2022-23 is going to be busy but as Covid-19 is not over
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!
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.
Christopher Woodward, Director of the Garden Museum There has been rising interest in wild swimming. People speak of the health benefits as well as how to prepare and awareness of the legalities. In his talk for QWAG, Christopher will give his personal view of wild...
The government is consulting on its Nature Recovery Green Paper. Boroughs will also soon start to help prepare Local Nature Recovery Strategies. Ahead of the global biodiversity summit (COP15) in spring 2022 the government is consulting on how to restore nature in...
Community Eels Project Officer, Thames21 Eels are amazing, but they face immense struggles. Since the 1980s European eels (Anguilla anguilla) have declined by over 90 per cent. A main threat eels face is man-made physical obstacles in rivers. Having migrated over...
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.
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.
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’.
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.
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).
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?