A Walk Through Walthamstow Wetlands

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Recently, on a bright sunny as well as cold and windy day, I went to Walthamstow Wetlands, the largest urban wetlands in Europe.

There are numerous entrances, for myself I entered via Coppermill Lane and headed towards the Grade II listed Italianate Coppermill Tower.  As I walked up the stairs I heard the cooing of pigeons as they rested within the frame work.  There is also a lift.  At the top of the tower there are far reaching views of Greater London with the odd church steeple within view.  The sun highlighted the reservoir, in the distance, with a beautiful shimmering silver glow. There are several reservoirs at the nature reserve fed by the River Lea and the Thames River.

london-walk-2 A Walk Through Walthamstow Wetlands

london-walk A Walk Through Walthamstow Wetlands

On the footpath, I was walking on, there was a reservoir on one side and Coppermill stream on the other. There is a raised level, which you can walk along, covered with grass between the footpath and the reservoir.  On a cold windy day, this is where you will feel the full force of the wind on your face.  As I walked along, I was extremely fortunate to have geese walking ahead of me.  At the rim of the reservoir there is a sandy area that only the wildlife have access to.

Throughout the wetlands there are various islands within the reservoirs.  Teeming with birdlife, they really are a sight to behold.
london-walk-5 A Walk Through Walthamstow Wetlands
As I was nearing the end of the footpath there was a gaggle of loud geese walking along a slope.  In the foreground, wonderful bright sun rays.  The combination was an unforgettable moment.
For a brief second I saw a stationery heron, whose amazing yellow iris bathed in the sunlight.  It stood sideways by some shrubbery before it broke into flight.  The wetlands have been a breeding ground for the herons since 1930 which is one of the reasons it is designated as a Site of Special Scientific interest.
london-walk-6 A Walk Through Walthamstow Wetlands
On a previous visit to the wetlands I went into the Engine House which is where the visitors centre, cafe and shop is situated.  Along with the Engine House building, there are various Victorian era relics, throughout the wetlands.  All of which makes you stop and wonder what life was like, back then, for the people who built them.
Dating back to 1647 there was a fully operational working mill next to the Coppermill Tower. The mill was rebuilt several times by various industrial owners. Gunpowder, paper, leather and oil were produced during their ownership.  In the early 1800’s copper was rolled into sheets for many uses, one of which was to cover ships’ hulls.  The newly regenerated wetlands site opened to the public in October 2017. Visitors can read about the history of the mill from information on a wall inside the tower.
london-walk-4 A Walk Through Walthamstow Wetlands
The 520 acre Walthamstow wetlands is a magnificent peaceful place to take a relaxing break.  As you are there, you can’t help feeling an overwhelming sense of good fortune to be surrounded by wildlife, the natural stream, reservoirs, islands and trees.  Away from London’s hustle and bustle of everyday life.
The nature reserve can be reached, with such ease, from any area of London by foot and further beyond by, bus, underground and overground trains also by car.  Not forgetting, by bike with a cycle track within the site.  
Foreign visitors planning a trip to London now have this wonderful experience to add to their itinerary in the knowledge they can head on to central London attractions within the same day.
Directly opposite the main entrance, close to Tottenham Hale station, is an idllic 1700’s pub named The Ferryboat Inn.
London Wildlife Trust manage Walthamstow Wetlands along with other partners. They hold educational and activity events throughout the year.  I noticed a couple of Wildlife Trust employees filming at one of the reservoirs.  Because it was so cold, that day, their camera equipment had a scarf wrapped around it.
london-walk-7 A Walk Through Walthamstow Wetlands
I am greatly looking forward to exploring the nature reserve as the seasons change throughout the year. There were only a hand full of visitors while I was there.  As the weather becomes milder, the visitors will grow in numbers, more birdwatchers with their binoculars, more keen photographers, more runners, joggers, walkers and artists with their easels.  During my future visits my eyes and ears will be focused on the wildlife while breathing in the changing temperatures of the air with a very contented heart.

2 COMMENTS

  1. Hi Terry dreamer,

    Thank you so much for your lovely comment. So pleased you have introduced your sons to a new place to explore, in the heart of London, by passing on the article to them.

    Ann Marie

  2. Hi AMD,
    Great little article, passed this on to my sons who reside in Hackney and Winchmore Hill (Enfield) respectively, and are always moaning about where to go walking.
    They’ve moved back South, from where I live in Lancashire, whee we take full advantage of The Lakes, Dales and Peak District. Ironically just back from a South Lakes trip with friends who desired a stroll around – Tarn Hows, there’s a coincidence.
    Happy walking

    Terry

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