More than a truck-load of rubbish – 160 bags’ full – has been removed from the Welsh Harp Reservoir, an important area for wildlife in north-west London, also known as Brent Reservoir. Around 60 volunteers working alongside London Wildlife Trust took part in a spring clean event on Saturday 24th February to help protect the Welsh Harp’s wide range of wildlife-friendly habitats, which include reedbeds, woodland and meadows.
Items found and removed from the nature reserve included prams, trolleys, bikes, and general litter such as plastic bottles. The clean-up was made possible thanks to the teamwork of several different organisations including Friends of the Welsh Harp, Canal & River Trust, Phoenix Canoe Club, and Thames21. Hendon MP Matthew Offord and members of the Hindu temple Shree Swaminarayan Mandir also joined in, making it a true community event.
Catherine Cullen, Welsh Harp Development Officer for London Wildlife Trust, said: “There was a brilliant turnout from the local community, enabling us to collect a huge amount of rubbish and helping to maintain this nature reserve as a special place for wildlife. I’d like to say a big thanks on my part to everyone who volunteered, and to Friends of the Welsh Harp group, Canal and River Trust, Phoenix Canoe Club, Thames21, and Barnet Council.”
The Welsh Harp Reservoir’s value to wildlife is recognised by its designation as a Site of Special Scientific Interest – one of only 37 in London. At this time of year an exotic water bird, the great crested grebe, performs amazing courtship dances on the reservoir, as they prepare to nest in the shallows of the reservoir. Other frequent visitors are common tern, cormorants, and grey heron. However, litter is a persistent problem, which if left untackled, threatens the future of this special wildlife habitat.
London Wildlife Trust’s work at the Welsh Harp is supported by Barnet Council and Barratt Homes. The Welsh Harp Reservoir is free to visit and is open at all times.