Walthamstow Wetlands

Walthamstow Wetlands is London’s largest urban wetland nature reserve, providing a home to many important wildlife species. The nature reserve encompasses 10 large reservoirs, which deliver water to 3.5 million Thames Water customers.

We worked with designers Polimekanos, in collaboration with Thames Water, who wanted an educational wayfinding system along a walkers’ trail. The designers had developed the concept of a series of engraved bronze plaques and monolith structures to direct the attention of walkers to local features in Europe’s largest urban wildlife area. With considerable experience with outdoor wayfinding signage, we were commissioned to manufacture and install a series of 18 information markers along the route around the reserve.

The Solution

The design concept called for bronze, however, using our extensive knowledge of suitable materials and experience with the outdoor environment, we proposed using aluminium sheets coated with VeroMetal, finished with a lacquered coating, to give the bronze appearance to meet the designer’s brief. Not only is this a much cheaper option, but the material has superb longevity, resistance to the elements and doesn’t rust.

The interesting ‘roof-like’ shape of the structures proved a challenge to our manufacturing team and we had to make the engraved text deeper than usual because the markers would sit quite low to the ground and therefore had to be visible to walkers at an angle.

Walthamstow Wetlands covers more than 500 acres of lakes and countryside, so it was quite an undertaking to identify the exact positions. But with the aid of maps and photos, we marked each site with marker posts prior to installation. Concrete plinths were inset securely and anchored to each of the information markers and positioned correctly in relation to the approach along the path, so that they would orientate the reader with local features of interest.

The high level of liaison with stakeholders and the detail in planning at every stage of the process meant that the client was delighted; they got exactly the look they wanted, but at a reduced cost and the project went smoothly and met the launch deadline date for the trail.

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