What is the course about?
London’s rivers provide a wildlife highway into the city and support a huge array of life, from eels to kingfishers. The Thames has transformed since the 'great stink' of 1858 and is now one of the cleanest city rivers in the world. This course provides an introduction to London’s rivers followed by three riverside walks in very different areas; one in central London, one in Deptford and one in Barnes (not necessarily in that order). Start and finish points will be accessible by public transport. Exact locations and meeting points will be discussed in the first session.
What will we cover?
• The history of settlement in London and how this altered the river environment
• The Industrial revolution and its impacts on the Thames
• Current challenges for London’s rivers and some initiatives to improve river health
• The science of tides
• River invertebrates
• Fish diversity
• River birds
• Mammals of the Thames
• Plant communities beside London’s rivers.
What will I achieve?
By the end of this course you should be able to...
• Outline the historic factors which transformed the Thames into the river we see today
• Give an overview of the current health of London’s rivers; including challenges and initiatives to address them
• Identify a number of river birds and riverside trees and plants
• Walk alongside London’s rivers with increased awareness and enjoyment, noticing and being able to describe the
wildlife they sustain.
What level is the course and do I need any particular skills?
This is an introductory course and is open to all. No prior knowledge of the subject is required. However, you will
need a good grasp of English to keep up with the course and to participate fully in discussions. You need to be mobile enough to complete a leisurely 2 hour walk, sometimes along rough paths.
How will I be taught, and will there be any work outside the class?
The first session will be an introduction at City Lit and will include tutor presentation and group tasks. The following 3 sessions will take place at outdoor riverside locations and will include observation and identification of river features and wildlife, group discussion and questions and answers.
Are there any other costs? Is there anything I need to bring?
You will need to cover the cost of your transport to the meeting places for the walks. Wear comfortable clothing for walking, including sturdy footwear. Consider the weather on the day and bring water, a hat and sun lotion,
or waterproofs as required. Feel free to bring binoculars and a camera if you wish.
When I've finished, what course can I do next?
Look out for our natural history and science courses in the 2019-20 programme.
General information and advice on courses at City Lit is available from the Student Centre and Library on Monday to Friday from 12:00 – 19:00.
See the course guide for term dates and further details