Monday, 26 May 2014

Walthamstow Marsh Events

Walthamstow Marshes Events & Activities (May – September)

Mural on the Marsh clean up; Saturday 10th, 10:30am–1:30pm
Dawn chorus walk; Sunday 11th (booking required)
Introduction to Bushcraft; Saturday 18th (booking required)
Ranger drop-in; Sunday 25th, Leyton Marsh, 12pm–2pm

Lea Bridge Conservation Volunteers (LBCV); Sunday 1st, WaterWorks Nature Reserve
Top Dog; Saturday 7th, Coppermill Fields, 11am-3pm
Ranger Ramble; Sunday 8th, Meeting at Ice Centre, 10am-12pm
Plants of the Marshes with Mark Spencer; Sunday 14th (booking required)

LBCV; Sunday 6th, Walthamstow Marshes (registration required)
LVRPA Conservation Volunteers; Wednesday 16th, Walthamstow Marshes (registration required)
Ranger Drop-in; Saturday 26th, South Marsh, 12pm-2pm

Community Haystacks; Friday 1st–Sunday 3rd, Walthamstow Marsh
LBCV; Sunday 3rd, Walthamstow Marshes (registration required)
Wild Family Fun; Wednesday 6th, 13th, 20th & 27th, Leyton Marsh (booking required)
Bat Walk with Roger Havard; Saturday 16th, 7pm-10pm (booking required)
LVRPA Conservation Volunteers; Wednesday 20th, Coppermill Fields (registration required)
Ranger Drop-in; Wednesday 27th, Horseshoe Thicket picnic area, 12pm-2pm

LBCV; Sunday 7th, WaterWorks Nature Reserve (registration required)
Ranger Ramble; Sunday 7th, Meet Coppermill Fields car park, 10am-2pm
Top Dog; Wednesday 17th, Leyton Marsh, 5pm-7pm
LVRPA Conservation Volunteers; Wednesday 17th, Middlesex Filter Beds (registration required)
Countryside Live; Leyton Marsh, Saturday 27th – Sunday 28th, 10am-4pm

Event Booking
Online –
Telephone – 08456 770 600

Volunteer Registration
LVRPA Conservation Volunteers – Phone 01992 709 880 or email
LBCV - Phone 07434525214 or visit

SLM Weekly Digest - 1/5/14

HAPPY MAY DAY - HOPE YOU DON'T GET TOO WET DANCING AROUND THE MAYPOLE!  This is the Weekly Digest of Save Lea Marshes - an open group of local people trying to keep the Lea Valley and other local green spaces as a haven for wildlife and a place of discovery and enjoyment for local people.  See our website
SIG(H)NS OF THE TIMES - we have found out that planning permission has been granted to change the signs in the Middlesex Filter Beds, including those on walls and gates and the wooden "finger pointing" posts.  We are sad to learn that the latter will be replaced by metal posts and less in keeping with the environmental surroundings.
MILLFIELDS LESS WILD - the corn marigolds have been replaced by grass seed  restored back to amenity grassland - why?
PATHWAYS TO .. - London Borough of Hackney have set their requirement to have East Marsh restored to 11 match-ready adult pitches and path and cycle ways to link up with QEOP (Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park - if you can bear to call it that).  The target set for the London Legacy Development Corporation is to have the pitches ready by Autumn 2014/15 but some of the changes ready in the next four weeks.  SLM questions why it has not been possible to allow proper access to walkers (particularly as the original restoration date is well past its sell by), when" lumpen"  machines are running roughshod over the land already.  Also, as we have stated in the past, the pathways are overkill - it looks like they are expecting the Roman legions of yore, to move from the QEOP to the marshlands.  Further details can be seen
FROM PITCHES TO RICHES?  - Many of Hackney's football pitches are leased from GLL see an article about why charges might prevent another David Beckham from emerging from Lea Valley talent 
WALTHAMSTOW WETLANDS -  plans that have been around for nearly three years have now been presented as an application to Waltham Forest Council concerning redevelopment of the Marine Engine House, Coppermill building and associated bridge at 2 Forest Road E17 to restore and convert buildings for volunteering and visitor use of the Walthamstow Wetlands.  You have until tomorrow (2 May) to put any objections to LBWF.
PEOPLE'S BOOKPRIZE - "Marshland" by Gareth E. Rees has been nominated - last chance to vote for our local fave.http://www.people' 
You can not only vote for the book above but also walk the book.  The Stamford Hill Adult Reading Group are setting off tomorrow  2 May, at 12 noon from Spring Hill to the Olympic Park, via Springfield Marina, across the bridge and onward for a two hour walk with readings from "Marshlands" on the way, finishing up at the Anchor & Hope.  Bring suitable clothes and shoes, plus snacks to share.  There will be an opportunity to eat at a café in the Olympic Park if preferred.  Anyone, who would like to join in along the way, rather than at the start, should let Joan know 07908398905.
Beating the bounds - a traditional tracing of the boundaries of the Lammas Lands as they were in 1837 - takes place onSunday 25 May.  There is a two stage start:  Meet at 12 Noon for lunch with willow stripping (all will be explained..) at the Hare & Hounds Pub in Leyton, then the start of the walk from the Princess of Wales car park by Lea Bridge.  There will then be a walk around Leyton marshes of about two miles (the route isn't difficult but not recommended for extra big baby buggies).  An extended part of the walk will then take place into some of the more difficult areas.  Wear suitable shoes and clothing and bring water with you.
Lecture "Our Urban Green Spaces - how communities have mobilised to protect and improve them", is being presented by News from Nowhere club at the Epicentre, West Street, Leytonstone, E11 4LJ at 8.00 p.m.  on Saturday 10 May.  All welcome with a donation towards foot.  Further information from  or 0208 555 5248
London Tree Week - is 24-31 May - events are being put up on the website but just go hug a tree anyway.
Mabley Green are having a seeding day on 10 May from 11.a.m. - volunteers suitably kitted out, welcome - it will take place on the bit of the land south of the A12 Flyover.  A preparation session is also happening on 6 May at 7.00 p.m.  There is also a chance to see the planning application No. 2014/1029 on website for the edible park and sports area.
Our friends at Hedge Herbs, have a number of events coming up, including participation in the new look café at the Hornbeam from 10 to 4 coffee to lunch and 5 to 8 p.m. with Norman Cooks (the new chefs) and OrganicLea also involved.  As well as eats, there will be music and jolly-ness.  Contact 
Next SLM meeting - we'll be at the Princess of Wales, Lea Bridge Road on Bank Holiday Monday - gathering from 7.00, but we might start the meeting a little later.  All welcome.

