This article appeared in the Countryside Management Association’s East of England regional newsletter that was sent out to members in March 2017. You can find out more about membership of the CMA on their website.
Greenwich Peninsula Ecology Park in London hosted a CMA study day on 12th December 2016 looking at urban wildlife sites. The Ecology Park is managed by TCV – The Conservation Volunteers (formerly known as BTCV) in partnership with The Land Trust.
Greenwich Peninsula Ecology Park has played a crucial role in the regeneration of the Greenwich Peninsula and is part of a huge government regeneration scheme put into place in 1998. The Park opened to the public in 2002 and has become an established and remarkably diverse urban wetland. The area is still developing rapidly however, which makes things challenging.
We had a great mix of CMA members and non-members at the event, including a number of TCV volunteers from other sites who took the opportunity to learn more about Greenwich Ecology Park from the staff who have managed it for 15 years.
We learnt about the history of the peninsula, including the marsh habitat there originally, the industry that developed there and the colonisation by wildlife when industry declined. When this brownfield site was in line to be redeveloped, an unusual feature was included – an ecology park in the middle of the housing! This has since matured into an important wildlife site and a key community resource.
The urban location is both a challenge and an opportunity, and it was really interesting to compare and contrast this with more rural greenspace sites. Many thanks to Tony Day and Joanne Smith for sharing this fascinating site and their extensive knowledge with us.