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Wilderness Island

An enticing nature trail between two babbling arms of the River Wandle.

Follow our enticing nature trail between two babbling arms of the River Wandle through fruit trees and crack willow to a vibrant meadow.

A fascinating variety of habitats can be seen in this site, ranging from ponds and wetlands to woods and wildflower meadows.

The woodlands provide a valuable habitat for many species of birds and invertebrates.

You can see all three species of woodpecker - but only great spotted breeds regularly. In summer, you may hear warblers such as blackcap and chiffchaff singing, and they often stay to breed.

A black poplar tree grows here, which supports a rare moth - the hornet clearwing. Several species of butterfly can also be seen, including speckled wood, holly blue and comma.


The ponds are an important feature of the island and they have been colonised by a wide variety of wetland plants, including water plantain, yellow flag, reedmace and water crowfoot. Frogs use the ponds to lay their spawn, and dragonflies and damselflies often hunt here in summer.

The river supports good numbers of waterway birds for an urban river, particularly moorhens. You may see little grebes hiding close to the bank while you may see grey wagtails near the weir where they have bred.

And if you're very lucky, you may see the blue flash of a kingfisher flying past. 
 
The meadows are rich in both invertebrate and meadow flower species.

Here, you can see the small lilac flowers of vervain, a rare species to find in London.

If you look closely you may see the brightly coloured small copper butterfly among the more plentiful skippers and meadow brown.

You may also hear the crackle of Roesel's bush cricket, which has been likened to an electrical discharge.

Habitats you'll see

Woodland, river, pond and meadow

Species you might spot

Woodpeckers, kingfisher and grebes; black poplar; hornet clearwing moth, speckled wood butterfly, holly blue butterfly and comma butterfly; water-plantain, yellow flag, great reedmace and water crowfoot; Roesel's bush cricket.

If you spot these or any other species, please s
ubmit your wildlife sightings to Greenspace Information for Greater London (GiGL) to help build a picture of London's nature!

Visit us
 
The entrance is at the junction of Mill Lane/River Gardens and Strawberry Lane in Carshalton.

Unstaffed.

Open at all times.

Get involved

Search for volunteering sessions at Wilderness Island on the south London volunteering page.

Site status

Site of Metropolitan Importance; Local Nature Reserve

 

Species and habitats

Habitats
Meadow, Standing water, Woodland

Nearby nature reserves

Spencer Road Wetlands
1 miles - London Wildlife Trust
Howell Hill
4 miles - Surrey Wildlife Trust
Riddlesdown SSSI
4 miles - London Wildlife Trust

Nature reserve map

Reserve information

Location
Mill Lane, Hackbridge
Hackbridge
Greater London
SM5 2NH
Map reference
TQ282653
Best time to visit
Apr - Aug
Get directions
Find out here
Public transport
Plan your journey
Opening Times
Open at all times
Access
Yes

Public footpaths around the reserve, but the terrain is difficult in places. No wheelchair access available.
Walking information
No wheelchair access.
Parking
Local street level parking, but restrictions in some areas.
Dogs
Dogs allowed
Grazing animals
No
Reserve manager
Derek Coleman
Tel: 020 8669 7421
enquiries@wildlondon.org.uk