Trees for rivers: a new woodland for London

Thames21 is working in partnership with Enfield Council to restore Enfield Chase, 60 hectares of former royal hunting ground in the Salmon’s Brook catchment, part of the greater River Lea catchment. This is London’s largest reforestation project.

Restoring the tree cover and constructing more than 20 rural SuDS (Sustainable Drainage Schemes ) will not only cut flood risk for businesses and homes downstream – it will also boost  the health of the Salmon’s Brook. With the help of many volunteers, we reached our target of planting 50,000 trees between November 2020 and March 2021. Planting for the next 50,000 starts in November 2021. Follow the Friends of Enfield Chase for regular updates.

Rewilding a degraded landscape

The area was deforested more than two hundred years ago and is now made up of arable fields with some grazed pasture. Despite the best efforts and intentions, some conventional farming practices result in soil and nutrient erosion which flows into the local watercourses, threatening aquatic life. Drainage systems and straightened watercourses have encouraged water to flow swiftly off the land and into the river, increasing flood risk to thousands of homes and businesses downstream.

Our plans to increase tree cover in Enfield

Building London’s resilience

Working with the local farmers, Enfield Council, the Forestry Commission, and a woodland design consultant, areas have been identified where tree planting can reduce flood risk and improve water quality. By combining areas of mixed density native tree planting with areas of natural regeneration, meadows, ponds, and swales (ditches) we aim to create a rich and diverse ecosystem.

This huge new area of high quality green-blue space will benefit thousands of residents, as well as attracting and protecting wildlife. The diverse ecosystem, combined with natural flood management measures holding and slowing water flow further up the catchment, makes the landscape more resilient to drought and high rainfall events, which are increasing in frequency and severity due to climate change.

Photo taken at the site in December 2020

How to join London’s largest reforestation project:

Tree planting will resume this autumn. In the meantime light tree maintenance is happening, join the Friends of Group to find out more.

Questions about community tree planting? Email: nik.cain@thames21.org.uk