SLM Weekly Digest 25/4/14

This is the Weekly Digest of Save Lea Marshes (SLM) - an open group of local people in the Lea Valley area dedicated to keeping the greens truly green for the benefit of ensuring there is a future for our wildlife and a healthy living environment for local people to enjoy and learn from.
Well, if we can take our minds away from the "cliff-hanger" in "The Archers" yesterday - will Tom truly ditch Eco- Kirsty at the altar and leave the pigs behind as he "finds" himself - or is it really a ruse to get more listeners ... we will find out tonight!  However, down our way in the marshlands instead of the Glebelands, there are other stirrings.  What's fallen off the Fergusson Tractor (Archer's listeners will know what I'm talking about), this week.
ICE-RANKLES - we've been discussing a complaint from a Hackney resident, close to the Lea, about that dammed annoying hum from the Lee Valley Ice Rink.  The thing that is well past its sell by date and shouldn't be there on Metropolitan Open Land in the first place.  More complaints are likely to come from future residents of Essex Wharf, which are going to be really close.  SLM is following up on this issue.
OH MOW!  The LVRPA has recently cranked out some "feedback" from its last two "Workshops", concerning the mowing regimes on Leyton Marsh and Coppermill Fields.  Firstly from the 14 December 2013 meeting: where they will be following the majority of principles of the London Wildlife Trust (LWT) recommendations, that the land will be "scarified all over and seeded to encourage a flora diverse sward" (in layperson's terms the land will be raked and planted with diverse wildflower seeds).  If this doesn't work then the alternative will be to "strip away some of the turf and re-seed".  Now, dear readers, contrast this with the statement that:
"Both the LVRPA and the London Borough of Waltham Forest are satisfied that the STRI (the company that got the contract for laying the turf), adequately delivered the works that they were contracted to deliver."  I am loathe to ask that if this is the case, why, according to the LWT survey, is there such a lack of floral diversity currently existing on Leyton Marsh.  Lack of fulfilment of promise made by the STRI cannot be directly due to the natural occurrence of weather alone.
The LVRPA goes on to say( in justifying its mowing schemes, which currently include mowing in June), that under the Park Development Framework, Leyton Marsh is identified as an "events" space and it is felt that allowing a longer swathe (of grass)is in conflict with this amenity.  However, whilst they propose increasing the amount left longer as meadow grassland, this does not really solve the conflict with local people's desire to see the space left to nature.  The main event is the LVRPA's own annual "countryside" event (though it has been known to host church events, which arguably could go elsewhere).  This also highlights another potential problem re. the LVRPA's new Trust, which may see this site as commercial rather than pastoral.
Feedback from the February meeting (keep up it is only the end of April ..), we read that "June cuts will be replaced by a combination of special early cuts.  This will provide a mosaic of grassland habitats benefiting a wide range of flora and fauna .. to provide a buffer to the Walthamstow Marshes SSSI.   This is opposed to the current June cut that "removes the maximum biomass to produce .. diversity i.e.. to provide overwintering for invertebrates ".  Confused?
CAMPAIGNS -  Get your ire in gear for the following:  A Glyphosate Consultation Survey is being organised by PAN European see, with forms that need to be returned to DAR   This is the stuff, that SLM have been campaigning to get of Hackney pavements and housing estates.
Fracking - anyone who saw the desolate scenes of Fracking in America on the news this week and was horrified, think of what this means to a country as densely populated as Britain and to certain ancient forests that are on the list.  Do not sleep, Mr. Cameron is trying to change the law so that fracking can take place without permission and deal with trespass (that's lawful campaigning to
