Walthamstow Wetlands is a 211 hectare nature reserve in the heart of London's Lee Valley.

Keep an eye out on the news section to stay up to date with all the latest goings-on at Europe's largest urban wetland.

Summer news

Walthamstow Wetlands has welcomed summer with a flurry of wildlife activity and visitors.

During these testing times where covid-19 has affected every corner of the globe, Walthamstow Wetlands has provided a space to explore the Great Outdoors, birdwatch, exercise and find solace. From reptiles and colourful butterflies to beautiful bird song and masses of meadow flowers, Europe’s largest urban wetland nature reserve continues to be a space of conservation and contemplation during these extraordinary times.  

Photography Competition 2020

There are three categories to enter, and three themes for inspiration

We would like to celebrate with you your images taken during this unique time and in the coming weeks as you discover a new rhythm of life connected to the Wetlands...

One million visits

A treasured sanctuary for both people and wildlife amid covid-19 crisis

Since opening in October 2017, Walthamstow Wetlands has now received over 1 million visits from the local community and further afield in London and the United Kingdom as well as overseas...


Take part in visitor survey

Let us know your experiences

London Borough of Waltham Forest was awarded funding from the National Lottery Heritage Fund for Walthamstow Wetlands, to open up the wetlands as an urban nature reserve. The partnership, consisting of Waltham Forest Council, London Wildlife Trust and Thames Water, are interested in finding out the impact of that funding on visitors and local people and would therefore be grateful if you could please complete this short survey. 


In these challenging times, we are endeavouring to keep the nature reserve open

Following the government’s updated guidelines on COVID-19 on Sunday 10th May, please review the following site rules before visiting Walthamstow Wetlands:

  • Walthamstow Wetlands remains open between 10.30am – 4pm daily. On weekends and bank holidays, last entry is at 3.30pm.
  • Angling for seasonal permit holders is now allowed onsite. Angling opening times are 7am – 10pm. All anglers must carry their seasonal permits on them at all times – otherwise they will be asked to leave the site. For more information on angling, please speak with the Thames Water Fisheries Rangers. Please also refer to:
  • Birdwatching is now allowed onsite. Those with annual birdwatching permits will be able to access the site between 7am – 10pm and will also be able to access restricted areas. Anyone accessing these restricted areas must carry their annual birdwatching permits on them at all times – otherwise they will be asked to leave the site.
  • The Engine House, including cafe and shop, and the Coppermill Tower remain closed until further notice.
  • Please note there are no toilet facilities on site.
  • The carpark remains closed until further notice except for Blue Badge holders.
  • Please comply with social distancing guidelines at all times and stay 2m away from other visitors

Please note that these arrangements may change without notice. Please always check our website before your visit

Romance at Walthamstow Wetlands

From festival-themed banquet tables on the outdoor Terrace to vibrant discos in the Boiler Room

Europe’s largest urban wetland nature reserve has hosted 12 beautiful weddings and civil ceremonies over the course 2019. Located just 15 minutes by tube from Central London, Walthamstow Wetlands has provided a special setting for these magical events with its 10 beautiful reservoirs and 211 hectares of wildlife-rich nature in the heart of an urban setting...

Bird Monitoring Report 18-19

The first report on bird population and distribution at Walthamstow Wetlands written by London Wildlife Trust.

The Bird Monitoring Programme was established by BSG Ecology as part of the planning application and Habitat Regulations Assessment as a requirement to monitor bird distribution and disturbance in response to increased public access. The Walthamstow Wetlands Partnership are tasked with monitoring the effect on ‘key species’ attributed to the SSSI and SPA for a five-year period...

Interfaith Week 2019

National Inter Faith Week 2019 sees climate action increase significantly

The 2019 Inter Faith Week (11-17 November) saw many more climate change and environmental activities compared with previous years, reflecting the growth in concern across all faith communities. The jump was so significant that the Inter Faith Network added a new category for these actions on its website, which were previously placed under the label “social actions or social issues”...

East Warwick works

Habitat improvement on the East Warwick island

Wetland habitats are extremely rare in urban areas – as such, it is of great importance to protect the future of Walthamstow Wetlands, a Ramsar wetland designated site of international importance, for many more generations of wildlife and people to come. As part of the site’s ongoing conservation work, Thames Water are required to deliver habitat improvement works on several of the reservoirs. Following on from consultations with stakeholders such as Natural England and the Environment Agency, work has now begun on the East Warwick Island to provide a vital habitat and food source for more and more birds.

Nature nurtures children

One of the largest studies into the effects of outdoor activities on children’s wellbeing

The Wildlife Trusts commissioned a study by the Institute of Education at UCL to evaluate the impact that experiencing nature has upon children. The study focused on over 450 primary school children and the effects of Wildlife Trust-led activities on their wellbeing. This is one of the largest studies into the effects of outdoor activities on children’s wellbeing and views about nature....

