The River Crane forms the West London Green Chain from Harrow to the Thames at Isleworth. The corridor – a mix of meadow, heathland, woodland and scrub – is rich in wildlife and has a unique industrial past. There are places to explore, play, exercise and learn in, plus playgrounds for children to enjoy.
The Friends of the River Crane Environment – FORCE – is a registered charity and community-based voluntary organisation based in Twickenham. They operate in the lower Crane Valley in Richmond and Hounslow with over 700 members and volunteers work to improve local spaces along the lower Crane and Lower Duke of Northumberland River corridors. To get involved and to see what FORCE are up to visit their website force.org.uk.
But FORCE is not alone. There are other organisations who work to improve the green spaces along the lower Crane to improve them for people and wildlife. Many volunteering activities have been on hold due to COVID19, but as restrictions ease there are volunteering opportunities throughout the Crane Valley – here are some of them:
Tidal Crane Association
The Tidal Crane Association is a residents’ group which cares for the tidal stretch of the River Crane between the Northcote Road footbridge to the Thames at Isleworth.
Every year the Association holds a River Celebration Day: an opportunity for neighbours and their families to get together, enjoy the river, clear it of rubbish and help keep it navigable. Everyone whose home backs onto the Crane or is interested in the river is welcome to join in. More information is available at e-voice.org.uk/tca/
Pevensey Road Green Gym Rangers
Activities take place in the beautiful and ecologically important Pevensey Road Open Space.
The volunteer rangers help manage this 10.2-hectare site, which includes areas of wildflower meadows, scrub, woodland and wetlands stretching along the River Crane.
Volunteers meet every Monday from 10:45am to 3pm. For more information email firstname.lastname@example.org
Isleworth Green Gym
Volunteers help transform the public open spaces in and around Redlees and Inwood Parks, including the lower Duke’s River for the benefit of wildlife and the local community. Volunteers are welcome regardless of experience or levels of fitness and meet on Thursdays from 10.45am to 2pm. Email email@example.com to register and for further details.
London Wildlife Trust – Crane Park Island Nature Reserve
Surrounded by the river in Crane Park, the reserve is a mix of woodland, scrub, ditches, ponds and reedbeds providing a home for many important and rare species. The area was once the site of the Hounslow Gunpowder Mills and has been managed by the London Wildlife Trust since 1986.
For volunteering opportunities at Crane Park island with London Wildlife Trust please contact firstname.lastname@example.org or for more information on Crane Park Island visit their website wildlondon.org.uk/nature-reserves/crane-park-island
For wider volunteering opportunities with London Wildlife Trust, please see wildlondon.org.uk/volunteer-with-us
The Conservation Volunteers (TCV) – Richmond
Richmond TCV undertake a diverse range of conservation activities across the borough including many through the Lower Crane Valley. Activities range from planting trees and wildflower meadows, to traditional conservation techniques such as hedge laying and scything. They also run in-river volunteer activities along the Crane and Duke’s rivers such as installing river deflectors and invasive species removal.
To find out more about their activities visit tcv.org.uk/london/richmond/
Friends of Kneller Gardens
Kneller Gardens in West Twickenham is a busy community park, with lots of facilities and activities for families and local people to enjoy. The Friends of Kneller Gardens is a community group committed to improving, protecting and supporting this much-loved park space along the River Crane.
Recently The Friends of Kneller Gardens were delighted to learn that funding was available to renovate the pavilion to include an indoor community space that will host community events all year. To get involved contact the Friends of Kneller Gardens through their Facebook page: facebook.com/Friendsofknellergardens/ or look out for posters in the park.
Alison Horwood, FORCE Trustee