Walking London's rivers

Course Dates: 29/07/19 - 19/08/19
Time: 14:00 - 16:00
Location: KS - Keeley Street
Brenna Boyle

In this relaxed walking programme, we explore the wildlife, ecology and history of London’s rivers. First session at Build, followed by three off-site walks of approximately two hours.

Brenna Boyle (B.Sc Hons Dunelm, M.Sc DIC) is a zoologist, wildlife guide and environmental teacher. She runs Wild Capital, London's wildlife discovery service and also works for two urban environmental education charities.


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 Build 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 Build 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


Customer Reviews 4 item(s)

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Reviews below are by students who have attended this course, regardless of the course teacher. Please be aware you may not be booking onto a course with the same teacher.

Another course under my belt which was presented by a very enthusiastic tutor, the second course I've attended with her. Very enjoyable it was, as was the first.
Course Rating
Review by Wilfred / (Posted on 23/08/2016)
Very interesting overview of the Thames and some of its tributaries, learnt a lot from the tutor and the other participants on the course. Saw my first kingfisher in 20 years - so very satisfied.
Course Rating
Review by jan / (Posted on 22/08/2016)
A fascinating series of walks led by a knowledgeable and likeable zoologist. A great way to discover London's hidden nature.
Course Rating
Review by Janet / (Posted on 22/08/2016)
The zoologist who leads this course is a star who knows the Thames and its tributaries and has clear down a huge amount of preparation. The peregrine falcons arrived on cue when we walked in central London, and the kingfisher and the barred demoiselle damselflies were out on Beverly Brook for us to spot. :)
Course Rating
Review by EMILY / (Posted on 13/08/2016)
Tutor Biographies
We’re sorry. We don’t have a bio ready for the tutor of this class at the moment, but we’re working on it! Watch this space.

Sorry, this course is now full

Course Code: HS099

Full Mon, day, 29 Jul - 19 Aug '19

Duration: 4 sessions (over 4 weeks)

Full fee: £79.00
Senior fee: £63.00
Concession: £35.00

Please note: we offer a wide variety of financial support to make courses affordable. For more information visit our online . You can also visit the Information, Advice and Guidance drop-in service, open from 12 – 6.45, Monday to Friday.