Walthamstow Wetlands - Walthamstow, London, UK
Posted by: Groundspeak Premium Member OrientGeo
N 51° 35.139 W 000° 03.254
30U E 704069 N 5719066
Quick Description: A fully operational Thames Water reservoir complex in the Lea Valley, much of which is open to the public as a nature reserve, managed by the London Wildlife Trust.
Location: London, United Kingdom
Date Posted: 4/7/2021 10:16:33 AM
Waymark Code: WM143J7
Published By: Groundspeak Premium Member Bear and Ragged
Views: 10

Long Description:
Walthamstow Reservoirs is a fully operational complex of ten reservoirs in the Lea Valley that is bisected by Ferry Lane linking Walthamstow to Tottenham. Blackhorse Road and Tottenham Hale stations are along this road and lie just to the east and just to the west of the reservoirs respectively. The full site covers 211 hectares and supplies water to 3.5 million Londoners.

In 2017 a three-way partnership between Thames Water, the London Wildlife Trust and the London Borough of Waltham Forest came together to open part of the site to the public as a nature reserve. Access is possible at three points - Ferry Lane, Lockwood Way at the north east of the site, and from Coppermill Lane at the south end of the site. The coordinates for this Waymark are for the visitor centre and cafe located off Ferry Lane. There is a small car park at this location.

The visitor centre is located in the locally-listed Engine House and contains a cafe, educational facilities and a small bookshop. A second historic building on the site is the Copper Mill.

Bird habitat includes large expanses of open water, some wooded islands that support breeding bird colonies, small areas of reedbed and marginal vegetation, and some patches of woodland and scrub. The Coppermill Stream flows through the site and there is also a flood relief channel.

This location is one of several in this part of the Lea Valley which is of interest to bird watchers, including nearby the Middlesex Filter Beds, Walthamstow Marshes and the WaterWorks Nature Reserve.

Opening and closing times are subject to seasonal variation and are roughly 9:30am to 4pm, but you should check the linked website for the latest details. A permit system is in place allowing out-of-hours access and access to restricted areas for serious naturalists - contact the London Wildlife Trust for details.

Ornithological Summary

The London Bird Club lists the ornithological interest as follows:


The larger reservoirs are typical in having concrete banks and, at first glance, offer little to tempt any passing migratory wader. The other lakes have the appearance of those left after gravel extraction.
Although a visit at any time of year can be rewarding, the site can be quiet in the summer except for the large numbers of breeding Cormorant, Grey Heron, Tufted Duck, Lesser Black-backed Gull and Common Tern. The reservoirs hold nationally important numbers of Tufted Duck in the early autumn — during July to early September their numbers will peak at about 2000!

In winter, relatively large numbers of ducks and geese can be present, and it is always worth checking the adjacent filter beds on Coppermill Lane for gulls. March is the best time for Mediterranean Gull and November for Yellow-legged Gull, although both have been known to overwinter. There are a number of islands, each with its own character. The island on East Warwick usually holds breeding Lesser Black-backed Gull and Herring Gull, and Common Tern can be found on several purpose-built rafts around the site in summer; the island is also a favoured spot for Lapwing. Reservoir Nos.1 and 2 hold the famous heronry, nesting beginning in early February; No.1 island held London's first breeding Little Egret in summer 2006, with two pairs in summer 2007. The island on the No.5 holds the even more famous Cormorant colony - the population numbers around 300 pairs, with most activity from late February to late July.

If you wish to see passage waders, it is worth visiting the site at first light, as they have a habit of disappearing after flushing. If a reservoir is drained, anything could occur. Note that during persistent rain, waders appear throughout the day. If you fancy your chances of finding a scarce Diver or Grebe, keep your eyes open: the last Black-throated Diver crashed into pylons and landed in the Coppermill Stream, beside the Low Maynard.

With this group of reservoirs lying next to the river Lea [being part of the Lea Valley Regional Park], it is likely that birds use the river for navigation, and therefore anything can turn up. A sizable flock of Tree Sparrow used to frequent the centre of the site (near the island with breeding herons), but they died out during the mid-1990s. Other small birds to keep an eye out for are Wheatear, Whinchat and Stonechat, but it is also worth grilling any pipits and larks for waifs and strays.

Park Name: Walthamstow Wetlands

Sponsoring Organization: London Wildlife Trust

Handicap Accessible?: Yes

Website: [Web Link]

Entrance Fee: 0.00 (listed in local currency)

List any Hides, Birding Towers, or other structures to assist in Birdwatching found at the location:
There is a visitor centre, multiple paths and two birdwatching hides.

Parking Coordinates: N 51° 35.139 W 000° 03.254

Visit Instructions:
A clear, original image is required to log a visit to a waymark in this category. The image must contain a bird at the site, a nest, or other evidence that visitors partook in the delight of birdwatching at this site. Please tell us about your experience with an identification of a bird or two that you've seen!
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Master Mariner visited Walthamstow Wetlands - Walthamstow, London, UK 4/11/2021 Master Mariner visited it