Shire Horses help rewild Wandsworth in ambition to recover nature in London
Not-for-profit organisation Enable, has been awarded funds as part of an exciting city-based rewilding project, Rewild London. Enable, who manage and look after Wandsworth’s green spaces and parks on behalf of the Council will apply this funding to King George’s Park in Wandsworth. Supported by The Mayor of London, and in partnership with the London Wildlife Trust. The aim is to create wildflower meadows and biodiversity rich woodlands which will act as habitat corridors for pollinators, such as wild bees and butterflies, across the borough.
What is Rewild London?
A total of £600,000 has been granted via the Rewild London Fund to 19 projects across London that will help to rewild the city and recover nature. The 19 rewilding projects across the city will enhance and connect 54 of London’s most important places for wildlife – called Sites of Importance for Nature Conservation (SINCs) – and create more natural habitats for plants and animals to thrive.
Why King George’s Park?
Right in the heart of Wandsworth and declared as a site of Borough Importance in 2000 for its value as the central wildlife corridor within the area – this strip of natural habitat connecting populations of wildlife otherwise separated by the surrounding built environment is a prime location to benefit from this exciting enhancement.
What will Enable do?
The Rewild London project in Wandsworth seeks to improve the biodiversity value of King George’s Park through the creation and development of biodiversity rich habitats as defined in Wandsworth Council’s Biodiversity Strategy. This includes wildflower rich neutral grasslands, woodland copses and scrub, including dead wood. The site location is key, as despite being centrally located, this part of the borough has a lack of recent records for pollinators with good hot spots (areas with significant amounts of pollinators) on either side. The project is all about increasing connectivity around the park and allowing nature to thrive. It’s important to remember that by pollinators we don’t just mean butterflies and wild bees, but this also includes , moths, hoverflies, beeflies, soldier beetles and more.
To make these biodiversity improvements, Enable will be reducing the nutrients in the existing grassland using shire horses to pull mowers and harrows! The added bonus is the visiting horse’s hooves make gaps in the grass to allow wildflower seed to establish more efficiently and strongly. We will sow the wildflower seed this autumn as well as creating stag beetle loggeries in the woodland.
On 17th and 18th May, shire horses Joey and William, attended the site to carry out the first stage of their work. These sessions were run by Enable and Wandsworth Council in collaboration with Operation Centaur- a working horses group who keep the art of working with rare breed heavy horses alive, through estate conservation, heritage, community projects and equine therapy. The session was attended by local school Southfields Academy, with nearly 40 students being able to come along and see the horses in action, and enjoy a Q&A session.
What is the benefit?
A crucial component of the Wandsworth Rewild London project is community engagement, attempting not only to bring nature closer physically to Londoners but also to help people connect with the nature already around them. The rewilding project will run alongside a wider series of community engagement events, titled ‘Welcome to King George’s Park’ that help to facilitate community-nature engagement in Wandsworth.
The Rewild London Scheme as a whole, and this exciting rewilding component in Wandsworth both have great potential to improve access to nature across the Capital. Enable are thrilled to be part of the scheme, and will continue to publicly share updates as the project progresses. Make sure to follow us on Twitter at @EnableParks to keep up to date with the project.
Notes to Editors
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Enable is a not-for-profit organisation, working in partnership with Wandsworth Council, charities, and other organisations to deliver health, leisure and community services and events that enrich people’s lives. We go further, reinvesting any surplus from our activities to make an even bigger difference, strengthening the communities we work with. Registered with the Charity Commission (no. 1172345).