Gallions Lake Wetland Planting
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Thamesmead residents boost local biodiversity by adding hundreds of new plants to Gallions Lake

Residents in Thamesmead have helped to add more than 400 plants in and around Gallions Lake in West Thamesmead.

Together they have contributed to a new wetland system designed to improve water quality and increase wildlife habitat.

The planting was carried out on behalf of Peabody by charity Thames 21 (thanks to the Symbiorem project), wetland designers Aquamaintain and Biomatrix, and the community. It marks the end of a £170k improvement programme at the lake which began in November 2023. Peabody owns and manages five lakes and seven kilometres of canal network in Thamesmead. Looking after the landscape is a major part of the housing association’s long-term plan to improve, grow and look after the town.

Local people attended two sessions in February, having voted on the types of plants they want to go into the wetlands. All species are native to Thamesmead and offer a range of environmental benefits. They provide food, cover and habitat for a range of wildlife while attracting pollinators like bees, birds and moths. They also filter pollution. The chosen species include Forget-Me-Not, Pennyroyal, Yellow Iris and Dwarf Ragged Robin.  

An additional planting session with Heronsgate Primary School will take place at the lake in April. Children will embark on a scavenger hunt, do some planting along the nearby meadow and learn about local wildlife, lakes and wetlands.

The newly installed wetlands are made up of several new structures. They include one long mudbank and several smaller ones planted with various aquatic plants, as well as two floating wetlands which are almost seven metres long. With the new plants in place, this system will deliver a range of benefits for local wildlife. This includes providing a nesting habitat and food for waterfowl, providing nectar for pollinating insects and providing cover for fish to lay eggs.

The improvements at Gallions Lake add to the 1,100m2 of floating reedbeds that Peabody has created in five canal areas in Thamesmead, as well as Birchmere Lake and Southmere Lake. This is in addition to other improvements made to increase biodiversity and improve the look and feel of these places.

Jack Gower, Peabody’s Landscape Activation Manager for Thamesmead, said: “It’s been brilliant to see residents come along and get their hands wet to help carry out this work. The addition of the new wetland systems at Gallions Lake should really help to improve biodiversity, and overall be of great benefit to the wildlife that call the lake home. We will be keeping an eye on how the new plants develop at the lake over the next few months, and hope to provide an update later in the year.

“This type of co-creation and collaboration with the community is an extension of the wider work we’ve been doing in Thamesmead over the past few years, which has seen residents involved in a range of exciting activities like tree planting, landscape design and stewardship of community gardens.”

Thames21 Engagement Officer, Toby Dighero, said: “We are delighted to have worked in partnership with our volunteers and partner Peabody to complete this constructed wetland project at Gallions Lake. What a brilliant achievement. A fantastic area for the local community to enjoy, as well as a safe home for wildlife. The ‘icing-on-the-cake’ final phase of the project is to work with our volunteers to add plants around the wetland, which will help to act as a filter to improve the water quality of the Lake and create a cleaner habitat for wildlife.”

Find out more about the work that Peabody is doing to enhance and maintain Thamesmead’s landscape here

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