Chinbrook Community SUDS: Healthy Wetlands Challenge

Chinbrook Meadows in Lewisham, southeast London, has an interesting history. It used to be a dairy farm until the early 1900s when it was bought by Lewisham Council and opened as a park. The River Quaggy runs through the park. In 1935, the Quaggy (known locally as the Chin Brook) was put into straightened concrete channels and hidden behind hedges and metal fence. Yet, thanks to efforts from the Quaggy Waterways Action Group and local community in 2002, the Quaggy was restored to its former glory when around 300 metres of concrete channel was removed from it. This helped to revitalise plant and animal life. Like many of London’s rivers, the River Quaggy is a beautiful one, but faces a number of challenges such as water quality issues created by road runoff and urban pollution.

To help provide solutions to these challenges, Thames21 will be working with its partners to deliver an ambitious project at Chinbrook Meadows in Lewisham, southeast London. The project aims to improve the water quality of the River Quaggy, enhance biodiversity, reduce flood risk and provide the community with a space to connect with nature.

Community members suggested the idea for the project because they noticed an area in the park – Grove Park Ditch -giving off a nasty odour and water discolouration. Thames21 propose the creation of a constructed wetland to solve these issues. This is a nature-based solution to treating polluted water while creating a great place for wildlife and people.

Chinbrook Meadows project location. The arrows point to the location of Grove park ditch and the river Quaggy.

Constructed wetlands are known to help water quality by capturing polluted sediments and allowing aquatic plants to uptake pollutants. This will be hugely beneficial to freshwater biodiversity. The proposed interventions will increase flood storage capacity and therefore reduce flood risk.

Artistic impression of the Chinbrook Wetlands

The newly created wetlands will allow the community to use the area for pond dipping as part of events run by the local friends group. The new wetland feature will incorporate accessible paths and stepping stones to make it a fun place for the whole family to connect with nature. Volunteering opportunities will allow the local community to be involved throughout.

The project will benefit the whole community and will welcome everybody from families to couples to individuals who want to immerse themselves in nature. The restored and newly created wetland features will be accessible for all to ensure nobody is excluded. Chinbrook Meadows is open seven days a week, allowing many people to visit.

A variety of events will be arranged as part of this project. This includes volunteer events carrying out tasks such as planting and events for the whole family to enjoy such as pond dipping in the newly restored wetland.

Keep an eye on our events calendar for future activities in Chinbrook Meadows.

For more info, contact or

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