Huge new green space for Harrow

Stanmore Marsh

Stanmore Marsh wetland officially opens after two year restoration.

The Mayor of Harrow will officially open Stanmore Marsh Wetlands on Wednesday June 28, the culmination of a two-year project to restore the marsh back to its former glory.

The site, over four hectares, used to be full of wildlife and part of it was known as Toad Pond. However, over the years it dried up and became neglected, no longer acting as a green sponge – which meant the chance of local flooding increased. Now, thanks to the major regeneration project, the flood risk has been reduced as well as a beautiful new space created.

The project, on Marsh Lane, has created 400m of new footpath and 400m2 of wetland, providing 3,150m3 of additional flood storage (an Olympic sized swimming pool’s water volume is 2,500m3). Several hundred metres of water environments - made up of a network of small wetlands and ditches – have also been restored.

Thames21 and Harrow Council have worked in partnership with a number of organisations to deliver this project. These include Thames Water and the Greater London Authority who both provided significant funding to help deliver the works. Thames21, London’s leading waterways charity which puts healthy rivers at the heart of communities, is helping to establish a Friends of Stanmore Marsh group to champion and help continue to look after the space.

The official opening will celebrate all the hard work put into the space, much of it by the local community’s volunteers.

Cllr Graham Henson, Harrow Council’s cabinet member for environment, said:

“What a fantastic transformation! A few years ago this was a dull and neglected piece of land, but today Stanmore Marsh is a beautiful, bright and welcoming open space - a ‘go to’ place for local residents and park users this summer with lots to see and do. Not just that, but new open space provides better flood alleviation. I would like to thank our partners and most importantly volunteers who have helped transform this disused open space and build a better Harrow for residents and the local community.”

Vicky D’Souza, Stanmore Marsh project officer at Thames21, said:

“Volunteers have been invaluable in helping to restore this site, with activities such as planting bulbs, carrying out pond improvements and removing litter. They are a vitally important part of this project, because they can act as champions and continue to make improvements to ensure Stanmore Marsh remains a great place for people and wildlife to enjoy.”

Vicky has been busy going into local schools educating them about the site, alongside giving sessions on water quality issues and pollution. Many local homes have misconnected plumbing which means dirty waste water goes straight into the local Edgware Brook. Wetlands such as Stanmore Marsh can help filter and trap this type of pollution before it gets into local rivers.

Kirsty Halford, Thames Water’s Community Project Executive, said:

“This is a fantastic wetlands restoration, creating a space for the community to enjoy and for wildlife to thrive. It will also engage young people on topics such as saving water and avoiding sewer blockages, which are naturally important to us, so we’re really pleased to be involved in a project that is achieving just that.” 

The opening event will take place during London Rivers Week, a new free festival celebrating London’s many rivers and encouraging Londoners to discover them. Since 2008, more than 20.5km of rivers have been restored – the same length as 66 Shards. More than 30 events are being run during London Rivers Week across the capital, by organisations including the South East Rivers Trust, London Wildlife Trust, Thames21 and the Zoological Society of London. More information can be found at www.thames21.org.uk/LondonRiversWeek

Official opening: Wednesday June 28:

2pm-2:50pm: community activities on North Marsh 
  • Guided nature walk 2:15pm-2:45pm
  • Look what’s living at the wetland and river, including river dipping
  • Visit information stalls
  • Refreshments
2.50pm:  Speeches by Mayor of Harrow, Harrow Council, Thames Water and Thames21
3pm: Ribbon cutting ceremony with Mayor of Harrow, Cllr Margaret Davine
3:30pm: end