Council wins £500k funding for rewilding Enfield Chase

Money will be spent on developing a ‘landscape recovery scheme’ for the former royal hunting ground, reports James Cracknell

Enfield Chase Restoration Project
New ponds have been created as part of Enfield Chase Restoration Project and could be replicated elsewhere

Enfield Council has been awarded £500,000 in government funding to help restore natural habitats around its newly-planted woodland in Enfield Chase.

The government named Enfield Chase as one of 22 landscape recovery schemes it would be supported to help restore lost biodiversity across England.

The £1.3million Enfield Chase Restoration Project was originally launched two years ago with the aim of planting 100,000 trees along a corridor of land between Trent Park and Clay Hill, an area which once formed part of the historic Enfield Chase royal hunting ground but had been heavily deforested after the 18th Century.

The project later won an award from the Forestry Commission.

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Now the initial planting phase is complete, the new funding will help the council develop plans for restoring other areas of Enfield Chase, with a focus on restoring the natural courses and conditions of streams; reconnecting these streams with floodplains; creating a “mosaic of habitats”; restoring wetlands; and creating and improving woodland.

Although the government grant will not itself pay for the physical work involved, it will allow the council to develop a wider plan for Enfield Chase and engage with stakeholders.

A council spokesperson said: “We will be working with partners including Thames21 to carry out surveys and identify the best way to carry out the project – maximising outcomes for people and wildlife, access and biodiversity, social and environmental benefits, with a focus on water – i.e. river restoration, wetlands, natural flood management.”

John Cole, from the Friends of Enfield Chase voluntary group, told the Dispatch: “We are really excited about the possibilities but we realise there is a lot more work to be done to take it forward.”

Separately, the council has confirmed that funding has been made available for the planting of between 30,000 and 40,000 trees next year, as an expansion to the 100,000 trees planted at Enfield Chase since 2020.

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