2024 is going to be busy but
we may still observe health protection measures.

Please do check our social media for the latest updates, and we look forward to seeing you (hopefully very) soon!

Happy Birthday Chinbrook Meadows

Since 29 October 2002 residents and visitors alike have enjoyed the restored River Quaggy and a rejuvenated park at Chinbrook Meadows.
But it nearly did not happen. Thank goodness it did say Chair of QWAG, Paul de Zylva, and Chair of Friends of Chinbrook Meadows, Anne Slater.

29 October is the anniversary of the first major restoration of the River Quaggy, in Chinbrook Meadows, Grove Park. When the park first opened in 1929 the river ran freely and naturally through the former grazing meadows of a diary farm.
Soon after, in 1935 the Quaggy (known locally as the Chin Brook) was put into straightened concrete channels and hidden behind hedges and metal fences. That was the start of an era of mistreating our rivers in the mistaken belief that hiding them in concrete devoid of much if any life, and even putting them below ground, would prevent flooding, which it didn’t.

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Water pollution: Outfall Safaris and Riverfly Monitoring

Water pollution: Outfall Safaris and Riverfly Monitoring

Wednesday, 20th March, 7.45pm online Guest speaker: Lawrence Beale Collins How volunteers are testing and tracking water quality and how pollution affects our river habitats and species Book now: qwag@qwag.org.uk Public concern about polluted water is high. The sewage...

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Get to know your local river

Get to know your local river

FREE EVENTS in Jan, Feb and March 2024 for residents in the Horn Park, Mottingham Lane, Dutch House area. You may know the River Quaggy flows nearby, but how much do you really know about the river, its condition, wildlife, and how it can be improved? A new local...

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Remembering Lewisham’s 1968 floods – and lessons 50+ years on

Over 50 years ago, on 15 September 1968, much of Lewisham flooded.

QWAG has searched the archives for pictures and people’s recollections of the floods and the clean-up.

We’ve also found out what the local MP of the time and the government thought of our local rivers and what they had planned for them.

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QWAG is part of We Are Lewisham marking Lewisham being London Borough of Culture in 2022

We are working with Goldsmith’s University of London and Lewisham Council on In Living Memory, a post WWII People’s History of the borough.

A major post war event was the Great Flood in 1968 and 2022 is the 54th anniversary.

Do you, your family and friends recall the flood and its aftermath?

Do you have pictures, diary entries or other writings you would like to share?

We’d also love to gather some audio recordings of people’s recollections. Would you be willing to be interviewed for an audio recording of your flood memories?

All recordings, pictures and writings will form part of a People’s History archive curated by Goldsmiths’.

To share any memories and information on how anything you kindly offer to the project will be used please see Lewisham Under Water.

Picture credit: Image courtesy of the Lewisham Local History and Archives Centre

Get set for the last major restoration of the Quaggy

Imagine being able to walk from central Lewisham to Lee Green, over the border into Greenwich and then on to Grove Park – all within a stone’s throw of a restored, fully functioning River Quaggy.

We are now planning the last major restoration of the River Quaggy – and we want you to get involved.

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Join QWAG!

QWAG is an award-winning community voluntary group. We bring urban rivers to life.
Our focus is the River Quaggy – one of the UK’s most heavily engineered rivers – in SE London.
We’ve a proven record of restoring the natural role of the Quaggy and other local rivers to reduce flood risk, boost the river’s wildlife and people’s interaction with their local rivers. It’s what we call ‘river-powered regeneration’.
QWAG attended a late summer meeting of the Ravensbourne Catchment Improvement Group to hear how Government bodies and local government representatives planned to work with the demands of the Water Framework Directive.


Quaggy by A20

The aim of the WFD, an EU initiative to improve catchments within the UK, is to report on the progress toward the achievement of good ecological potential for river catchments, including the Ravensbourne. Issues such as degraded habitat, diffuse pollution, invasive species, urban growth & regeneration affect us all and the meeting set out to see how we could all help one another in reaching WFD standards by 2015. Representatives from the Environment Agency, Thames21 and the boroughs of Lewisham, Greenwich and Bromley joined QWAG’s chairman Paul de Zylva and trustee Lawrence Beale Collins in acknowledging the level of agreement and planning required to achieve positive status for the WFD. Work such as the annual 3 Rivers Clean Up and ongoing work by the Rivers and People Project in Lewisham were hailed as shining examples of the kind of teamwork necessary to help the WFD cause. QWAG already works with many of the stakeholders at the get-together and so is well placed to respond to the challenges put forward by the WFD. We have been asked by the Environment Agency to highlight problem areas along our side of the catchment where pollution, reduced habitat status and invasive species still present problems. We have therefore invited the agency for a ‘walk along the river’ where we will show them some of the great work that has already been completed along the Quaggy and some other areas where there is room for improvement.

The group formed to fight flood alleviation proposals for the river which would have destroyed its remaining natural sections by encasing them in concrete channels and culverts. The group successfully proposed and championed a very different scheme that reached completion in May 2007.

Sutcliffe Park

Sutcliffe Park

This scheme requires naturalised sections of the river and uses large open spaces beside it for temporary water storage in times of flood. The largest of these is Sutcliffe Park (above). Its transformation from an underused park to an urban oasis for wildlife has recently won two prestigious awards. Until QWAG intervened, the River Quaggy in south east London had suffered a fate typical of urban rivers. Much of its flood plain had disappeared under the relentless growth of the suburbs. In a vicious circle, the inevitable flooding that followed led to misguided alleviation measures that only made the problem worse. By 1990 much of the river flowed lifelessly in concrete channels and culverts, awaiting the seemingly inevitable coup de grace. Since its formation, QWAG has promoted, initiated and taken part in restoration projects along the Quaggy. In 2002 a much acclaimed naturalisation scheme broke out the river from its hedge-lined concrete channel in Chinbrook Meadows, recreating a natural meandering stream (below).

Chinbrook Meadows

Chinbrook Meadows

QWAG has proved that by restoring the Quaggy we can bring wildlife, education, amenity and beauty into the fabric of our urban environment. Our challenges now are to achieve further restoration and protect the river from the many threats to its well-being. Why not join QWAG and help us help the Quaggy?

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