 us).  Greenpeace wants at least 200,000 signatures for its campaign see 
London Cycling Campaign are also wheeling out a campaign timed for the local elections for safer cycling in your postcode area.  In E5 it is getting a safer Lea Bridge Roundabout for cyclists.
Save the Top of the Hill is a campaign being supported by our friends at Belair Park.  The latest newsletter runs a story about how a Chinese entrepreneur's plans to restore Crystal Palace, would effectively eat up most of his personal wealth.  The message is beware all that is Crystal is not gold - the likelihood of this edifice being built on MOL land masks the deeper intentions of development and shopping malls.  You are urged to raise this matter with your M.P.  A threat to one piece of MOL land in this current climate is a threat to all.
MUSHROOMS - a programme aired last night on BBC4 about the fascinating and diverse life of spores -  called "The Magic of Mushrooms" is well worth checking out on the IPlayer 
First up is the E List Walthamstow event as part of the "Eat or Heat" Spring Fair.  This will take place tomorrow Saturday 26 April at St. Mary's Welcome Centre, opposite St. Mary's Church, Walthamstow Village from 12.00 to 8 p.m.  SLM will be there along with a wide diversity of organisations active in Walthamstow ranging from E15 Pop Up to The Mill to The Vestry and music and other community groups.  Its a chance to find out what others do, and to chat and get to know each other.
On 18th June, at the Buffalo Bar, 259 Upper Street, N1, the Orgreave Truth & Justice Campaign in association with Philosophy Football (who have also got a special T-shirt out), are hosting a fundraising event for the campaign.  A variety of music, poetry and comedy acts on offer, including Attila the Stockbroker and speakers such as the NUM's Dave Douglass and Jack Monroe, the culinary campaigner.  Advanced booking essential £9.00 (or £20 in solidarity), with 100 per cent of takings going to the campaign. 
Hackney Hustings - the "Hackney Citizen" are hosting a "Question Time" panel event this Sunday 27 April at the Arcola Theatre in Dalston to question local candidates see  Booking essential
Next SLM Meeting is at The Princess of Wales, Lea Bridge Road, 7.00 on Monday 5 May - somehow, we've landed on another Bank Holiday but at least we'll be near the river bank ...

Lee Valley Leisure Trustees

Lee Valley Leisure Trust
Prestigious new Leisure Trust offers an exciting opportunity to join its Board. The Trustee role includes overseeing the operation of world class legacy sports venues such as the Lee Valley VeloPark, and Lee Valley Hockey and Tennis centre which are situated in the Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park and the Lee Valley White Water centre.
If you have the business skills, enthusiasm and vision to contribute to the Trust’s success please follow the link to read more

Walthamstow Wetlands Planning Application

Planning Application: 2014/0716/LA

Rose Jaijee is the LBWF 'Walthamstow Wetlands Coordinator' - paid for by the Lottery I understand.

This project is my pet hate...

I looked into this last year and have the lottery funding application documents (which WF did not want to release)

It's a typical case of using a lottery sledgehammer to crack a nut and transform a tranquil nature reserve into a marketable 'destination' a very expensively converted marine Engine House with visitor centre, shop and cafe etc. and a busy through route going through he middle. This is apparently justified as local people are 'deprived of access to nature'. It will also help marketing of Awesomestow and be a feature to attract property developers - all at no cost to WF.  As they put it "maximise opportunities for economic renewal".

What annoys me is that the marketing of the project has been based on the misleading assertion that it will open up access to the public and that the reservoirs are currently inaccessible.

