Discover the wonders of the Wandle in London Rivers Week

Wandle wander: there’s a chance to help clean up the river and discover more about its ecology and history

There’s a chance to learn more about one of the Thames’s important tributaries, the river that did much to shape Croydon, Carshalton and Merton, in a series of free events being staged on Wandle Discovery Day, being held on Saturday July 16.

Activities will include viewing fish via underwater cameras, Wandle history tours and wading in the river to clear away rubbish.

The programme of events, running from 10am to 3pm, has been organised by the South East Rivers Trust, as part of its 20th anniversary celebrations on the river where its work began.

The waterways charity has brought together several partner organisations for the celebration day, which is part of London Rivers Week, the annual campaign highlighting the capital’s waterways.

Formerly the Wandle Trust, the South East Rivers Trust began its conservation work on the River Wandle in 2002.

It now works as an environmental charity across 12 river catchments in the south-east, which engaging citizen scientists to educate and engage people on the importance of rivers, and supports and challenges stakeholders, businesses and individuals to protect the rivers and works with nature to make rivers healthy again. This includes tackling water pollution, addressing water scarcity, reconnecting rivers and restoring habitats.

On Wandle Discovery Day, SERT will have a stall at Merton Abbey Mills from 10am to 3pm where you can learn about the organisation’s work and make bookings for some of the activities, many of which can also be booked in advance.

The Wandle Discovery Day activities will be:

  • Tours of Merton Abbey Mills and the Priory Chapter House, the historic site of the Liberty print works (11am and 1pm. Takes approx. 1½ hours. Booking recommended)
  • Guided walks about the industrial history of the Wandle, from Morden Hall Park – just a short tram ride from Croydon – to Merton Abbey Mills (11am, approx. 1½ hours. Booking essential. Email
  • The chance to don waders at Morden Hall Park and go on an in-river walk, highlighting some recent restoration work at the National Trust property (10.30am and 12noon, approx. 45min. Booking recommended)
  • The chance to clear litter from the river by joining cleanups at Poulter Park (10am-noon and 1-3pm. Booking essential)
  • River camera and live fish display at Morden Hall Park, run by the Environment Agency, 10am to 3pm. No booking required
  • An introduction to fishing at Ravensbury Park with the Wandle Piscators, 10am to 3pm. No booking required

SERT’s Emma Broadbent said: “We’re excited to bring together different groups for the Wandle Discovery Day to celebrate the river, share its fascinating history and ecology, and inspire people to protect this rare chalk stream.

“The history tours will give people the chance to understand why three centuries of industrialisation led the river to be considered ecologically dead.

What lies beneath: river dipping in the Wandle is among the activities on offer

“Since then, there has been a considerable effort to clean up the river and make it healthy again and it is now a space where wildlife thrives and which people can enjoy.

“The river and its wildlife still face threats, including from rubbish. We hope giving people the chance to take part in a cleanup will inspire them to love this river and get involved in helping to protect this precious resource.”

London Rivers Week, now in its seventh year, is organised for the Catchment Partnerships in London Group by its London Rivers Restoration Group arm.

The principal organisations running London Rivers Week are: the Environment Agency, Thames21, the South East Rivers Trust, London Wildlife Trust, the Zoological Society of London, CPRE London, the Thames Estuary Partnership and Thames Water. Many other groups run and contribute to events, walks, talks and seminars to demonstrate the value of rivers and the work that goes into protecting them.

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News, views and analysis about the people of Croydon, their lives and political times in the diverse and most-populated borough in London. Based in Croydon and edited by Steven Downes. To contact us, please email
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