Tired of London, Tired of Life - A website about things to do in London

14 March 2011

Walk by the Quaggy floodplain in Sutcliffe Park

An awful lot is written about London's Lost Rivers, so it's great when even part of one is brought back to the surface, or out of narrow pipes and culverts. And that's what happened to the part of the River Quaggy that runs through Sutcliffe Park, in Eltham in South East London in June 2003, when work to restore the river and its flood plain began.

Completed in July 2004, after five years of campaigning by Quaggy Waterways Action Group, and eight years of plans and work by the Environment Agency, the plan was to generate a flood plain to prevent flooding of nearby homes, and that is what has been created.

When your author visited yesterday, it all seemed to be in working order - despite a traffic cone floating in the middle - and it was helping young and old people to learn about how rivers work, which is very commendable.

Whilst the Quaggy Waterways Action Group's plan to make the River Quaggy the first fully restored urban river in the world is still a long way off, they've certainly done a good job here. For more information, see http://www.qwag.org.uk/quaggy/flood.php


  1. An evocative term for the process of restoring rivers in this way is "daylighting". Much nicer than "deculverting", which I've also heard. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Daylighting_(streams)

  2. There's a good chapter on underground rivers in the book London Under London by Richard Trench and Ellis Hillman. The Thames's long abused and buried tributaries have suffered a lot over the city's history, I think that it's time a few more of them were daylighted...

  3. Agreed, and I love the term 'daylighting', even though it presumably also means going to your normal job at the normal time (opposite of 'moonlighting'), which is not actually that fun.

  4. http://wildcornerz.blogspot.co.uk/2011/10/internal-networkz-vol1-quaggy.html