Ie the planning application states that this project will "enable people to access the reservoirs" ! 

LWT, who are getting paid by LBWF to do the PR, were claiming this on their website, until I complained and they admitted it was incorrect and changed it. But It's been very important for them to maintain the fiction that no-one knows about the reservoirs or ever goes there or that they are great as they are.

Some of my grievances are -
a) their aim is to attract a lot more people to the site by making it into an intensively marketed general leisure destination. Since they acknowledge this is incompatible with wildlife they want to try and restrict visitors  to a 'core' area where they can spend at the cafe and buy wildlife themed tat thereby defeating the whole stated purpose of opening it up.

b) Currently, once you've entered via Forest Road you are free to wander anywhere. Once they've 'opened it up' the best areas will be gated off to 'protect the wildlife' or access allowed only with a 'guide' .

c) There will be the usual mushrooming of expensive signposts, interpretation boards, fencing and access control gates spoiling the landscape and ambience

d) There was no meaningful consultation prior to the planning application - everything seemed to kept deliberately vague with no detailed written proposal of precisely how it would all work or what the impacts might realistically be. No documents have been published publicly since 2010.

e) why does it suddenly need teams of volunteers with their own 'hub' building? What are they going to be doing? lots of cutting stuff down presumably.

f) how long will people be shut out as the construction works to 'open it up' take place?

g) the proposed entrances in the plan are now only those that already exist - Forest Road and Coppermill Lane. Having public access from Coppermill is an administrative matter and doesn't involve spending millions of lottery money.

h) in addition to £3.5m lottery money, Thames Water have committed £1.5m - I'd rather see this spent on keeping their crap out of the Lea than on architects and fancy footpaths 

i) London Wetlands Centre at Barnes has a single point of entry, as do most nature reserves (including the Waterworks whch despite being free entry the LVRPA have refused to open a 2nd entrance) - strangely these places are never described as secret, inaccessible, fragmented or beset by physical barriers.

It's also annoying that you cannot download planning documents from WF - the Design & Access statement is 163 pages and you can only read it via their awkward online document viewer where you can't select text or search.


Sent: Sunday, 27 April 2014, 23:12
Subject: Re: RE: Waltham Forest planning application 2014/0716/LA

Rose Jaijee spoke at that meeting! We gave her ten mins and she went on for half an hour!

Subject: RE: Waltham Forest planning application 2014/0716/LA 
Sent: Sun, Apr 27, 2014 9:04:55 PM 

It looks similar to one of the “proposals” put forward by the Lea Valley Federation.  It is shown on a pamphlet that I obtained at a presentation that the LVF gave at the Round Chapel a few years ago.  I actually brought the pamphlet along to our meeting last week.  I was intending to show it around during AOB, but in the event the meeting went on so long that I decided to save it for another occasion!


SLM Weekly Digest 18/4/14

This is the weekly digest of Save Lea Marshes (SLM) - an open group of local people who care about the marshlands and green areas o the Lea Valley area.  We want to see the land retained for wildlife and for the careful enjoyment of local people.  See our website for further information about our work 
Well, as some of us get down to enjoying choccy eggs and other ways of having meaningful and/or fun-filled Easter holidays, things continue to happen on our dear marshes - some good, as in the number of events that seem to be happening to encourage people to discover and value the marshes (see below) and some less positive.  This week's special assortment of goodies and those less inviting in the box includes:
ORIENT WAY - rather than the three kings making a visit, we reported a couple of weeks ago about the hacking away of the wild area of Orient way, supposedly due to "undesirables" camping out there.  Further information has come to light about just who broke the Countryside Act laws in terms of cutting back during bird breeding season.  An SLM "super sleuth" has revealed that it was it was the Probation Service/SERCO.  There are at least two things to take up here - one, whether this group of offenders was sufficiently trained and had the horticultural and health and safety knowledge they should have and two, the fact that this work was done without sufficient knowledge of the Countryside Act laws.

OXBOW ISLAND - the issues of the complicated "ownership" of Oxbow Island and the rubbish clearance of said area, have continued to be a discussion topic this week.  Councillor Ian Rathbone of the Lea Bridge Ward (Hackney), has again taken up the cause and plans to arrange a meeting in June.  We'll update on progress.

GREATER LONDON NATIONAL PARK - there is a new campaign to have the green spaces of greater London formed into a national park.  This is probably what should have been done with the Lea Valley area in the first place.  If you are interested in finding out more about this see  and see the arguments.

