London Rivers Week, now in its seventh year, is back from 29th May to 4th June – and this year’s event promises to be bigger and better than ever.
London Rivers Week is a week-long annual campaign inspiring the public to celebrate all of London’s rivers and the many projects taking place to protect them.
This year’s theme focuses on climate resilient rivers and how river restoration can reduce the impact of the climate emergency for both people and wildlife, through restoring habitats and reducing the impacts of drought and flood. This has never been more pressing, as we saw last year when London experienced both floods and drought.
Many events are free to join, but you need to register.
Get involved in the many free walks, talks, river clean-ups and open webinars by clicking on the London Rivers Week 2023 event page here.
There is something for everybody – individuals, families, and even pets! The main aim is to connect communities with their local rivers.
London Rivers Week is run on behalf of the Catchment Partnerships in London (CPiL) via its sister organisation London Rivers Restoration Group (LRRG). More than 40 river restoration projects have taken place since 2000, the LRRG states. River restoration/rewilding is the process of managing rivers to reinstate natural processes to restore biodiversity, providing benefits to both people and wildlife.
Rewilding can involve simple actions such as adding woody material to a river, or removing concrete and metal from its banks. It can also mean giving rivers more space to flood over water meadows, or creating new wetlands beside them. It can even mean daylighting stretches of rivers – bringing buried rivers into the light once more. London has examples of all of these and the public will have a chance to participate in many walks and talks at sites where restoration projects have been carried out.
These rewilding projects have not only restored rivers, but canals and streams. They have also created new ecosystems, such as wetlands, that have boosted numbers of innumerable species of wildlife, lifted people’s spirits by providing wonderful public spaces for people to enjoy and provided defences against pollution, flooding and drought in various ways. The latter points fit in nicely with other key themes for London Rivers Week – access to nature and climate resilience .
Did you know London has 400 miles (about 640km) of waterways – from rivers to wetlands, streams and canals? That’s the same distance as from Brighton to Edinburgh. Since 2000, about 28 miles (45km) has been restored. We’ll be celebrating some of those successes. But CPiL has set the target of raising the rate from about 3km on average per year to 5km by 2025 and beyond. If we did that, we could transform a third of the capital’s waterways by 2050.
We’ve put together a short list of case studies of “ready to go” river restoration projects: venues explored are: A flood alleviation scheme in Norbury Park, Croydon; the “Catchment Reset” of the Salmons Brook, Enfield; returning the Gores Brook to Parsloes Park, Dagenham; Reclaiming the Riverside in the Crane Valley; and RiverWise, a nature and community recovery project in Lewisham.
Ultimately, London Rivers Week raises awareness of London’s network of rivers, how they benefit us and how we can protect them. London is calling. We hope you take part in one of our many exciting events!
London Rivers Week is organised for the Catchment Partnerships in London Group (CPiL) via its London Rivers Restoration Group arm. The principal organisations running London Rivers Week are the Environment Agency, Thames21, the South East Rivers Trust, London Wildlife Trust, ZSL, CPRE London, the Thames Estuary Partnership, and Thames Water. In addition to these organisations, many other groups run and contribute to events, walks, talks and seminars to demonstrate the value of rivers.