River Wandle, near Bishopsford Road, Mitcham
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|Copyright 1||London Borough of Merton|
|Photographer / Origin of Photo||Tom Francis|
|Notes / History||The River Wandle, looking towards the Watermeads.
This area has the distinction of being one of the first sites acquired by the National Trust. In 1915, an active campaign of fundraising, led by senior Trust member, Octavia Hill, raised £1,050 to purchase the property from Sir Frederick Fowkes. Ms. Hill had been greatly inspired by the sight of families and young children enjoying their visits to this riverside location. Sadly she died three years before it was finally signed over to the National Trust.
During the interwar era, the River Wandle Open Spaces Committee joined forces with the Trust and funded a major planting initiative. A wide range of ornamental trees and shrubs were added both for autumn colour and as potential nesting sites for birds. The addition of non-native trees has had mixed results, altering the appearance of the Watermeads and clogging parts of the wetland habitat. In recent years the National Trust has worked hard to open up the space, creating a more natural environment for indigenous plants and wildlife.