Walthamstow Wetlands Nature Reserve

Walthamstow Wetlands

Walthamstow Wetlands credit Iain Green 

Welcome to Walthamstow Wetlands, a huge, internationally important reserve. Just 15 minutes from central London, and free to visit, you will find a unique haven to explore, enjoy and connect with nature.

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What's on at Walthamstow Wetlands

 A calendar of weekly activities, as well as seasonal events, takes place throughout the year to engage with the local community and with those further afield, both in the UK and internationally.

From family-friendly activities to fun-filled activities for adults such as talks, tours and workshops, Walthamstow Wetlands provides a unique setting in the heart of London to learn, discover and explore.

While some events are free, others are ticketed. All proceeds from ticketed events are invested back into the running of Walthamstow Wetlands, the conservation work and continuing free public access to the Wetlands.

Goldfinch at Walthamstow Wetlands

Goldfinch at Walthamstow Wetlands credit Iain Green 

About

Walthamstow Wetlands is a fully operational 211 hectare Thames Water reservoir site which is the main source of water supply for 3.5 million people. Walthamstow Wetlands is also an internationally important nature reserve, providing home and shelter to a wide range of wildlife, from rare waterfowl to majestic birds of prey.

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Great Willowherb at Walthamstow Wetlands

Great Willowherb at Walthamstow Wetlands credit Mathew Frith 

Wildlife

Walthamstow Wetlands is a Site of Special Scientific Interest. It also forms part of the Lee Valley Special Protection Area and is on the Ramsar List of Wetlands of International Importance.

The ten reservoirs offer a haven for overwintering wildfowl, such as pochard and gadwall, and are regionally important for breeding birds such as grey heron, tufted duck and little egret. Swifts visit during the spring and kingfisher and peregrine falcon can be seen all year round.

In addition to birds, Walthamstow Wetlands is home to invertebrates such as damselflies, dragonflies, speckled wood butterflies and thick-kneed beetles, and a number of different species of bats and amphibians.

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Café aerial view Walthamstow Wetlands

Cafe aerial view Walthamstow Wetlands credit Penny Dixie

Café

The Larder runs the Engine House Café situated in the historic and locally-listed Engine House at the newly opened Walthamstow Wetlands. The cafe operates 363 days a year, and offers breakfast, lunch and afternoon tea including freshly made sandwiches, salads and seasonal dishes. 

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Walthamstow Wetlands engine house

Walthamstow Wetlands engine house credit Sam Hobson

Shop

The Walthamstow Wetlands shop offers a carefully selected range of products which are all inspired by the unique nature of Europe’s largest urban wetlands as well as the area’s distinctive industrial heritage. Whether you need a gift for a loved one or a treat for yourself, there is something for everyone.

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Latest news and blogs from Wathamstow Wetlands

Activities at Walthamstow Wetlands

Volunteering day at Walthamstow Wetlands

Volunteering day at Walthamstow Wetlands credit Penny Dixie

Volunteering

We undertake a range of practical conservation activities throughout the year including reedbed management, maintaining hedgerows, and tree care. Regular sessions on weekdays, and alternating Saturdays. 

Volunteers can also assist with our outdoor learning activities, and can also support walks and talks on wildlife and heritage, front or house, warden activities and habitat surveying.

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Fishing at Walthamstow Wetlands

Fishing at Walthamstow Wetlands credit Penny Dixie

Angling

Angling is now permitted on site for seasonal and day permit holders.

For more information on angling, please speak with the Thames Water Fisheries Rangers. 

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Walthamstow Wetlands Opening Weekend

Walthamstow Wetlands Opening Weekend

Art

Wetlands Contemporary has a public programme of art exhibitions and publications. The exhibitions are hosted in the Engine House as well as across the nature reserve. The installation and sculptural work will play an integral part in engaging audiences with nature and science through a different lens and encouraging visitors to use the space for contemplation.

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School Trips at Walthamstow Wetlands

School Trips

At Walthamstow Wetlands, we can accommodate a range of outdoor learning experiences, from interactive centre-led sessions to self-led tours of the site.

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Bearded tit

Bearded tit credit Andrew Parkinson/2020VISION

Touchstones Trail

For those wishing to observe wildlife in the peace and quiet and discover the unique history of the site, the Touchstones Trail offers an opportunity to both enjoy the surroundings and learn more.

Explore

The opening of Walthamstow Wetlands has only been possible due to a partnership between Thames Water, landowner, London Borough of Waltham Forest, grant holder, and London Wildlife Trust, the conservation delivery partner. Of the £10.6m required to renovate and prepare the site, £4.47m was generously funded by the Heritage Lottery Fund, £1.8m from Thames Water and £1.8m from the London Borough of Waltham Forest. We also received £750k from the Greater London Authority to support the 2km cycle path through the site.
 

To find out more about how you or your organisation could support further work at Wathamstow Wetlands, visit our support pages