Morden Hall Park sits at the heart of the Wandle Valley with almost 50,000 people living within a kilometre of this historic National Trust property. It is an important local green space in the midst of a heavily urbanised area where communities can connect with nature, take part in leisure activities and enjoy the relaxing atmosphere of an open, natural environment.
As the only National Trust property that is entirely free for all to access, it provides a key link to encourage education, promote the heritage of the Wandle Valley and appreciation of the unique signature of the river.
One of the key features of this site is the natural wetlands that lie alongside the river; a very special ecosystem that supports a rich variety of birds, plants, invertebrates and fish!
The Living Wandle Scheme has funded 5 elements to enhance, promote and protect the wetlands.
A new wooden boardwalk complete with a high viewing platform has been installed to enhance and improve access to the wetlands. Visitors can now explore the centre of the wetlands to get closer to nature without disturbing it!
The boardwalk was proudly opened to the public in November 2016 and replaces the original trail around the wetlands perimeter, which was often waterlogged and too muddy to walk during winter months.
Restoration and habitat improvement works are being carried out on the overgrown reed bed with a number of open water areas created to encourage more diversity of plants and animals. The Living Wandle Scheme has provided the National Trust an opportunity to increase focus on the wetlands in Morden Hall Park. This has been translated through creation of a new management plan and emphasising training and volunteer involvement in the wetlands.
A Wednesday wetland volunteer group has been set up to ensure the long term management of the reed bed through scrub clearance, annual cutting in a traditional management style and wildlife surveying.
To join the Wednesday Wetland Group or to find out more please contact the Living Wandle Team at firstname.lastname@example.org. A package of training is available for anyone who would like to get involved.
Two bridges crossing the river have been replaced with better structures to increase accessibility for pedestrians, cyclists and National Trust vehicles. An increased number of options for habitat management of the wetlands is now possible because the bridges enable a range of heavy duty vehicles to access the site where they couldn’t before.
A suite of learning equipment has been purchased for pond dipping, moth monitoring, bat detecting and bird watching to enable school and community groups to take part in wildlife spotting and surveying activities. This will make the most of the new boardwalk, viewing points and pond dipping platform an help build a better picture of wildlife in the Wandle wetlands!
Wetland Management Equipment
A small boat has been purchased for better managing the wetlands and waterways on the Wandle. This will be extremely useful for controlling invasive species, performing physical habitat management tasks, alongside monitoring and surveying wildlife.
This project is part of the wider Living Wandle Landscape Partnership Scheme, supported by the National Lottery through the Heritage Lottery Fund.