Walthamstow Wetlands celebrates two year anniversary

Over 700,000 people visit Europe’s largest urban wetland nature reserve

Two years since opening its gates for the very first time to the general public, Walthamstow Wetlands has welcomed over 700,000 visitors. Providing a vast and tranquil space to experience the Great Outdoors, discover rare and resident wildlife on London’s doorstep and learn how 30 per cent of the city’s drinking water is delivered, Europe’s largest urban wetland nature reserve has proved a popular destination for local residents as well as visitors from further afield...

Water vole conservation

Improving habitats for water voles

The summer began with an exciting addition to the wildlife found at the Wetlands – a water vole was spotted using the reed bed in front of the new Richard Woolley Bird Hide. The sighting at Walthamstow Wetlands was a hugely welcome one for Europe’s largest urban wetland nature reserve as the species is under serious global threat from habitat loss and predation. Similar looking to the brown rat, but with a blunt nose, small ears and furry tail, the water vole used to be found in nearly every waterway in England, Scotland and Wales but is now thought to have been lost in up to 90% of these sites.

Image Credit: Peter Trimming

First ever ringing demonstration and consultation at Walthamstow Wetlands

208 passerines recorded

On October 5th London Wildlife Trust and BTO arrived onsite for sunrise to hold the first ever ringing demonstration and consultation at Walthamstow Wetlands. It turned out to be a fantastic day with 208 passerines and one rather large and unexpected bird also ringed.

New seasonal path closure

Reservoirs 4/5 path closed until March 2020

To minimise disturbance, the path between Reservoirs 4/5 is closed between August – February 2020 for the wildfowl moulting and nesting season. 


National Lottery's #ThanksToYou Campaign

Saturday 23rd November - Sunday 1st December

This year is the 25th Birthday of The National Lottery, and we’re excited to be a part of the celebrations by joining in the #ThanksToYou campaign, which celebrates the contribution of National Lottery players in supporting good causes over the past 25 years. As part of the National Lottery's #ThanksToYou Campaign, Walthamstow Wetlands will be presenting two offers for any visitor who purchases any National Lottery ticket  between Saturday 23rd November and Sunday 1st December. 

Summer days at Walthamstow Wetlands

There is still plenty of time to enjoy the wonders of summer at Walthamstow Wetlands

Summer at Walthamstow Wetlands continues to be a fantastic time of year to visit Europe’s largest urban wetland nature reserve. With a variety of birds to observe as they forage, fly and feed their young as well as stunning views across London and some much-needed respite from the daily hustle and bustle of the city, Walthamstow Wetlands has already attracted nearly 90,000 visitors over the recent summer months.

New Eco-Hampers now available

Recyclable, compostable and litter free

This summer, visitors can pick up a picnic box for two, or for a family of four, and enjoy their meal in nature surrounded by stunning views of Europe’s largest urban wetland nature reserve. ..

The truth about London's reptiles

Keeping it Wild Trainee Lee tackles the negative stigma and reveals more about London's reptiles...

What comes to mind when you hear someone talking about reptiles? Slimy, dangerous and creepy are all terms that tend to come up. These are for the most part wrong. These animals, particularly snakes are highly and unfairly stigmatised...

Announcement: London Wildlife Festival Cancellation

Sadly, the difficult decision has been made to cancel London Wildlife Festival on Saturday 10th and Sunday 11th August.

This is due to forecast winds in excess of 40 miles an hour, at Walthamstow Wetlands, over the weekend.

Volunteering at the London Wildlife Festival

We’re inviting our fantastic volunteers to join us to assist with London Wildlife Festival.

There will a variety roles including marshal, activity assistant, festival guide, warden, site guardian, and lead volunteers. Volunteers will also gain a FREE weekend ticket to the festival to enjoy around their volunteer shift! 

The Richard Woolley Bird Hide

A special place to appreciate the site's unique natural and architectural heritage.

The Richard Woolley Bird Hide has now been opened at Walthamstow Wetlands. After one year of intricate planning and development, the hide is hoped to add to the experience of visitors enjoying the views and wildlife of Europe’s largest urban wetland nature reserve, Walthamstow Wetlands.

Water Safety Awareness Event with the London Fire Brigade

Over 2,600 visitors visit the Wetlands for water awareness event

On Friday 19th April, Walthamstow Wetlands, in partnership with Thames Water and the London Fire Brigade, hosted a Water Safety Awareness Event. The fun family day out saw 2,635 people visit Europe’s largest urban wetland nature reserve to take part in the day’s activities and learn more about water safety challenges and procedures at the Thames Water operational site...

