All change at Waterloo!

Bankside Open Spaces Trust is pleased to announce that Waterloo Green is about to change. Over the next few weeks we will be adding more plants, laying a raingarden, altering the cascade water feature and putting in two exciting play sculptures.

What is a raingarden?

A raingarden is a sustainable way of collecting both rainwater and nutrients. It holds water for a time before slowly releasing it into the soil, helping to reduce the impact of heavy rainfall on our sewerage system. Our raingarden will be collecting the runoff from the paths at Waterloo Green. We’ll be planting it with pollinator friendly and scented plants and holding the special sandy biosoil in place with cobbles.

What will the sculptures be?

When we consulted parents, they asked for more activities for children on the green. As part of our marshland themed nature trail, which aims to reveal the marshy history of our area, we’re adding two insect sculptures. The sculptures will be a larger-than-life migrant hawker dragonfly and a fen raft spider. Both will sit along the Waterloo Road edge of the park. The dragonfly will be just under 5m long and just over 1m high and children will be able to climb onto its back, tail and wings. The fen raft spider is to be positioned slightly on the slope and will be 3m long. She’ll have a musical web, inspired by real webs which make sounds to send information to the spider from trapped prey.

The migrant hawker dragonfly is a common sight on our other sites in SE1 including the Tate Community Garden, Crossbones Garden and Redcross Garden. The fen raft spider is now at risk in the UK but hundreds of years ago, when this area was marshland, these would have been a common sight. For more information about insects visit:

To create our sculptures, we’re working with Can of Gas bespoke metalworkers in Bethnal Green with input from RoSPA (The Royal Society for the Prevention of Accidents). Local people have also worked on them, many thanks to our helpers!

Nature trail

We’ll be installing part of our new nature trail, with logs for children to balance and sit on and informal paths around the edge of the park. Later in the year, we’ll be commissioning artists to create information boards giving people, especially children, a playful way of learning about our marshland past.

Below are the designs of the play sculptures and the dragonfly under construction:

Sarah Mangan