More urban rivers: The Ravensborne

Deptford creek

River restoration has been a topic of recent posts, the Ravenborne was amongst the first river in the region undergo this treatment. European LIFE funding as part of a massive urban renewal project has regenerated the centre of Lewisham.

At low tide, it is possible to walk along Deptford Creek, where the Ravensborne ends its journey to the Thames. Here riparian developments have led to some interesting planning gain (on the Lewisham rather than the Greenwich side).

terraces topped by sand martin bank

Sheet piling may be the cheapest way of protecting the bank or freeboard but this is useless for wildlife. The  best option is some form of terracing but this is expensive and often tricky to match to the vagaries of tidal water. When properly undertaken and well managed to remove invasive species, the terraces give rise to excellent habitat for plants and fauna of brackish water, where some unusual species have been recorded including a hybrid between Japanese knotweed and Russian vine (pictured). So far only one additional specimen has been identified, at Railway Fields, so it is likely further examples will be recorded.

 Hybrid between Japanese knotweed and Russian vine


This 'made' habitat can be managed by groups such as the Creekside Centre, who assist in promoting best pratice and achieving suitable design solutions. It is met with differing levels of enthusiam from developers; the latest pictured above- reaching a great level of sophistication- as architects realise that this is a way of gaining good publicity for their work.


Cornmill meadows

Catford SUDs where the Environment Agency have installed a pump that will demonstrate groundwater flow.


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