- About the Wandle Valley Regional Park
The Wandle Valley Regional Park is ironically a legacy of the Industrial Revolution. Its fast-flowing waters powered about 100 mills from Croydon and Carshalton to the Thames at Wandsworth. The high level of industry prevented the builders of London’s sprawling suburbs from building too close to the river. With the remaining riverside estates of local entrepreneurs, this left a string of attractive parks linked by wilderness and the Wandle Trail.
That legacy brings together some 900 hectares of south London’s open spaces under a unified vision which will see many improvements across its landscape.
The Wandle Valley Regional Park and its partners have instigated a long term programme of enhancing access, links, gateways and some expansion. In addition water quality and ecological protection will be improved for the greater enjoyment of the whole community providing a more exciting realm attractive to more people and inviting them to explore further afield.
Most of these open spaces are already known to local people who are passionate about their varied character and biodiversity and work with the WVRP to protect it.
Of the WVRP’s many attractions a few warrant special mention. Merton Priory, seat of England’s first parliament and soon to be enhanced as a major historic site, Beddington Farmlands, where the gravel pits and nearby landfill site under restoration attract thousands of birds and Merton Abbey Mills market with William Morris’s famous print works.
There is already much to delight visitors but the WVRP and its partners’ vision and investment will bring greater benefits for the community’s enjoyment, physical wellbeing and economic regeneration.
Our shared vision is for an innovative, sustainable and high quality Regional Park in the Wandle Valley that is easily accessible, with a rich and thriving biodiversity, offering recreation, landscape, heritage, cultural and resource management benefits in which local people and businesses can take pride and ownership. To promote the park not just as a collection of green spaces, but an interconnected system that can benefit communities, living and working in the Wandle Valley.
We see the development of green spaces, public realm and the connectivity between home and work as essential to economic growth, wellbeing and resilience in the environment.
Since the 1980s, the Wandle Valley has been identified as a sub-regional area and a growth corridor. Over recent years, it has seen a wealth of environmental, economic development and community initiatives, which have led to the development of the Wandle Valley Regional Park idea and the setting up of a charitable Trust.
The chronology below sets out the development of the regional park.
1990s – Development of Wandle Trail Group
2005 – South London Partnership commission Wandle Valley Green Ribbon initiative document
2005 – The London Plan designation of the Wandle Valley as a regeneration corridor is reconfirmed
2005 – GLA Sub Regional Development Frameworks for developing regional and metropolitan parks in London identified
2005 – Establishment of the Wandle Valley Forum
2006 – London Strategic Parks Report
2007/2008 – EU funded project ‘Saul’, led by Groundwork London, together with the GLA initiate a Steering Group of regional and sub-regional partners with a commitment to creating a Regional Park.
2008 – Wandle Valley Regional Park Vision document produced
2011/2013 – Wandle Valley Regional Park defined in the London Plan and as Supplementary Planning Guidance as the All London Green Grid
2007/2008 – Regional Park support is defined in Local Plans of Wandsworth, Merton, Sutton, Croydon
2011 – Westminster University commissioned to develop an Action Plan for Governance and Management for the Regional Park
2012 – Wandle Valley Regional Park becomes a Limited company
2013 – Wandle Valley Regional Park becomes a charity
2015 – National Trust London and South East Regions Strategy includes the Wandle Valley.
- What is a Regional Park?
London’s Regional Parks will be large areas, corridors or networks of open space, the majority of which will be publicly accessible and which will provide a range of facilities and features offering recreational, ecological, landscape, heritage, cultural or resource management benefits. Individual Regional Parks will offer a combination of facilities and features that are unique within Greater London. Regional Parks will be readily accessible by public transport and be managed to meet best practice quality standards.
London Strategic Parks report 2008
A Regional Park is a transparent non-statutory, partnership owned and led, environmental organisation dedicated to securing sustainable development, achieving tangible social and economic benefits as an integral part of delivering strategic environmental initiatives.
Nene River Regional Park
Other Regional Parks in London and beyond
Wandle Valley Regional Park
We are creating a new regional park in the Wandle Valley, stretching from Croydon and Sutton through Merton and Wandsworth to the Thames in the north.