Plans for London’s largest nature haven have been revealed

In a bid to improve the biodiversity of London, the capital could be getting one of the largest nature restoration projects close to a large city anywhere in the UK. Plans have been revealed to convert 1,000 hectares (2,471 acres) of farmland into a publicly accessible nature reserve in Enfield, north London, leading to the creation of hundreds of hectares of new woodland that will be easily accessed through a network of footpaths and cycleways.

This is all down to the Enfield Chase Landscape Restoration Project, which has already planted 140,000 trees in the north London borough since 2020. 

Enfield Council and various partners want to restore the landscape to the more natural state it was in hundreds of years ago. Over the years, the ancient woodland has seen rivers straightened, trees felled and wildlife habitats destroyed. River dredging has also caused significant flooding problems, with waterways being diverted away from their natural floodplains. 

The landscape project will aim to draw visitors to the area while restoring heavily modified rivers to a more natural state and reduce flooding downstream in the urban parts of the borough, like Edmonton. Natural flood management measures, such as ponds and woodlands, will help to do this, creating habitats for wildlife at the same time. 

Enfield Council is working with river restoration charity Thames 21, as well as the Forestry Commission, Climate Action Enfield and Friends of Enfield Chase.

Now residents can have their say on the ambitious project by taking part in the Enfield Chase landscape restoration community survey organised by Enfield Council. The council is also looking for woodland volunteers – you can find all the information about that online here

Friends of Enfield Chase chairman, John Cole, said: ‘The sky’s the limit. There’s an opportunity for the likes of ramblers, runners and cyclists to know more about it and put it on the map.

‘The whole idea of the survey is, it’s the beginning, we want to capture thoughts and primarily make a more pleasant place and increase access.’

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