There are all sorts of reasons to move to Hackney and the area is a vibrant one with an awful lot to offer, but one of the main attractions in this part of London has to be Woodberry Wetlands, a true oasis of serenity in the middle of one of the biggest cities in the world.
Because of the coronavirus crisis and lockdown restrictions, however, the site had to shut up shop on March 23rd, as it wouldn’t have been possible for it to operate safely in accordance with social distancing guidelines. As a result, the wetlands is expected to lose more than £650,000 of its expected income over the next year.
It apparently costs around £110,000 to run the wetlands each year, with no council funding provided – and the site depends on income streams like public events and the Coal House Cafe. But to help the situation, a crowdfunding page has been set up and both Berkeley Homes and Hackney Council will be match funding all donations up to £55,000!
Woodberry itself is a working reservoir in Manor House, serving as a stunning urban wetland nature reserve. It was opened by Sir David Attenborough in 2016 and has now become a thriving habitat for migratory birds, with hedgerows and wildflowers lining the banks and new reedbed extensions providing a haven for waterfowl.
It was originally built in 1833 to hold water from the New River, a manmade waterway constructed in 1613 to bring clean water to the capital. In the 50s, chlorine and sodium phosphate gas treatments were used to purify the water, but this made the reservoir hostile to wildlife. By the 80s, these treatments had been stopped – and wildlife staged a return!
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