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New wetland restoration project in Cassiobury Park to provide wildlife sanctuary

Cassiobury Park – the award winning park managed by Watford Borough Council and Veolia – will be undergoing an exciting wetlands restoration project in its nature reserve.

With funding from the Heritage Lottery Fund and support from Friends of Cassiobury Park, Herts and Middlesex Wildlife Trust and the Wetland and Wildfowl Trust, the project will transform the former watercress beds in Cassiobury’s nature reserves back into a wetland wildlife sanctuary complete with reeds, ponds and scrapes.

Works which are scheduled to start this autumn will include, removal of silt from the beds themselves, re-opening the river inlet and clearing the flow channel and exit into the river.

The recovery project will return the watercress bed to an excellent wetland habitat for birds, like the snipe and the green sandpiper and for insects and mammals; thus increasing the reserve’s biodiversity and providing a large and relatively accessible site for observing and learning about nature.

The main watercress beds ceased use for that purpose in the 1960s and in the 1970s the area was fenced off as a nature reserve which has slowly declined. The restoration will now form a new habitat for wildlife and a diverse landscape for park users to enjoy, creating educational opportunities at the reserve and restoring part of the flood plain that has been missing for some time.

Elected Mayor of Watford Peter Taylor said: "This new wetland in Cassiobury Park will provide a much-needed home for wildlife and will bring back an unused open space for everyone to use and enjoy. Projects like these help make our town a greener and more sustainable place for residents to live.”

Many of these projects would not be possible without the help and dedication of community groups and volunteers. If you would like to get involved or for information on future projects, please contact the Friends of Cassiobury Park or the park management team at Cassiobury, by emailing cassiobury@watford.gov.uk