Volunteers needed to help rewild Thamesmead

Share this article

We're inviting local people in Thamesmead to help plant and install new floating reedbeds in the canal near Linnet Close on Wednesday 4 and Thursday 5 March 2020, from 10am to 3pm.


Funded by us and the Environment Agency, and working in partnership with London Wildlife Trust and Thames21, volunteers will be helping to green the 7km of canals in Thamesmead. This will help the canal system to cope better with pollution as well as allowing local wildlife to flourish – from kingfishers and bees to butterflies and dragonflies.


Last year the team created new floating habitats or ‘reedbeds’ at Thamesmead Town Centre, Birchmere Lake and Harrow Canal through a series of eight events involving 50 local volunteers.


Desiree Shepherd, Public Realm and Landscape Manager at Peabody said: “So far we’ve planted floating reedbeds covering the same length as seven London Routemaster buses. Reedbeds are very important in helping local wildlife to flourish in the area. They’re not only home to flowering plants like loosestrife and flag iris, which help provide colour, nectar and shelter for birds and local wildlife, but they also improve the water quality of our canals.


“The reedbeds, or habitat islands, are ideal for sites where concrete-sided channels make it difficult for vegetation to grow naturally, resulting in stretches of water with little greenery or habitat for wildlife. They can be really beautiful spaces for people to look at and get close to nature, while reeds remove pollutants from the water by taking them up through their roots.”


Clare Smith, Thamesmead and River Cray project coordinator at Thames21 added: “Come and join us to create beautiful new spaces for nature. It’s really fun and easy to create one of these floating reedbeds, and a great way to make a positive difference to your area. Floating habitats are one of the ways cities can be made greener even in areas where it is not possible to create new green space or plant directly into a riverbed.”


To find out more about volunteering on the 4 and 5 March or for future volunteering opportunities, please contact Clare Smith.