Deputy Mayor of Thurrock visits Davy Down to see Mardyke conservation work

Land of the Fanns and Thames21 welcomed Councillor James Halden, Deputy Mayor of Thurrock to Davy Down on 26 October to see the restoration work on the river Mardyke. The event was part of London River’s Week organised by Thames21.

The teams from Land of the Fanns and Thames21 were joined by representatives from The Land Trust, Essex and Suffolk Water and Essex Wildlife Trust as well the public to see and hear about the habitat creation and floodplain restoration work carried out on the site to create a number of wetland scrapes and ponds.  Providing wellies, gloves and tools, Thames21 led the group in pond dipping to identify what invertebrates are already making the wetland areas their home, in reed planting to retain the banks of the ponds, wild flower seed scattering and also the removal of the invasive plant floating pennywort which can choke a water body of light and oxygen, impacting native plant species.

Cllr James Halden, Deputy Mayor of Thurrock, said: “I am delighted to attend this celebration event at Davy Down Riverside Park for such a special occasion during London Rivers Week 2021.

“The Mardyke Valley Habitat Creation and Restoration Project has brought us all together with a common purpose; to celebrate, restore and reconnect with our local landscapes.

“The Mardyke River connects us to the River Thames, which is at the heart of Thurrock, and thanks to the hard work of everyone involved in this project we can look forward to enjoying more of our beautiful landscape in the near future. Thank you to all of those who have taken the time to attend today.”

Aisling Woodhead, Environment Engagement Officer, Land of the Fanns, said: “It was wonderful to see the wetland ponds and scrapes already full with water only a couple of months after completion, creating a fantastic mosaic of waterbodies which will introduce greater biodiversity.”

Cllr Halden was presented with a copy of Fens, Forests and Fields, the book which celebrates the landscape of the Land of the Fanns. The book, containing stories gathered from local people across the area about what makes it special to them and illustrated with images of the 100 flags created with communities by arts organisation, Kinetika, can be purchased from the Thames Chase Forest Centre.

The Land of the Fanns covers an area of 185 square kilometres from east London to south west London, and is an area diverse in landscapes with much of that landscape still agricultural.

Thames21 is a strategic partner in the Scheme. Other partners are: Essex County Council, Forestry England, Thames Estuary Partnership, Brentwood Borough Council, London Borough of Havering, London Borough of Barking & Dagenham, and Thurrock Council. Thames Chase Trust is the lead partner and legacy body for the Scheme as it comes to a conclusion in 2022. These partners have a shared goal of enabling local people to discover, restore and enjoy what’s special about the local landscape.

To find out more about the Land of the Fanns and how you can get involved in environmental and heritage projects, please go to Information about the Thames Chase Community Forest can be found at