Flourishing plans for new Cassiobury Wetlands Restoration Project taking root

Plans to boost biodiversity, protect our peatlands and revitalise a wetland in Cassiobury Park are taking shape...

Published: Monday, 28th June 2021
Mayor Peter Taylor with Friends of Cassiobury Park Chair Peter Jenkins
Mayor Peter Taylor with Friends of Cassiobury Park Chair Peter Jenkins

Plans to boost biodiversity, protect our unique local habitat and revitalise a wetland in Cassiobury Park are taking shape, with work starting on the restoration project in Cassiobury Park Nature Reserve to transform the area’s former watercress beds into a wildlife sanctuary.

The restoration of the watercress beds, which have slowly declined over the years, continues apace, with local councillors and partners coming together to discuss the works in the nature reserve on Monday 28 June 2021. Volunteers and councillors were joined by the Elected Mayor of Watford Peter Taylor and project partners Friends of Cassiobury Park and Community Connection Projects CIC.


The project will transform the area into a valuable wetlands habitat and increase floodwater storage on the floodplain of the River Gade. Reed beds, tree planting and a wildflower meadow will complement the water attenuation features and together create a range of habitats that boosts local biodiversity. Accessible footpaths and interpretation boards are also planned, offering new health and wellbeing benefits for local residents.

Mayor Peter Taylor with Friends of Cassiobury Park Volunteers - Wetlands Restoration Project

Mayor Peter Taylor with Friends of Cassiobury Park Volunteers - Wetlands Restoration Project

Works will include the removal of silt from the beds themselves, re-opening the river inlet and clearing the feeder channels and exit into the river. There will be viewing screens at intervals along the edge. The restoration will return the watercress bed to an excellent wetland habitat for birds, like snipe and green sandpiper and for insects and crustaceans, such as fresh water shrimp, thus increasing the reserve’s biodiversity and providing a large and relatively accessible site for observing and learning about nature.

Elected Mayor of Watford Peter Taylor said: “The Cassiobury Wetlands Restoration Project is an exciting scheme and fantastic example of how we are improving and enhancing our open spaces and making them more accessible. It will make the nature reserve more interesting for visitors and will attract more wildlife. It will also play a part in protecting the local area from flooding and provide educational opportunities. Projects like these help make our town a greener and more sustainable place for residents to live.”

Mayor Peter Taylor with Friends of Cassiobury Park Volunteers and  Community Connection Projects CIC

Mayor Peter Taylor with Friends of Cassiobury Park Volunteers and Community Connection Projects CIC

Peter Jenkins, Chair of the Friends of Cassiobury Park said “With their chalk and gravel base, the beds are a very special place for wildlife and biodiversity. This new wetland in Cassiobury Park will provide a much-needed home for wildlife and will bring back a large unused open space for everyone to view and enjoy. It will also relieve flooding elsewhere in the park by restoring part of the flood plain that has been missing for some time. Working with nature, rather than against it, is sustainable both in terms of cost and environmental impact.”

If you would like to get involved or get more information on this project, please contact the park management team at Cassiobury, by emailing cassiobury@watford.gov.uk or the Friends of Cassiobury Park at www.friendsofcassioburypark.org.uk

Collage of cassiobury wetlands project

Collage of Cassiobury Wetlands Project

 

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