Walthamstow Wetlands

521ac/211ha  

Grid ref: TQ 350 892 (click for o/s map)


Updated 10/12/2020.

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This nature reserve has been developed around Thames Water's supply reservoirs in the Lea Valley. They have been improved for wildlife such as by planting trees and aquatic vegetation; the 19th century Marine Engine House has been adapted to serve as a visitor centre; 13 miles of pathway have been laid out; and the Coppermill Tower to the south provides a high-level viewing platform.

Its birdlife is spectacular, and not just in London terms. Around 2,000 tufted duck gather in late summer, followed in winter by large numbers of pochard, gadwall and shoveler, and an occasional scaup. However, these birds are distributed across a large area of water, and sometimes you have to seek them out.

Cormorants and little egrets nest on the wooded islands and there is also a large heronry. Other breeding birds include kingfisher, cetti's warbler, great crested grebe and little grebe. Peregrine falcons fly through now and again, and a variety of ducks, waders and songbirds stop off on migration.

The reservoirs just south of the visitor centre are the oldest and the most interesting for wildlife, with natural banks and mature marginal vegetation, that has been supplemented by new plantings.

The birdlife should get even better as these plantings mature, as the diving ducks that predominate are joined by dabbling ducks that appreciate aquatic vegetation.

Visiting

Main entrance on Forest Road (A503). Limited parking on-site. Cycle/pedestrian entrances from Blackhorse Lane and Coppermill Lane. SatNav: N17 9NH.

10 minutes' walk from Tottenham Hale and Blackhorse Road stations (Victoria line tube and overground) and on bus routes 123 and 230.

Open 9.30am–5pm April to September, otherwise until 4pm.

Spring and early summer for breeding birds; late summer through the winter for wildfowl.

No dogs except assistance dogs allowed on site.

PLease respect other users of the site – it is an operational site for Thames Water and also a recreational fishery. Children under 16 must be accompanied by an adult.


© Tony Gunton