Thames21 was involved in a hugely successful project to reconnect residents in Harrow with Stanmore Marsh from 2015-17. The charity delivered community and school engagement, helping local schools and residents build lasting relationships with their new site.
Stanmore Marsh, a 4 hectare site in Harrow, was once a valuable wetland. Fed by Edgware Brook, it was rich in life and acted as effective flood storage. After the Second World War, the Brook was rerouted into a concrete channel, causing the site to dry up, habitat to disappear, and flood waters to bypass the marsh and create problems downstream.
In 2015, Harrow Council began a project to restore Stanmore Marsh. The project involved Thames Water, Thames21, and the Greater London Authority, who provided significant funding. After two years of work, the site was reopened on June 28th, 2017.
The project was a great success. Edgware Brook now winds through a gravel channel with natural banks, and more than 400m2 of wetland has been restored. This new habitat, along with newly planted trees and wildflowers, welcomes a host of wildlife back to the park. With 400m of new path and a new playground, residents now have an inviting place to visit and enjoy the nature that inhabits the area.
In addition to biodiversity benefits, the project incorporated natural flood management techniques. With a network of swales, ponds, and wetlands, the improved site now boasts an extra 3,150 cubic meters of flood storage. Furthermore, as Edgware Brook passes through the wetland, pollutants are naturally removed by the vegetation.
Throughout the project, Thames21 worked to engage locals with Stanmore Marsh, and nearby Queensbury Park. Thames21 took a combined approach of putting on volunteer events and educational sessions.
The educational sessions took place in both parks, as well as in nearby classrooms and libraries. Children took part in litter surveys and science experiments, learning about key sources of pollution, their impact on rivers, and what can be done about them. Teacher training was provided to help schools make use of the restored parks. Several nature walks also took place in Stanmore Marsh for locals to learn about the new habitat.
Volunteer events took place at both parks to help restore and clean them up. At Stanmore Marsh, volunteers planted an incredible 10,000 bulbs, as well as planting pond vegetation and removing litter throughout the site.
To ensure that Stanmore Marsh is cared for into the future, a friends group was formed to look after the site. Locals, including a local council member, took Thames21 training about leading clean up events. If you are interested in joining the Friends of Stanmore Marsh, please contact Edel Fingleton.
Stanmore Marsh is located at the intersection of Marsh Lane and Whitchurch lane, postcode HA7. The nearest underground station is Canons Park, which is served by the Jubilee Line. The park is accessible at all hours.