11. Enhancing Amwell Nature Reserve
Theme: Ecology and biodiversity
- Improve bankside and in-channel habitat
- Improve public engagement with the river
Large-scale habitat creation and restoration at an internationally important nature reserve.
Amwell Nature Reserve is a former gravel pit in the Lee Valley that has been designated as a Site of Special Scientific Importance for the important numbers of wintering wildfowl and waders it supports. It is also forms part of the Lee Valley Special Protection Area and is a designated RAMSAR site (a wetland of international importance).
The reserve is made up of two major water bodies, Great Hardmead Lake and Holycross Lake, set amongst a mosaic of wetlands, grassland and woodland, and is owned by the Herts and Middlesex Wildlife Trust.
In summer 2018, funding provided by the Environment Agency and Cadent Gas enabled large-scale habitat improvements to take place across the site involving:
- Installation of a new sluice - to better control water levels and expose more habitat available for wintering wildfowl and breeding waders.
- Creation of new scrapes, islands, ditches and pools around the edge of Great Hardmead Lake - to provide additional shelter and feeding sites for wildfowl and waders.
- New fencing to allow pig grazing across parts of these new habitats - pigs root up tubers of plants, controlling succession to dry land and creating micro habitats for invertebrates.
- Interpretation upgrades - to educate visitors about the site's wildlife.
Further funding is sought to enhance other areas of the site including:
- New fencing around Holyfield Lake and Dragonfly Trail - to improve grassland biodiversity through goat grazing.
- Restoration of the dragonfly pond - home to 21 species, the best site in the county.