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Isleworth Ait

An undisturbed sanctuary for birds, beetles and rare molluscs on an island in the middle of the River Thames

This small island, or ‘ait’, is one of the Trust's more unusual reserves - and benefits from its isolation from people.

It is remarkable for its tall canopy of mixed woodland, rooted on a bank of ground that is regularly inundated by high tides, and supports one of the only remaining areas of natural tidal marginal habitat still not developed or canalised on the Thames.

The Ait also provides an undisturbed sanctuary for a variety of birds, and supports several rare mollusc populations.


Species you can see at Isleworth Ait

Birds: Kingfisher, song thrush, treecreeper, great crested grebe, grey wagtail, house martin, swallow, swift, heron

Invertebrates: German hairy snail, two-lipped door snail

Plants: Crack willow, hawthorn, marsh marigold, summer snowflake


History of Isleworth Ait

Isleworth Ait was historically part of the Syon Park Estate, owned by the Duke of Northumberland, and was once a centre for the production of osier, a type of willow used to weave baskets. Five neighbouring islands have now disappeared. Today Thames Water owns the Ait, after the Metropolitan Water Board bought the island from the Duke of Northumberland in the 1930s. It has been managed by London Wildlife Trust as a nature reserve since 1995.


Facilities at Isleworth Ait

There is a landing jetty for boats but you cannot access the Ait without prior arrangement.


How to get to Isleworth Ait

The best views of the island are from Church Street in Isleworth and two pubs - London Apprentice and Town Wharf - that are both on the Thames Footpath. The H37 bus stops in nearby South Street, as well as Twickenham Road, where the 267 and 481 also stop. The nearest station is Isleworth, a 15-minute walk away.

Isleworth Ait




Opening times for Isleworth Ait

Because of Isleworth Ait’s location on the River Thames, access is limited. The best opportunities to get on to the island are to join one of the regular workdays.


Accessibility at Isleworth Ait

Only accessible by boat via a floating jetty. There are informal footpaths.

Status of Isleworth Ait

Part of a Site of Metropolitan Importance for Nature Conservation


Get involved at Isleworth Ait 


Nearby nature reserves

Gunnersbury Triangle
3 miles - London Wildlife Trust
Crane Park Island
3 miles - London Wildlife Trust
Huckerby's Meadows
4 miles - London Wildlife Trust

Nature reserve map

Reserve information

Isleworth Ait
Greater London
Map reference
Great for...
Best time to visit
Apr - Jul
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Opening Times
By appointment only
3.51 hectares
Permit required

Parking available in surrounding streets
No dogs allowed
Reserve manager
Cliff Watson
Tel: 020 7261 0447