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Since 2014, we have been working in partnership with different organisations and volunteer groups on several major river restoration and/or wetland creation projects, as well as a number of smaller pond restoration/creation projects, to improve Hillingdon's water habitats for wildlife and local people.
Current project: Wildlife corridor at Spider Park
The project at Spider Park will create a more varied and positive use of the land, improved existing habitats and creating new habitats, whilst retaining a peaceful place for people to relax and enjoy.
- Transformation of grassland into a species rich hay meadow, will provide multiple benefits, not only for overall biodiversity, but for aesthetic value and public enjoyment. Chosen areas of grassland will be left to grow on a hay cut regime, with hay removed from site in late summer
- 8,000 trees will be planted to create woodland copses to provide an additional new habitat for wildlife to thrive
- Coppice and pollard mature crack willows will allow more light to penetrate riverbanks, whilst woodchip will be used for mulching new trees
- Bigger 'leftovers' will be used for creating habitat piles and hibernacules
Partners: The Conservation Volunteers, Crane Valley Partnership, Zoological Society of London, and Woodlarks and Waders
Funded by: Rewilding London, Greater London Authority and council funding
2020 to 2021: Newt waterways project at Hillingdon House Farm
Hillingdon House Farm is situated in the floodplain of the River Pinn, Colne catchment. Nearby development has increased the volume of water entering the River Pinn and has reduced available green space.
A new wetland was created to provide space for water and 'slow the flow' into the river. The addition of ditches, ponds and scrapes with native wetland plants will increase biodiversity of the site and provide habitat and feeding ground for many different species.
- Returned 5 hectares of grassland to the flood plain, to absorb rain run-off into the land and reduce pressure on the River Pinn
- Creation of a network of ditches and shallow scrapes (ponds) to mimic the natural hollows of the field's pre-ploughed and drained days
Partners: Greater London Authority and Uxbridge Green Gym | TCV
Funding: Greener City Fund, GLA
2019: Wetland creation at Elephant Park
This project has visibly enhanced and diversified the park environment, resulting in a more varied use of the land. Improved scrub-land, laid hedge and newly-planted trees have allowed access and engagement with the community on nature conservation and environmental educational activities, as well as provide a serene place for people to relax and enjoy their local park.
- Creation of 2 ponds, providing more space for water, away from residential areas, and therefore reducing the likelihood of flooding
- Planting native wetland vegetation
- Scrub restoration
- Tree planting
Partners: Greater London Authority, Woodlarks and Waders and Oak Farm Resident Association
Funded by: Greener City Fund, GLA and our council's Environment Recreational Initiative
2018: New meander and 2 backwaters at Yeading Brook
The wetland project at Yeading Brook has improved the in-stream habitat for fish, wading birds and aquatic invertebrates. 2 new backwaters have provided refuge areas to shelter aquatic wildlife from the threat of pollution, and an area for juvenile fish, waterfowl and invertebrates to thrive.
These works have also increased the capacity of the river channel, meaning that the river is less likely to flood during times of heavy rainfall.
- Reconnection of the former meander to the Yeading Brook
- Creation of 2 backwaters
- Planting native wetland vegetation along the new meander and backwaters
Partners: London Wildlife Trust, Environment Agency and Woodlarks and Waders
Funded by: Environment Agency and our council's Environment Improvement Project
2015: Creation of a pond and ditches at Pinn Meadows
The water from the floodplain previously drained into the River Pinn. Instead, the new pond and the ditches act as reservoirs for water, providing ideal living conditions and a habitat for invertebrates, amphibians and wildfowl all year around. Additional planting of wetland species, such as Marsh Marigold, Ragged Robin, Meadowsweet and Yellow Flag, attracts many species and has increased the biodiversity of the meadow.
These new features also provide a great opportunity for regular pond dipping sessions, which have proved very popular with the community in the last several years.
- Creation of network of ditches
- Creation of a pond
- Restoration of the old pond
- Planting native wetland vegetation around the pond and ditches
Partners: Friends of Pinn Meadows
Funded by: Our council's Environment Improvement Project
2014: Creation of backwaters and river dipping platform at River Pinn
The backwaters provide new and important wetland areas for amphibians and aquatic invertebrates, plus a refuge for spawning fish. The new platform provides opportunities for the local community and schools to enjoy environmental education sessions and experience the river habitat.
- Reprofiling the section of the river bank and installation of platform to enable easy access to the water.
- Excavation of the section of the old channel of the River Pinn, which was formerly straightened (in the 1930s) as a high level overflow.
- Creation of 2 backwaters
Partners: Groundwork South, Friends of Eastcote House Gardens and Woodlarks and Waders
Funded by: Big Green Fund, All London Green Grid, Greater London Authority and council funding