INFORMATION FROM THE OPEN SPACES SOCIETY - SLM are members of this organisation and get much useful information about changes which affect the green spaces of our land in general.  Information to pass on to other readers this week is that there is a new threat to village green status, since the introduction of the 2013 Infrastructure Act.  I've put this item here because it directly relates to the topic above and those below in that the changes represent part of the growing onslaught of our green spaces and rights of public access versus the "development Goliath".  In short the legislation only gives people up to a year to apply to register land following a landowners challenge.  There is also another item on Local Green Spaces.  See for further information.

PETITIONS (1) Kew Gardens Under Threat - it seems our Government is looking at ways to break down the long-held traditions of this space see the petition site (2) Our dear Mr. Pickles (whose department had a big rise in its hospitality costs for tea and biscuits this year...) is casting a greedy eye over allotment spaces as another area that developers could build on and add money to the coffers of the town halls, that the Government has taken away.  This is extremely bad timing as it coincides with the BBC's new "Bake-Off" style programme about allotments, which will obviously influence the great British public to put aside their cupcakes in favour of trying to get a non-existent available plot.  Campaign now "Cudgels over Cupcakes" say I. See

MABLEY GREEN IN BLOOM - we have received news that Mabley Green (working towards being the largest Edible Park), has been recognised by no less a horticultural body than the Royal Horticultural Society (RHS), as a study.   See  Well done, them!

EVENTS/COURSES ETC. - we are positively brimming over with events on the horizon ...(some I'll leave to a later date).

First up, a reminder that tomorrow (Saturday), the lovely Joan will be doing her foraging walk starting at the Ice Rink Car Park at 2.00 pm and ending at the Springfield Café at 4.00 p.m.  This woman really knows what she is talking about, so if you fancy a little walk and really want to learn something, do join her.

Hackney Museum and Hackney Tours have joined forces to do at least two brilliant informative walks:  3 May we have"Clapton, Vikings & the Importance of East London" - a 2.7m walk 11-12.30 am, led by Simon Cole of Hackney Tours - kicks off from the Princess of Wales on Lea Bridge Road, Hackney and on Sunday 15 June there is "Artists, Industrialists & Urbanites, a 2.5 m walk starting at the same time but leaving from Hackney Wick Overground station.  Both walks are free but you need to register first with or Tel 020 8356 2509.

Friends of the Earth Walthamstow - have sent us details of their planned activiites in the April newsletter - we mentioned this one a while back but anyone up for Tree Planting, get to Lloyd Park on 26 April, wearing suitable clothing.

London Wildlife Trust are also in the middle of a run of free guided walks - the next available one is "Foraging for Spring Greens" and the one after that Sunday 9th June "Bird Spotting".  These take place 2-4 p.m. for full details.

Tree Course - twelve weekly sessions with a course fee of £80.00, led by Hackney's Tree Musketeers - everything you wanted to know about trees, pruning trees properly etc., but were too scared to ask, is dealt with on this course

Hackney Renters - our friends at Hackney Renters, tell us that they are having a demonstration outside Hackney Town Hall on 25 April at 12.00 mid-day against the hikes in rent and benefit issues.  This will include "Housing Crisis Bingo".  They would value support.

Thinking Green week 28 April to 2 May - various seminars being organised by Open City on building and sustainability see   This is mainly oriented to people in the buildings industry about ways of building that are different to that demonstrated by those that are bringing you Essex Wharf ...

Next SLM meeting - SLM are forgoing valuable Easter egg munching time for a few pints at the Hare & Hounds at 7.30 on Bank Holiday Monday.  We didn't want to change our schedule and there is, as always, lots to discuss.  So if you fancy joining us, do come along.  Chocs Away ...!

Walthamstow Marshes Site management Workshop

Final Feedback Report
Walthamstow Marshes Site management Workshop
14th December 2013

Leyton Marsh amenity grassland

  • We will be adopting the management principles outlined in the London Wildlife Trust biological report. As part of the planned works the reinstated grassland area will be scarified and over seeded to encourage a more diverse sward. Alternative options, including stripping away areas of turf to seed naturally, will be considered depending on the success of the scarifying and seeding.  

The amenity grassland is identified under the Park Development Framework as an events space and it is felt that allowing a longer sward is in conflict with this aim. A core area will therefore be retained as amenity grassland. However, we have identified opportunities to reduce the overall amenity area by leaving some areas uncut and in the long term managing them as part of the meadow grassland.

  • Both LVRPA and LB Waltham Forest are satisfied that STRI adequately discharged the works that they were contracted to deliver.

Provision of weekly updates

  • We do not have the resources to deliver this level of communication however we will give regular updates on future works, events and opportunities to get involved in the proposed newsletter and via email as and when appropriate.