Mother nature is reclaiming Walthamstow

After years of behind-the-scenes development, Europe's biggest urban wetlands is finally opening... and it's a sight (and site) to behold.

If, like us, you’re a fan of London’s natural side, then we’ve got some news that’ll have you chirping with excitement.

After years of behind-the-scenes development, Europe’s biggest urban wetlands is finally opening… and it’s a sight to behold.

The huge 520 acre reserve is located in an unexpectedly beautiful spot between Walthamstow and Tottenham. Incredibly, it’s under a 10 minute stroll from Tottneham Hale station, but feels a world away – an amazing example of the suprising biodiversity our city has to offer.


The site has been created from 10 operational reservoirs, large enough to hold a third of London’s water supply.  Through the hard work of the London Wildflife Trust charity alongside owners, Thames Water (and with funding from the Heritage Lottery, LB Waltham Forest and TfL), the reservoirs have been transformed into a public space where we can finally appreciate the expanses of wetland that have sadly been closed off to the public for many years. And in terms of wildlife, this is on a whole different level from what you’ll see pretty much anywhere else in London.

A designated Site of Special Scientific Interest, Walthamstow Wetlands’ position in the Lee Valley makes it a bird-lovers paradise – home to the region’s largest heronry, cormorants and wintering populations of pochard, shoveler and gadwalls. You might even be lucky enough to spot the mangnificent kingfisher in all its bright colours.

For those less excited by the winged wonders, there’s 13 miles of footpath to roam and a cycle track connecting this reserve up with Woodberry Wetlands down by Manor House. The Grade-II listed Coppermill Towet has been refurbished now has a viewing point offering visitors spectacular panoramic views across the Lee Valley, east to the Olympic Park and west into the central London. The old Marine Engine House has been converted into a visitor centre with a cafe and exhibition space. There’s even a unique swift tower to house nesting birds and roosting bats.

The Wetlands are now open 7 days a week, between 9.30am to 4pm (October to March) and 9.30am to 5pm (April to September). The nearest stations are Tottenham Hale and Blackhorse Road. If you’re interested in volunteering, you can find out more here.

Been to visit? Let us know how you got on below or over at our Facebook group: London’s ethical city explorers.


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