Our rivers can help us now

Wednesday, March 25, 2020

We hope you're all well and keeping your spirits up out there; the coronavirus outbreak is creating a lot of anxiety and disruption. We want to let you know how we're responding to this challenging time and we hope this update will inspire you with ways you can remain connected to your rivers and wildlife, while staying safe.

Visited responsibly, our rivers and green spaces can help us maintain wellbeing during this stressful time. While we need to stay at home as much as possible, we're still allowed to take one form of exercise a day, for example for a walk or cycle ride. Depending on where you live, there could be an undiscovered stretch of river waiting for you to find it.

When visiting our green and blue spaces we need to do so responsibly or risk losing our freedom to visit them, as London Mayor Sadiq Khan wrote last Sunday. It's vital that we adhere to the updated government guidelines: see below.

We're following the government guidance to contain the outbreak and have postponed all our events for the rest of March, April and May, including our much loved volunteering sessions, educational outreach sessions and those run from our Environmental Education Centre near the Welsh Harp nature reserve. 

London Rivers Week, originally scheduled to take place from 23-31 May, has been postponed until the autumn and we'll let you know the new date soon.

Green space benefits our physical and mental health; and being near blue-green space has unique benefits. Fresh air, sunlight and exercise are also all beneficial for our immune systems. For now, green spaces are no longer places to meet up with friends and be sociable, but they still offer us sanctuary, peace and a place to recharge. Read the guidance below and use common sense. There are nearly 400 miles of river in London to discover, much of them little-known and little-visited. This may make some stretches ideal places for social distancing, as long as it's safe to visit them. You can use our Secret Nature Oases in London map to help you do that (but check any local guidance on visiting public parks first as some parks have been closed).

Even better, do your own exploring using Google Maps. Connect with us on social media (TwitterFacebookInstagram); share your riverside nature discoveries with the hashtag #Riverwatch and if you see any grotspots, let us know so we can plan a clean-up once it's appropriate to do so!

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