living Wandle Landscape Partnership is the UK’s first urban Landscape Partnership scheme, with an overall value of £2.6 m funded through the Heritage Lottery Fund and with significant contributions from partners. It has aimed to restore, enhance and celebrate the unique natural, built and cultural heritage of the River Wandle and its valley in South London.
The nine founding Living Wandle Landscape Partnership members include the The Wandle Valley Regional Park Trust formed in 2012 to lead delivery of the new regional park,
the London Boroughs of Wandsworth, Croydon and Merton, the Wandle Trust, The National Trust, London Wildlife Trust, Groundwork London and the Wandle Valley Festival.
The scheme has four aims:
- Conservation of natural and built heritage
- Increasing community participation
- Promoting physical and intellectual access and learning
- Developing training and skills in the community
Achievements to-date include:
- 32 physical greenspace projects delivered
- 8,871m of river enhanced for wildlife through 6 river restorations
- 6 eel pass projects
- 20 clean ups removing over 60 tonnes of rubbish
- 1 pond restored, 2 scrapes created
- 11 Gateway access improvements
- 200m of new hedgerow created
- 39,571 participants involved with over 1,192 events
- 155 training courses, delivering 2,383 days of learning to 3,299 people
- Winning agreement from major landowners for a coordinated, single approach to tackling all invasive non-native plant species (INNS) within the Wandle corridor.
- Development of Wandle Vistas technical report to support local and neighbourhood planning policy
- River Wandle the first river in London to achieve Good Ecological Potential status
The Wandle Valley Regional Park Trust will become the main legacy body of the Living Wandle Landscape Partnership and will take forward the unified vision and shared outcomes of partners in the Wandle Valley.
This approach has been supported in recent months with the Trust receiving a grant from the HLF Resilient Heritage program and the GLA, to develop its financial sustainability and a new model of management for the delivery and management of green infrastructure at a sub regional landscape scale.