An area of secluded, wet willow woodland and reed swamp teems with wildlife next to south London’s River Wandle.
Spencer Road Wetlands stand on the eastern Wandle floodplain near Hackbridge, on land that was once used for watercress production.
It supports semi-natural, wet woodland (carr) habitats that are considered to be typical of those which might naturally occur alongside the River Wandle.
The main habitats are reed swamp with mixed wetland vegetation, willow carr, sedge-bed, ponds, and mixed broadleaf woodland with marginal riverside vegetation.
Species you can see at Spencer Road Wetlands
Birds: Grey heron, kingfisher, reed warbler, grey wagtail
Invertebrates: Twin-spotted wainscot moth, crescent moth, damselflies
Plants: Wild angelica, greater pond-sedge, lesser water-parsnip, blackcurrant, redcurrant
History of Spencer Road Wetlands
From at least 1895 to 1959 the land was subjected to controlled flooding for the commercial production of watercress; an important agricultural crop for this part of London. After watercress production ceased, the site was left unmanaged, allowing natural colonisation by willow woodland until 1989, when Sutton Conservation Volunteers began working on the site to encourage regeneration of wetland habitats. The Trust has managed the Wetlands since 1989; it was declared a statutory Local Nature Reserve in 1992.
Management of Spencer Road Wetlands
The majority of the work is undertaken by local volunteers, who clear overgrown vegetation and tree branches from the boardwalk and dipping platform, as well as rotational cutting of the reedbeds during the winter in order to establish new growth. Willows are also periodically cut back in certain areas.
Facilities at Spencer Road Wetlands
There is a boardwalk and dipping platform.
How to get to Spencer Road Wetlands
There is one entrance, in Spencer Road. The site is served by bus services S1 and 127, which both stop on London Road, about a five-minute walk away. The nearest railway stations are Mitcham Junction and Hackbridge, both about a 15-minute walk away in opposite directions along London Road.
Opening times for Spencer Road Wetlands
The reserve only opens to the public on specific work days when volunteers are present.
Accessibility at Spencer Road Wetlands
The site is step-free and flat. There is a mixture of boardwalks, which are anti-slip, and footpaths. There is a bench by the entrance. Street parking is available in Spencer Road.
Status of Spencer Road Wetlands
Part of a Site of Metropolitan Importance for Nature Conservation, Local Nature Reserve
Get involved at Spencer Road Wetlands