Restoring the pond at Effra Nature Garden

December 10, 2014

The Conservation Volunteers (TVC) help hundreds of thousands of people each year to reclaim local green places right across the country. The Lambeth Biodiversity Action Team (BAT) operate from their offices on Vassall Road and run their own activities as well as providing support to local community projects.

One such project is the restoration of the pond at the Effra Nature Garden. The pond had almost completely silted up, so volunteers worked to remove all of the vegetation and drained the pond.

Effra Garden 3

Vegetation was left for a few days to allow any frogs and insects to get away. It was then sorted and seperated for composting and silt was spread back around the pond.

The project will be running until Christmas and the next step is to fit a couple of extra liners on top of the existing one. Once this is complete, the slabs will be re-fixed around the edge and hidden with sand and soil.

Effra Garden 4

The pond will then be ready to refill creating a really valuable habitat for wildlife, not to mention a peaceful and enjoyable place for local residents.

Volunteers are still needed to help complete the work on the pond. If you would like to find out more about this and other local opportunities, please visit their website or email


Rain Garden at Cressingham Gardens Estate

December 2, 2014

Yesterday, I went along to see work begin on what will be Lambeth’s biggest rain garden.

Currently, water from three downpipes on the estate runs on to a grassed area and then makes its way down and out on to Tulse Hill. During heavy rainfall, a significant amount of water flows down to the road. The garden will help to reduce this by retaining the water and allowing it to slowly soak into the soil.

How does a rain garden work?

A diagram of the planned gardens at Cressingham Gardens.

Cressingham - cut through

The first day


1. We started by marking out the areas for digging. There are three sections and each sits directly under a downpipe.


2. We then carefully removed the turf and placed this to one side to be used later on the berms, or garden walls.


3. Once all the turf had been removed, the hard work really started and we began digging out the gardens. We removed a lot of clay which will have added to the current drainage problems. The remaining earth will be mixed with compost to improve drainage and placed back into garden over a layer of gravel.

Despite the very best efforts of staff and volunteers, we didn’t manage to dig out all of the gardens in one day. Work will continue at a later date and a planting session (which will be rather less strenuous!) will be arranged in the near future.

If you would like to get involved in future sessions, please contact Helen Spring at the Lost Effra Project

We’ll keep you up to date with this project and really look forward to seeing the finished gardens.

If you would like to hear about similar projects, please subscribe to this blog, follow us on Twitter or subscribe to our Green Community Champions e-newsletter.




Join us at our next green roof workshop

January 30, 2013
Residents building their own green roofs

Residents building their own green roofs

Earlier this month 27 Lambeth residents attended a Small Green Roof workshop in Kennington. The workshop, supported by Lambeth Council, was organised by Urban Wild Project and run by Reset Development aimed to encourage and enable attendees to develop their own green roofs at home and in the wider community.

The day featured presentations and a practical session where residents were able to build a section of a green roof. Attendees also listened to wildlife and bee expert David Perkins of the importance of green roofs in the urban environment for bees and other invertebrates.

What is a green roof and what are the benefits?

Green roofs are partially or wholly covered in vegetation and they can help to:

  • Improve surface water management
  • Increase the variety of wildlife present
  • Reduce heat island effect (where cities are warmer than rural areas due to human activity)
  • Improve insulation

Green roofs can be considered for homes, community and commercial buildings and even your garden shed!

We are planning to organise more workshops for Lambeth residents; so if you would like to find out more, please register your interest by emailing Future workshops will be on building green roofs and related topics such as rain gardens.

Funding available for local community environmental projects

February 3, 2012

Lettuce growing in reused tyresWestern Riverside Environmental Fund (WREF) is offering funding for projects that promote environmental improvement in Lambeth.

Grants are usually in the region of £5,000 to £25,000 and are available for projects with a focus on the following:

  • The provision, maintenance or improvement of a public park or public amenity where it is for the protection of the environment. For example, pocket parks and seating areas, play areas, open spaces on housing estates, churchyards and community gardens.
  • Delivery of biodiversity conservation for UK species or habitats.

Applications for the next round of funding must be in by 27 February 2012.

For more detailed information and an application pack, please visit the WREF website.