Crane Park Island
Know before you go
There are entrances by footpath via Ellerman Avenue or Great Chertsey Road. Bus 110 stops in Powder Mill Lane, and bus 111 in Hounslow Road, both near the Ellerman Avenue entrance; buses 481 and H22 stop in Hospital Bridge Road, near Great Chertsey Road. The nearest railway station is Whitton, a 15-minute walk away.
Most of the island is accessible by wheelchair, but one footpath has steps. Paths range from smooth to dirt. There are a number of bridges providing access to the island, without steps. Along the guided walk there is a bench, and seating by the river-dipping platform. The Shot Tower is accessible at ground floor level only, where there are toilets. Limited parking is available on nearby roads.
When to visit
Opening timesThe nature reserve is free to visit at all times. The Shot Tower is open on Sundays 1.30pm-4.30pm and for special events. Call 020 8755 2339 for details.
Best time to visitApril to August
About the reserve
Surrounded by the river in Crane Park, at Whitton near Twickenham, the reserve is a mosaic of woodland, scrub, ditches, ponds and reedbed that has grown up since it stopped being used as an industrial area in the mid-20th century. Crane Park Island now provides a home for many important and rare species and is an important place to learn about the River Crane as it flows downstream towards Isleworth.
At the entrance to the reserve is the Shot Tower, a Grade II listed building formerly used for lead manufacture, that was restored by the Trust in 2004 as a visitor centre. It currently opens to the public every Sunday.
Crane Park Island is a multiple Green Flag award winner.
History of Crane Park Island
Crane Park is the site of the once notorious Hounslow Gunpowder Mills, built where the island is today. There were other mills along the river as far back as 1066, producing swords, oil and flour. After the mills closed, and a brief period as an ornamental boating pond before it became derelict, the pond was drained to create the reserve in the 1981. London Wildlife Trust has managed it since 1986. The site has been surveyed by English Heritage under a project aimed at discovering, recording and managing the archeological remains left in the park. Further investigations into Crane Park's history are due to be undertaken as part of a new London Wildlife Trust project called Explosive Histories, which started in November 2016.
Management of Crane Park Island
Riverside willow and osier are regularly coppiced, reedbeds are cut on rotation, and invasive species management is undertaken regularly.
Status of Crane Park Island
Part of a Site of Metropolitan Importance; Local Nature Reserve
Family learning at Crane Park Island
Crane Park Island hosts a programme of family learning opportunities aimed at the Richmond and Hounslow community. Courses include: Archaeology: Focusing on the amazing industrial archaeology of Crane Park Art Goes Wild: A chance to develop art skills including drawing, painting, printmaking and 3D work mosaics Wildlife Discovery: Exploring and understanding the natural world Tailored programmes for English language learners. Tailored programmes for children under five years The courses are all based at the Shot Tower and use the park and nature reserve as a stimulus. Contact Alex Robb for more details on email@example.com
Explore the wondrous wildlife at Crane Park Island with our nature trail.
Download the sheets below to complete the quiz and take rubbings of each brass post as you journey through the reserve.