This project will transform the filthy Greenford Bridge area and river path along Ruislip Road East.
A phased approach will help manage funding and project delivery.
Phase 1: Upstream of Bridge – 200m
– ease access to river pathway
– revive riverbank by bridge area
– improve light, sight lines and river visibility
– add to riverside biodiversity with native/marginal plants
– introduce boxes, preserve areas to support & protect wildlife
Phase 2: Downstream – 50m
– improve riverside and path
Phase 3: Area opposite Costons Brook
– add ‘Iconic feature’ eg millstone; sculpture in natural material
– build bug hotels
– add to wild meadow area and native/orchard planting
– add information boards
Phase 4: Greenford Ave to Cuckoo Ave
– widen path and manage hedges
– establish river walk along the ‘oxbow’ section
– clear river litter where safe to do so
Phase 5: Cuckoo Ave to Rail Bridge
– improve access, widen/even path for less abled or pushchair passage
What we’ll do:
- create access for all at the bridge and access gate, and improve existing pathway from road to river
- replace broken fencing with a low hedge or safer fencing at the bridge/pavement area
- create an accessible riverside bank area upstream from the bridge along the 50m concrete bank section, keeping key trees
- create specific bankside areas allowing key river features to be seen e.g. small weir, gravel areas, Costons Brook
- improve sight lines from road to river establishing vegetation ‘spinnies’ supporting existing wildlife
- introduce suitable buffer zone of long grasses and herbs alongside the river, to filter pollution and for biodiversity
- add iconic feature in open space, plus defined interest areas with awareness boards, native wildflowers & small orchard
- establish permanent river walk at ‘oxbow’ section in Cuckoo Ave area: clearing; improve hedges; invasives removal
- widen and level exising paths as needed for length of Ruislip Road East
- initial survey to manage trees appropriately and to utilise area for wildlife benefit
- add native planting to promote and maintain habitats that protect and support wildlife
- provide information on the river’s local history, river catchment and ecosystem
- manage invasives appropriately and observe biosecurity practices
- establish a regular programme of events to involve the community in the upkeep and include educational walks and events
Why it’s a great idea:
At the moment the riverside near Greenford Bridge and along Ruislip Road East is invisible or inaccessible to the community – and it has been surrendered to undesirable behaviour. This project will transform a forgotten area into a new ‘river park’ and a major asset – three of Ealing’s wards will directly benefit, plus the wider community will gain access to a renewed healthier, safer, cleaner riverside environment with refreshed native planting supporting a diverse wildlife population.
The existing intensity of the scrub and trees creates dark uninviting paths, hidden pockets and blind bends that makes the area feel unsafe. As a result the area is under-used by the public whereas it should be an integral part of a prosperous inclusive community.
The location is a natural focal point and is part of the local history – the transformed riverside will be an iconic landmark where people can now enjoy the space, learn about its link with the past, and experience the riverside habitat.
How we’ll get it done:
- Involve local community and key stakeholders to contribute to the detailed design or provide advice
- Consult environment/conservation experts to understand which trees/bushes should be kept as preference
- Get approvals from relevant bodies: EA; other projects in the area; infrastructure and services owners
- Involve local Friends and community groups in implementation and provide updates on achievements
- Work with Park Rangers, existing council contractors as appropriate to reduce learning curves & build on relationships
- Involve conservation charities to provide equipment, expertise & volunteer resources to: create paths; remove invasives
- Obtain relevant historic information from Ealing’s Local History
Greenford Bridge is a vital and heavily used communication link for pedestrians, walking groups, cyclists, buses and vehicles. It is used by locals and those passing through Ealing so this area is seen by many people throughout the year.
Creating an iconic open space by the river that people can enjoy and experience safely will benefit and add value for the community, nearby schools, and all the users of this locality, and help connect people more with the environment.
Without the investment this significant space will continue to be an eyesore in parts, perceived as a dangerous place to be avoided, and be a barrier to people’s potential enjoyment.
This project will help reclaim and establish a valuable and healthy green break in people’s suburban living. The variety of wildlife environments created along this river park will give them the opportunity to experience different natural areas in a safe and relaxing way, and enable open access to a river habitat in an urban area.