In the previous instalment of rewilding London I discussed the rewilding of a small part of the man made London lake, the Serpentine. In this one though, I will be combatting the larger challenge of rewilding the majority of the lakes main outer borders.
The major issue with the Serpentine is that in it's construction, both the bottom and the banks of the lake were constructed as paved. However, this can be solved by the construction of soil banks in the water, laying soil on top of the concrete at the basin of the lake, while introducing water plants to aerate and break up the soil. The banks would need to be torn up, which would obviously be a major task, and would require a radical re-imagination of the way the public interacts with the lake and the park as a whole.
This however does not need to be a complete project, in fact the best way to go about both readjusting the public's interaction with the changing landscape, and completing the ambitious project in a sustained and manageable way, is to approach the project in parts, focus on rewilding, resoiling and reintroducing plant-life in small pieces of the lake at a time.
On top of this, a model for the style of the banks is incredibly accessible, I have provided a photograph of it, and it's right there, in the lake already. The existing occasional bank with plant-life on it is a perfect model, reeds and shrubbery should be used, creating dense growth to encourage bird life and fish feeding areas. On top of this areas of banks could be similar to the banks of the lake in the Capability Brown Gardens at DSP, with clearings of trees along a grass path, that veers into the water (this would require building up the banks of the Serpentine so the growth of plants around the lake does not interrupt the flow of nature from the bank to the water level) and promotes growth at the margins which is maintained by the passage of people walking alongside it.
A much more natural and lively lake is possible in the Serpentine, and it truly ought to be achieved for the people who enjoy it's serenity everyday, so that they can be joined by nature and animals that no longer get to enjoy this serenity due to actions like paving grounds and banks. It is an ambitious project that will cost time and patience, but it is a possible project, that can be taken slowly, deliberately, and in such a way that it allows the public to conceive a new relationship with the nature they enjoy.