On 12 March 2022 we visited Grenfell Park in Havering to celebrate the River Rom project with the local community and stakeholders. The aim of the day was to plant the marginal area newly excavated wetlands and also to wade a section of the Rom where the large wood deflectors have been installed to improve the riverine habitat. But, we did much more than that… we ended up collecting a lot of litter from the river too.
Joining us at the event was Councillor Christine Smith, Councillor Ciaran White and Councillor Alex Donald, MSc and PhD students from UCL, families, and local residents.
In this cool and sunny spring day we started with a talk about the project, where we placed all the plants to be transported to the wetland. During the talk, Aisling Woodhead from the Land of the Fanns Landscape Partnership Scheme introduced the event and warmly welcomed all the participants.
Thames21 River Restoration Manager, Carolina Pinto, spoke about which species were selected and why, “purple loose strife, yellow iris, water-forget-me-not, ragged robin, primula, flowering rush, water mint and cuckoo flower are the species to be planted today, and we will do it by adding layers, some closer to the water edge, some in the middle, others further away. Although there will be structure, these should be planted randomly, mixed, to maximize the benefits for wildlife.”
Everyone helped to move the plants nearer the wetland, requiring many trips. The aftermath: Volunteers planted more than 600 wetland plants and removed approximately 15 litter bags from the River Rom. We thank everyone for helping their local river and floodplain, and what’s more, to have completed everything proposed right on time.
The vision of empty flower containers indicated the end of the event, so we began to transport everything back to the initial meeting location, near the end of Edison Avenue.
**The empty plant pots have been donated to a local allotments and will be re-used for new germination.
Carolina Pinto, Thames21