The commercial watercress industry ceased in the Riverside Road site in the 1970s. A lot of the springs had dried up. Some of the productive land was used for allotment but there was a lot of fly tipping so it needed some attention. St Albans District Council asked interested local groups to bid to manage the site for a rent of just £50 p.a. and the Watercress Wildlife Association was successful. The site was eventually cleared and they turned into a wonderful wildlife haven. It was officially opened in 1992 by the naturalist, David Bellamy.
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