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Wandle Meadow Nature Park Merton

Wandle Meadow Nature Park

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The tithe map of 1847 shows the site of Wandle Meadow Nature Park as Byegrove Mead, which may have been managed as water meadows. In 1868 the Wimbledon to Streatham railway was constructed nearby and in 1877 the meadow was acquired for the Wandle Valley Sewage Works, built adjacent to the Wandle River. After the sewage works closed in 1970, a proposal to build a football stadium on the land south of the railway was strongly opposed and the site was eventually preserved as a nature reserve. Above-ground structures were demolished and made safe, with the old filter beds remaining and now creating an interesting wildlife habitat, with footpaths and cycle routes laid out. A bridge links it to Garfield Recreation Ground, which existed as a public park from the early C20th.
Previous / Other name:
Site location: North Road via Mead Path/Belgrave Road
Postcode: SW19
Type of site: Public Park 
Date(s): 1990s
Listed structures:
Borough: Merton
Site ownership: LB Merton
Site management: Leisure and Culture Services
Open to public? Yes
Opening times: unrestricted
Special conditions:
Public transport: Rail: Haydons Road. Bus: 200, 156 (walk)
The information shown above was correct at the time of the last update 01/02/2005
Please check with the site owner or manager for latest news.

Fuller information:

The Wandle Valley Sewage Works were established by Croydon Board of Health for the benefit of Mitcham and Merton, later becoming the Wandle Valley Joint Sewerage Board in 1917. A northern extension was added in the C20th between the Wandle and Lambeth Cemetery to the south of Plough Lane. The smaller Wimbledon Works were on the west of the river north of Plough Lane. In the 1970s the sewage works were closed and the areas north and south of Plough Lane were developed for industrial use; an electricity pylon was erected within the site of the old Wandle South Sewage works. A proposal to build a stadium for Wimbledon Football Club on the remaining land south of the railway line was vociferously opposed by local residents and following a campaign the plan was dropped on 1989. The area was eventually preserved as a nature reserve when LB Merton created the Wandle Meadow Nature Park, with a small area used for housing.

A Derelict Land Grant was received from the Department of the Environment, and above-ground structures were demolished and made safe, with the old filter beds remaining and now an interesting wildlife habitat, and footpaths and cycle routes laid out. It was formally opened on 24 November 1993 by Professor David Bellamy. A bridge linking it to Garfield Recreation Ground, which existed as a public park from the early C20th, as well as interpretative panels and signposting were installed in 1994. The nature park is part of The Wandle Trail.

Sources consulted:

Ian Yarham, Dave Dawson, Martin Boyle, Rebecca Holliday 'Nature Conservation in Merton, Ecology Handbook 29', London Ecology Unit, 1998, p63; P Guest on behalf of LB Merton, 'Wandle Meadow Nature Park Management Plan' (November 1997)
Grid ref: TQ264710
Size in hectares: 4.15
On EH National Register : No
EH grade :
Site on EH Heritage at Risk list:
Registered common or village green
on Commons Registration Act 1965:
Protected under London Squares
Preservation Act 1931:
The information below is taken from the relevant Local Authority's planning legislation, which was correct at the time of research but may have been amended in the interim. Please check with the Local Authority for latest planning information.
On Local List:
In Conservation Area: No
Conservation Area name:
Tree Preservation Order: No
Nature Conservation Area: Yes - Borough Importance I
Green Belt: No
Metropolitan Open Land: Yes
Special Policy Area: Yes - Archaeological Priority Zone
Other LA designation: Local Nature Reserve. Public Open Space. Green Corridor

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