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Crane Park Island

A fantastic variety of habitats including woodland, reedbed, ditches, ponds and river can be found on a site formerly used for gunpowder production

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.


Species you can see at Crane Park Island

Birds: Kingfisher, grey heron, treecreeper, great spotted woodpecker

Fish: Chub, roach, perch, stickleback, minnow, stone loach, bullhead

Invertebrates: Ruddy darter

Mammals: Water vole

Plants: Willow, marsh-marigold, dryad's saddle


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.


Facilities at Crane Park Island

There is a visitor centre at the Shot Tower which contains a permanent exhibition, information displays, toilets, a classroom, and viewing area. The building is currently open every Sunday, 1.30pm-4pm.


How to get to Crane Park Island

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.



Opening times for Crane Park Island

The reserve is open at all times, while the Shot Tower is currently open Sundays 1.30-4.30pm, and for special events. 


Accessibility at Crane Park Island

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.


Status of Crane Park Island

Part of a Site of Metropolitan Importance; Local Nature Reserve


Get involved at Crane Park Island



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


Crane Valley maps

The Trust has produced a range of illustrated maps showcasing all the reserves managed in the Crane Valley area:

Crane Park

Crane Valley

Gutteridge Wood and Meadows

Ten Acre Wood

Roxbourne Park and Roxbourne Rough

Yeading Brook Meadows (text)

Yeading Brook Meadows (map)

Yeading wildlife sites



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Nearby nature reserves

Huckerby's Meadows
3 miles - London Wildlife Trust
Isleworth Ait
3 miles - London Wildlife Trust
Sheepwalk Lake
5 miles - Surrey Wildlife Trust

Nature reserve map

Reserve information

Ellerman Avenue
Greater London
Map reference
Great for...
a family day out
Best time to visit
Apr - Aug
Get directions
Find out here
Public transport
Plan your journey
Opening Times
The 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.
Visitor centre
1.71 hectares
Local Nature Reserve (LNR)
Dogs allowed
Grazing animals
Reserve manager
Alex Robb
Tel: 020 3897 6152