East Reservoir in Stoke Newington, closed to the public for 200 years, is to be given a new lease of life as a nature reserve called Woodberry Wetlands.
London Wildlife Trust has received £1.5million from the Heritage Lottery Fund to create Woodberry Wetlands, which will open in 2015.
The new nature reserve will have a new bridge, boardwalk, café and visitor centre, where members of the public can learn about urban wildlife and nature conservation.
Carlo Laurenzi OBE, Chief Executive of LWT, said: “The creation of Woodberry Wetlands shows that we can bring nature back into people’s lives, even in the heart of north east London.
“A new visitor centre and walkways will give free access to large parts of the site and we will significantly increase areas of reed bed and wildflower meadow to enhance the wildlife habitat.”
TerRNS, a group of local amateur naturalists with roots in the Save the Reservoirs campaign of the 1980s and 90s said the new nature reserve would be of benefit to local wildlife. A spokesperson said: “Enhancing habitats at Woodberry Wetlands will benefit some of Hackney’s scarcest breeding birds which include Pochard ducks and Reed Buntings.
“Benefits to people from contact with the natural world are well known and improved access to the site has been a long term ambition for TeRNS.
Councillor Phillip Glanville, Hackney Council Cabinet Member for Housing, added: “The opening up of the East Reservoir will reveal and celebrate this hidden gem for local residents and beyond. It’s one of the many ways we are working with partners to transform the Woodberry Down area.”
East Reservoir was first built in 1833 and has become home to a variety of animals, including birds such as song thrushes and kingfishers, as well as bats.
For more information go to Wild London.