Call of nature: Lottery Fund work begins to turn 200-year-old Stoke Newington reservoir into a wetlands reserve

The Pochard duck is one of the reeds it is hoped will settle in the new nature reserve Pic: Wikipedia

The Pochard duck – one of the breeds it is hoped will settle in the new nature reserve Pic: Wikipedia

A reservoir in Stoke Newington, which has been closed for 200 years, will reopen next year as a nature reserve. Work started on the site last week.

London Wildlife Trust has received a £1.5 million boost in funding from the Heritage Lottery Fund to create Woodberry Wetlands on the site of the old East Reservoir.

The new reserve will feature a bridge, boardwalk, café and visitor centre, where members of the public can learn about urban wildlife and nature conservation.

A local amateur naturalist group, TerRNS, with roots in the Save the Reservoirs campaign of the 1980s and 90s, said the Wetlands would be of benefit to local wildlife for the whole borough: “Enhancing habitats will benefit some of Hackney’s scarcest breeding birds which include Pochard ducks and Reed Bunting,” a spokesperson said.

“Benefits to people from contact with the natural world are well known and improved access to the site has been a long term ambition for TeRNS.”

Carlo Laurenzi, Chief Executive of London Wildlife Trust, said: “The creation of Woodberry Wetlands shows that we can bring nature back into people’s lives, even in the heart of north east London.

“A new visitor centre and walkways will give free access to large parts of the site and we will significantly increase areas of reed bed and wildflower meadow to enhance the wildlife habitat.”

Councillor Phillip Glanville, Hackney Council Cabinet Member for Housing, said: “The opening up of the East Reservoir will reveal and celebrate this hidden gem for local residents and beyond.”

The East Reservoir was first built in 1833 and has become home to a variety of animals, including birds such as song thrushes and kingfishers, as well as bats.

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