Restoration work begins at Tooting Common lake
Published: Thursday 6th April 17
Thanks to National Lottery players, work has now begun on an important heritage project that aims to breathe new life into the lake on Tooting Common.
The project is designed to make the lake a more welcoming and thriving habitat for aquatic life, birds, insects and plants.
On Wednesday work began on installing floating rafts which will soon be home to a range of plants including Great Pond Sedge (Carex riparia), Purple Loostrife (Lythrum salicaria), March Marigold (Caltha palustris) and Water Mint (Mentha aquatica).
The lake restoration is now underway
Other aspects of the lake restoration will see the removal of overhanging branches and submerged trees from the eastern side of the lake near the woodland area known as The Sanctuary.
Reducing leaf fall and removing rotting wood from polluting the lake will lead to cleaner water and also allow more light to help aquatic plants and vegetation thrive.
Last year Wandsworth Council was awarded just under £1.4m by the Heritage Lottery Fund (HLF) to restore, conserve and enhance the cultural and natural heritage of Tooting Common. Another £500,000 is being match funded by various partners including Transport for London, The Woodfield Project, Wandsworth Council and Enable Leisure and Culture.
Tooting Common covers 220 acres and is the largest open space in Wandsworth. It has been designated a Site of Importance for Nature Conservation – and is ranked in the top tier of these protected spaces – a site of Metropolitan Importance
The HLF-supported project will also provide new acid grasslands, restore the Woodfield Pavilion to offer toilets and meeting space for local community groups and pay for extensive refurbishment work at the popular Tooting Bec Lido.
It is also paying for the complete restoration of the common’s 1930s drinking fountain which is being cleaned, repaired and brought back into public use plus the planting of new trees to replace those on Chestnut Avenue that are in terminal decline.
As well as restoring ancient habitats and boosting biodiversity, the scheme is also offering new volunteering opportunities for local people that not only improve the common but give those who take part useful new job and life skills.
It will also see the compilation of ‘The Common Story’ - a project that will work with volunteers to unravel some of Tooting Common’s historical mysteries and provide research and archive training to those taking part.
The project is a closely linked partnership between the council and local groups like the Wandsworth Historical Society, The Woodfield Project and the South London Swimming Club who all have a shared interest in preserving and protecting this important green oasis and are taking forward their own individual schemes.
Environment spokesman Cllr Jonathan Cook said: “The restoration of the lake is a really exciting element of this wider heritage project that will help make sure the common’s important historical features and its important biodiversity are preserved for future generations.”
The Tooting Common Heritage Project has been initiated by Wandsworth Council, with funding from the HLF, and is being delivered by Enable Leisure and Culture in partnership with the South London Swimming Club, idverde (formerly Quadron Services Ltd), The Tooting History Group, Wandsworth Historical Society and The Woodfield Project.
The aim is to improve and monitor biodiversity and habitats, to conserve and restore heritage landscape and architectural features, uncover the hidden history of the common as well as teaching people about the its rich past and biodiversity. It will provide new volunteering opportunities and transferable skills to local residents.
About The Heritage Lottery Fund
Thanks to National Lottery players, we invest money to help people across the UK explore, enjoy and protect the heritage they care about - from the archaeology under our feet to the historic parks and buildings we love, from precious memories and collections to rare wildlife - www.hlf.org.uk. Follow us on Twitter, Facebook and Instagram and use #HLFsupported.
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