A grant of almost £2m will fund a five-year project to revitalise the River Wandle.

The Heritage Lottery Fund (HLF) confirmed yesterday it will be funding the Living Wandle Landscape Partnership project with £1,915,000.

The scheme aims to bring out the natural and historic features of the 20-mile river which meanders from its source in the Surrey Hills feeding into the Thames in Wandsworth.

The HLF’s Landscape Partnership programme will work alongside the London Borough councils of Merton, Wandsworth, Sutton and Croydon as well as other organisations including the National Trust, Wandle Trust and Wandle Valley Regional Park Trust.

Wandsworth Councillor Sara McDermott, a board member of the Wandle Valley Regional Park Trust, said: "This is great news. The Living Wandle Landscape Partnership project will really raise the profile of this much loved and historic river and shows a real determination to improve the river and highlight its important heritage.

"Over the next five years all the partners involved in the regeneration of the Wandle will be working on a range of exciting projects to involve local people in celebrating the history of the river and safeguarding its future. We are all committed to bringing this river back to the heart of south London life."

The HLF has already contributed to funding for major projects along the River Wandle, including at Morden Hall Park, Wandle Park in Croydon and Carshalton Ponds.

Merton’s cabinet member for community and culture Councillor Nick Draper said: "This is great news. At last we’ll be able to properly celebrate Merton as one of the most important cultural, religious and political centres of medieval Britain.

"Thank you for your hard work, Priory Trust, and thank you Heritage Lottery Fund for awarding us the money."

Croydon’s cabinet member for highways and environmental services Councillor Phil Thomas said: "Croydon Council is excited at the news that this partnership bid has been successful. Our vision for Waddon Ponds is for the grounds to become more of a wetland park as opposed to formal gardens.

"This will mean that local people have a natural environment to relax in what is a busy urban neighbourhood."