NCRA NewsMail

23 August 2018 

LOCAL SOCIETIES & ORGANISATIONS - Part 7 Friends of the Shuttle (FotS) 

The group was formed by a core group of Thames 21 volunteers in 2012. The loss of funding for Thames 21's Shuttle Riverkeeper Joanne Bradley meant that the active group she had been leading on the Shuttle for several years was put at risk. Keen to ensure that their good work could continue Joanne formed the Friends group. Friends of the Shuttle are a group of volunteers keen to conserve and promote the wildlife and biodiversity of the River Shuttle and to give people a chance to get involved. 

The River Shuttle is a tributary of the River Cray. Flowing east from Eltham into Bexley, it then continues through Riverside Parks into Bexley Park Woods, along Riverdale Road and then follows the south side of the A2 until it flows into the River Cray just south of Hall Place.

A walk called the Shuttle Riverway follows the river for its entire length of five miles (about 8 km). It follows the river where possible but also uses woods, parks, alleyways and some linking roads. 

FotS volunteers meet at various points to clear litter from the channel and keep it clear for wildlife and for those who enjoy walking along its banks. But FotS are involved in more than just litter picking. Its work also includes river enhancements, wildlife walks and surveying, removal of invasive species and talking to the general public about what the River Shuttle has to offer. Two years ago Bexley Council asked FotS to take on the maintenance of the pollinator-friendly borders in the beautiful Old English Garden opposite Danson House which were at risk of being turfed over as a result of budgetary constraints. The resulting group now meet every Thursday from 10am-1pm and has made a huge difference. 

Volunteers are able to learn new practical skills, see a part of Bexley Borough that they may not yet have discovered, enjoy fresh air and exercise, and all in the company of very friendly, like-minded people. 

To find out more about what the Friends of the Shuttle do, follow this link