London's Lost Rivers a talk by Tom Bolton

Last night the London Wildlife Trust hosted a talk by the  urban explorer, researcher and walker (in conjunction with the Friends of Belair Park) at the Belair Park recreation rooms, just off Gallery Road. This is particularly germane for the Friends as the River Effra is currently being released from it's concrete captivity this week as part of the Lost Effra Project
The Lost Effra Project was launched by London Wildlife Trust in January 2013, commissioned by Defra and the Carnegie UK Trust, to develop a community-based water management strategy aiming to inspire people to create new ways to manage the water environment in their area. Community groups are working to improve local green infrastructure to make Herne Hill and its surrounding areas more resilient to flooding and improve the natural environment for wildlife.

(There are striking parallels here for us in Kingston as we too have been rethinking the Hogsmill river and South East Rivers Trust have been undertaking some local 'rewilding' to assist the river, in performing its functions, in a more natural way).

This is what the Telegraph said about Tom Bolton's book Londons-lost-river's in 2012 and this is what he says about himself as thankfully like myself, he has a blog

Caterpillars on nettles
Belair Park plant 'safety' rails
The Friends of Belair park have been thoroughly engaged in the process of unleashing the river and it was interesting to hear how some of them actually live over the Effra, which sometimes floods their cellars or gardens. They have novel ways of protecting some of the areas managed for wildlife within the Park particularly from the over zealous mowing regimes of the contractors. This could be a useful method of preventing mowing to the wildflowers in the hedge bottom which is an important habitat for butterflies .
In addition to the Effra Tom discussed nine 'captive' rivers including the: Fleet, Tyburn, Neckinger, Westbourne even the Wandle, whose Croydon stretch is culverted. He didn't stray into Kingston though, so we should tell him about the coombe-conduit which runs to Hampton Court from two locations at Kingston Hill. 


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