Sir David Attenborough opens Woodberry Wetlands in Stoke Newington – BBC News

Media captionSir David said nature was a source of beauty, excitement and solace

Sir David Attenborough has opened a nature reserve in east London.

Woodberry Wetlands, managed by London Wildlife Trust, is an 11-hectare site that spans an area about the size of 13 football pitches in Stoke Newington.

Sir David said access to the natural world was a “birthright” and should not be regarded as a luxury.

He added: “If it isn’t there it’s a great deprivation, and if it is there, it’s what human beings deserve.

“We are part of it and if we lose contact with the natural world, you lose contact with a great source of pleasure and delight which is your birthright.”

He added: “There’s an awful lot of people, in the cities and elsewhere, who live in a world of concrete and asphalt and brick and glass.

“So it’s a huge, huge benefit.”

Image copyright Getty Images
Image caption The site has 550sq metres of hedgerow, wildflower meadows and fruit trees

The wetlands surround a 19th Century reservoir and a small section of the site has recently been used as a community garden.

London Wildlife Trust said the site had more than 13,000sq metres of reed bed and 550sq metres of hedgerow, wildflower meadows and fruit trees to attract birds, bees, butterflies and other insects.

It added that access to nature was “incredibly important” for people’s well-being, especially in cities.

Image copyright Getty Images
Image caption Sir David said access to the natural world was a “birthright”
Image copyright Getty Images
Image caption The trust said the site is accessible from Leicester Square in 25 minutes
Image copyright London Wildlife Trust
Image caption The reservoir is surrounded by tower blocks
Image copyright London Wildlife Trust
Image caption The reserve will open to the public on Sunday 1 May
Image copyright London Wildlife Trust
Image caption Between 1955 and 1980, chlorine and sodium phosphate gas were pumped into the reservoir to disinfect the water, preventing almost all wildlife from living there, said London Wildlife Trust
Image copyright Penny Dixie
Image caption But once the infiltration stopped, plants and animals began to come back, including species rare to London

Read more: www.bbc.co.uk