Thames Landscape Strategy

Biodiversity, Habitat Restoration, Streetscape and Landscape


Achievement and Success: Landscape restoration, biodiversity and streetscape

Landscape restoration, biodiversity and streetscape achievement include:

  • The implementation of major landscape improvement works at more than 36 sites; across four local authorities, including two historic royal palaces, two SSSI sites and ten registered historic landscape sites.
  • Worked with 20 strategic partners, with 15 core funding partners, and more than 180 community groups and special interest societies.
  • The first TLS implemented project in Feb 1995 was enhancements to King Henry VIII‟s Mound in Richmond Park, provided a viewing area to enhance the keyhole vista to St Paul’s Cathedral and the panoramic view to Windsor Castle. This set a precedent for the partnership working.
  • In 1997 restoration of lost Lancelot „Capability‟ Brown vistas at Syon Park and re-instatement of the historic Kew Meridian to the King’s Observatory demonstrated the commitment to enhancing the landscape across private grounds for the public benefit would be supported.
  • Production of landscape restoration masterplans for the Ham Avenues and the Old Deer Park- both by Kim Wilkie
  • Restoration of the Ham Avenues involving scrub clearance, new tree planting, timber fence replacement carried out by local volunteers, school pupils, inmates from HMP Latchmere House and Feltham young offenders institute– ongoing.
  • Construction of two sand martin banks at Eel Pie Island and Richmond Park – 2008 and 2012
  • Restoration of Hunter’s Pond – 2005
  • Restoration of the Hampton Court Avenues including the Long Water Avenue- Historic Royal Palaces 2006
  • Major landscape enhancements at Bushy Park and Syon Estate- Royal Parks and Syon Estates – ongoing
  • Production and phased implementation of the Hurst Park Management Plan – ongoing
  • Garden Restoration of many locally important sites
  • Celebrated the 100 year anniversary of the 1902 act to protect the view from Richmond Hill by launching and subsequent implementation the London’s Arcadia project. This £5.4M project, part funded by the Heritage Lottery Fund, saw the implementation of 7 major landscape projects on and below Richmond Hill. It engaged volunteers in environmental improvements and awareness raising for a total of 105,000 hours. Delivered workshops to 5695 pupils at 31 schools in Richmond and neighbouring boroughs. Worked with over 4000 family members in activity days. Provided 45,000 education and walking leaflets to the community. Delivered 25 targeted projects to vulnerable and hard to reach groups. Engaged with the public at 23 community events, producing 7 new learning resources by working with 12 partner delivery organisation – 2001 – 2009
  • Development and installation of bat friendly lighting on the Warren Footpath linked to the restoration of the Ham Avenues and habitat improvements around Ham House that collectively support the Bat super highway linking the feeding grounds along the river and its towpaths with the roosting sites within Richmond Park.. This demonstrated that interconnected landscapes can be managed in a holistic way.
  • Undertaken demonstration projects such as the Albany Reach, East Molesey riverbank restoration project. The project to re-introduce 350m of naturalised river bank was completed in 1998. It has continued to be improved, providing better habitat for wildlife and an aesthetically enhanced environment for people to enjoy views across the river to Hampton Court Palace.
  • Restoration of the Home Park Water Meadows – ongoing
  • Assistance in the restoration of Marble Hill House Gardens- with English Heritage – ongoing
  • Preparation of a garden restoration masterplan and part implementation at Canbury Gardens – ongoing
  • Major enhancements to Waterman’s Park – 1996 – 2002
  • Advised on the preparation of Kew Gardens Landscape Masterplan and World Heritage Site Management Plan
  • Advised on the preparation of the Hampton Court Landscape Management Plan
  • Restoration of the Richmond Promenade pocket parks including Bridge House garden, bandstand Gardens and Rotary Gardens- 2003 – 2009.
  • Restoration of Petersham Lodge Wood- ongoing
  • Restoration of Cholmondeley Walk – 2003
  • Restored the historic wharf by the White Cross pub at Richmond riverside- 2005.
  • Followed a holistic approach to landscape maintenance; using traditional timber tree fences rather than plastic guards, using volunteers to control weeds around newly planted hedges, pulling Himalayan balsam by hand rather than spraying, using willow spilling for riverbank stabilisation, allowing native plants to grow in rural areas but controlling them in formal urban areas, and provision of dead wood loggeries in rural areas when bank side trees are removed.
  • Orleans house garden was restored to a Regency flowery woodland in the grounds to complement the historic art gallery by volunteers who also maintain the grounds – ongoing.
  • Re-opening of the view to Marble Hill House and Orleans House from the river by the removal of scrub on the towpath boundary by volunteers – 2002.
  • Publication of the Brentford a Waterway Town! Masterplan- 2010
  • Reed bed planting by Twickenham towpath – 2007.
  • Species rich wildflower meadow planting in 14 locations.
  • Hedge laying, carried out by volunteers in 16 locations including Petersham Meadows, Ham Avenues and Nightingale Lane.  Introduced fruit trees into hedgerows to encourage local food production.
  • Streetscape enhancements to Twickenham Embankment – 2010
  • Streetscape enhancements to Isleworth Promenade – 2005
  • Streetscape enhancements to Brentford Creek – 2012
  • Putting the Thames Back into Kingston started in 2006. This included new landscape works such as lighting, footpaths, cycleways, street furniture and signage, with improved links from the town centre to the river. It also included a programme of community events such as the Kingston Festival of the River, carried out in partnership with Kingston Town Centre Management to promote the riverside as a vibrant place to visit.
  • Streetscape enhancements to Kingston Riverside- ongoing
  • Tree planting on Thames Path at Richmond Road Isleworth – 2005
  • Conducts a continuing programme of river related environmental monitoring, such as the work undertaken during the “draw off‟. This programme incorporates invasive species monitoring with the Zoological Society of London and Marine Conservation Society. As it utilises a network of volunteer groups it also leads to greater awareness of the issues regarding river pollution and invasive species problems.
  • Co-ordinated monthly bat surveys between Twickenham and Richmond
  • Works with London Biodiversity Action Plan partners to deliver projects that address local and regional priority habitat and species specific improvements. These include creating new reed beds, supporting bat populations and planting Black poplars within the Thames floodplain.
  • Contributed towards major strategic plans such as Water Framework Directive Thames liaison panel, Thames Estuary Flood Risk Management study and Tidal Thames Habitat Action Plan Working Group.
  • Published the Restoration of the Lost Floodplain report to guide TLS project work
  • Incorporated increased flood risk due to climate change into the projects being delivered. For example, the Hammerton’s and Douglas boardwalks which provide dry routes away from the towpath. These traditional oak built boardwalks have been designed to allow them to be raised in height as the level of flood increases



