More than 200 residents took part in a celebration event on Saturday, featuring pond dipping, planting sunflower seeds, painting pots, making animal masks and a nature trail quiz to mark the reopening of Thamesmead's nature reserve, Tump 53.
The launch follows the November 2013 Big Lottery Funded People's Millions win, which secured £50,000 for Wild About London, an environmental project managed by London Wildlife Trust and supported by Trust Thamesmead, Gallions Housing Association and Peabody.
The Trust's Community Development Officer, Alex Forrester said: "It was great to see so many local people turn up and take part in the different activities that were on offer, as well as exploring the site and the wonderful things it has to offer. A big thank you to everyone who voted for the project in November. If it wasn't for you, we wouldn't have the funds or the plans going forward to turn this community space into something special for residents."
The Wild about Thamesmead project aims to regenerate Tump 53, a former munitions testing site which now contains mixed woodland, a glade, a pond, and is surrounded by a reed-fringed moat. Over 60 bird species have been spotted at this unique site, including kingfisher, willow warbler and redpoll.
Wild About Thamesmead's Project Officer, Jane Clarke said, "It’s wonderful to see so many people enjoying the Tump 53 nature reserve... So many people have fond memories of the Tump... It’s a fantastic site in the heart of Thamesmead, full of opportunity. We’re aiming to open the reserve for up to three days a week, allowing everyone to enjoy the wildlife which flourishes here."
Gallions and Peabody's Head of Environmental Services, Tom Broad said, "It’s great to see the Tump open again and in full use. There has been significant improvement works to this great facility over the last few years and it will be so good to see it brought back to life for the benefit of the people of Thamesmead. The site was run by the London Wildlife Trust back in the 90s and it is good seeing them back in the heart of it. We look forward to working with them and the local community over the coming months."
Meanwhile, various residents who attended Saturday's event went on to say...
"This is excellent for the local people and schools. It is brilliant to fire children's imaginations while they explore and learn." - Alex Chapman
"Tump 53 is a great place to explore. I got to hold a snake for the very first time. They are usually scary but this one wasn't!" - Amy, aged 8
"We have lived in Thamesmead for 17 years and Tump 53 has been underused for too long. It is a great place for children to learn about nature." - Ranjit Khun
"This is really good for the children and adults to learn about nature and the environment and what's there if you look closely." - Natalie Godley
Anyone interested in attending or volunteering at Tump 53 should contact Alex.