6. Lemsford Springs management and restoration
Themes: Ecology and biodiversity; Public engagement
- Improve the river’s morphology
- Improve bankside and in-channel habitat
- Improve public engagement with the river
- Improve public access to the river (virtual and physical)
HMWT's Lemsford Springs Reserve lies on the River Lea which runs through the site. The site contains chalk spring fed linear lagoons, formerly watercress beds which provided a source of vitamin C for the population of London.
The site is also has a diverse habitat mosaic of woodland, grassland and marsh surround its aquatic environment. The reserve has an abundance of freshwater shrimp and small fish and is important for wading birds especially wintering green sandpiper.
The reserve is accessible by key with permission from HMWT and receives over 1000 visitors per year who enjoy access to the whole reserve through HMWT's provision of bridges over the River Lea and lagoons. Two bird hides allow visitors to view otherwise secretive birds at close range.
To maintain the biodiversity of the reserve HMWT regularly re-gravels the lagoons, whilst ongoing vegetation management keeps them in optimal condition for the reserves special biodiversity. Following a series of wet winters and flooding, HMWT is currently working to;
- Re-gravel areas of the watercress beds where high flow has washed these away.
- Reduce erosion of the banks of the River Lea using willow spiling
- Improve visitor access and experience through the repair and maintenance of hides, bridges and boardwalks.