The following photographs demonstrate the variety of work completed by the Thames Landscape Strategy



rich riverside before
Richmond Riverside before Restoration


rich riverside after
Richmond Riverside After Restoration



twickenham embankment after
Completed Twickenham Embankment



ham aves before
Ham Avenues before Restoration





ham aves after 2
Completed Ham Avenues



st helena terrace after
St Helena Terrace – re-instatement of historic wharf cobbles



st paul's vista
Re-opening of the Vista to St. Paul’s from King Henry’s Mound





opening marble hill vista
Re-opening of the Marble Hill Vista



opened marbles vista
Re-opening of the Marble Hill Vista – completed



ham aves volunteers 4
Hedge planting Ham Avenues



lights rich hill
Installation of new street lights Richmond Hill



lights orlean
Installation of new Street Lights Orleans Road



chol wlak after
Over 200 new Benches along the Thames Path



volunteer 7
Construction of over 1000m of dead hedge



fence making
Construction of over 1.5km of specially made fencing and railing



ham aves opening
The Opening of the Restored Great South Avenue




chol walk before
Before the Restoration of Cholmondeley Walk


chol walk after
After the Restoration of Cholmondeley Walk



chitty hole after
Restoration of Chitty Hole



bridge house after
Construction of a new link between Thames Path and Richmond Bridge



bridgehouse garden after 3
Restoration of  Bridge  House  Gardens



albany reach
Naturalisation of 400m of Riverbank at Albany Reach



Syon House and tidal flood meadows
Re-opening of the Syon Vista to connect Syon House with the river and Kew Gardens


Restoration of Home Park Water Meadows

Bank restoration in Home Park


2km of native hedge planting and subsequent layering

14marchKMKviewup Hill BEST
Layed hedgeing


Avenue Restoration

Great South Avenue and Ham House after restoration 09
Great South Avenue and Ham House after restoration 09



4 Hedge work German School River Lane
Hedgeplanting and rustic fencing on River Lane in Petersham, project with the German School


The Restoration of the View from Richmond Hill


Official opening of the Restored View from Richmond Hill
Official opening of the Restored View from Richmond Hill





Restoring the view
Volunteers Cllr Tony Arbour (Richmond), Ms Jerry Hall (local resident), and TLS Co-ordinator Jason Debney


Tree planting



Looking up the Hill before the Restoration



Looking up the Hill after Restoration


The new steps



Richmond Hill Steps before the Restoration


After the Restoration



The Restored View from Richmond Hill


The TLS Mistletoe Project

Monitoring mistletoe growth


Installation of Three Sand Martin Banks (TLS is lead organisation in region for sand martins)

Artificial bank on Eel Pie Island



Cleaning out Sandmartin next boxes


Installation of Eight Otter Holts

Artificial Holts

Wetland Creation

Installing new vegetation in wetlands


Floodplain Restoration

Constructing sluices to manage water flow


Using traditional skills and materials


Planting up wetland habitats and riparian vegetation


Reed bed Planting

Reed planting in Twickenham


Reeds taking hold


The design and installation of the UK’s most bat friendly lighting!

The problem

Light Pollution on the River before the Project

The solution – a revolutionary new light, commissioned by the TLS.  The light set a new standard and was used in the Queen Elizabeth II Olympic Park.

New Lighting along Warren Footpath – LED bat friendly


Boardwalk Construction (dry routes)

The Problem!

broken boardwalk
Broken boardwalk



Completed Hammerton’s Boardwalk


Completed Boardwalk at High Tide


Second Completed Boardwalk



 Further information and documents:

Report on ZSLs Freshwater Bivalve Survey in the Upper Tidal Thames

Warren Footpath Paper 2009

KewWoodlandreport-July2008, KewInvertebratereport 2008, Kew Ha ha species list 2008

Estuary Edges – a Thames Estuary Partnership and Environment Agency guide to ecological design of bankside works
Policy, Legal and Planning Requirements
Design Considerations
The Designs
Bioengineered Designs
Biotechnically Engineered Designs
Structurally Engineered Designs
Aftercare and Monitoring

Useful Links:

London Biodiversity Partnership
UK Post-2010 Biodiverstiy Framework
JNCC – UK BAP Priority Species and Habitats
Bat Conservation Trust
Richmond Park Wildlife
Busy Park Wildlife
Zoological Society of London
British Trust for Conservation Volunteers
Richmond Environment Network events calendar