Restoring the historic landscape and course of the river Wandle was a key part of Croydon’s vision to improve this urban public park.
Wandle Park was formed from water meadows in the 19th century to provide greatly needed green space for the rapidly growing population of the London Borough of Croydon. Whilst the park was used regularly by local people, signs of vandalism and anti-social behavior affected their overall enjoyment of the park.
Jointly supported by HLF and Big Lottery Fund, the project transformed the park and restored its historic character. The River Wandle was uncovered after decades of being buried underground, creating new bankside and meadow habitats for wildlife.
Improvements to park facilities included new seating, signage and interpretation aimed to appeal to new visitors. A lively programme of activities was developed to attract new audiences, which included creating more volunteering opportunities. The play area was redesigned with the help of local children and the 1950s pavilion was upgraded to provide a café, toilets and improved changing facilities.
Volunteers received training so that they could assist with planning and managing events in the park as well as other park maintenance activities.