James Balmforth at Walthamstow Wetlands

New art at Walthamstow Wetlands

For centuries, artists have produced ‘memento mori’. These are artworks that remind us of death, in order to make us feel more alive. They often feature skulls, decaying fruit or plants. This contemporary art video by James Balmforth is in that tradition...

London Wildlife Festival announced at Walthamstow Wetlands

Launching 9th-11th August

London Wildlife Festival is a new and exciting urban event celebrating the conservation and culture of Britain’s city wildlife. Curated by London Wildlife Trust and David Lindo, The Urban Birder, the event will be held across the weekend of 9th-11th August 2019, at Europe’s largest urban wetlands, Walthamstow Wetlands, 15 minutes by tube from central London.  


New art exhibition at Walthamstow Wetlands as part of the E17 Art Trail

Archipelago is an ongoing project bringing together artists working in different geographical locations, to collaborate in synchronised events. Archipelago is informed by the concept of artists as connected islands, communicating at multiple levels and in multiple ways, but intensely focussed on their own unique vantage point, pre-occupations, and methods.

Spring at the Wetlands

We invite you to see the wonder of a wild spring unfold at Walthamstow Wetlands

Internationally designated for its importance for wildlife, the Wetlands is now a bustle of activity with birds building nests, foxes finding their mates, hedgehogs awaking from hibernation, flower buds blossoming and frogs spawning. As the weather warms, visitors can catch sight of rare birds passing through and the unfolding colours of flowers as they emerge to attract bees and butterflies.

Keeping it Wild Traineeship

Do you love wildlife and working outdoors? Are you practically minded and willing to learn new skills? Have you thought about a career in nature conservation?

The Keeping it Wild Traineeships offer a unique opportunity for up to 30 young people aged between 16-25 to undertake a full-time, paid, three month vocational traineeship based at one of our reserves, where you'll spend time working with the London Wildlife Trust team, learning valuable practical skills in urban nature conservation, community engagement, media/journalism and communications...

Results of the London Wildlife Trust Photography Competition

Winners announced

Thank you to all those that participated in the London Wildlife Trust’s photography competition to capture some of the wintery tales that Walthamstow Wetlands has to tell. The quality of entries was truly exceptional and it was difficult picking only a handful of winners...

Social prescribing courses in collaboration with the Waltham forest adult learning service at Walthamstow Wetlands

A holistic approach to people’s health and wellbeing in the heart of Waltham Forest

Since opening in October 2017, Walthamstow Wetlands, has been working in partnership with both the Waltham Forest Social Prescribing team and the Adult Learning Service (WFALS) including local GP surgeries and medical centres. The collaboration has resulted in Walthamstow Wetlands hosting a series of workshops taking a more holistic approach to people’s health and wellbeing in the local community...

Guide in a Hide at East Warwick Reservoir

Every Tuesday 10am - noon; Every Saturday 10am - noon

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, including the East Warwick reservoir, 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. As part of London Wildlife Trust's ongoing work at Walthamstow Wetlands, the team, with the support of volunteers, has renovated East Warwick's bird hide which is once again open to the public to use and enjoy. There will now be a member of the site's dedicated birding community inside the hide every Tuesday and Saturday between 10am - 12pm to help guide and inform visitors, answer questions and help with a spot of birdwatching. There is no need to book or register - visitors can just drop in and speak with one of our fantastic experts all about the wonderful birds they can see from the bird hide. 

The global importance of wetlands

The key to coping with climate change Earth’s climate is changing

The frequency of disasters worldwide has more than doubled in just 35 years, and 90% of these disasters are water-related...

World Wetlands Day

Friday 1st – Sunday 3rd February 2019

With temperatures rising, oceans warming, snow and ice melting and sea levels rising faster than recorded during any previous century, now is more important than ever to conserve and restore wetlands around the world.

Winter at Walthamstow Wetlands

Seasonal update on rare bird sightings and conservation work at Europe’s largest urban wetlands nature reserve

Winter is a fantastic time to visit Walthamstow Wetlands. From overwintering water fowl and rare migrant stopovers, to an exciting and educational events programme including floristry workshops and Wild Weekends for the family with London Wildlife Trust, there are plenty of reasons to explore this water and wildlife oasis on your London doorstep...

London Wildlife Trust photography competition

Entries close on Sunday 27th January 2019.

Why not take part in London Wildlife Trust’s photography competition and capture some of the wintery tales that Walthamstow Wetlands has to tell? There are three categories to enter, and three themes for inspiration....

The MacEwen Award 2019

Longlist announced

Walthamstow Wetlands has been longlisted for the MacEwen Award which recognises architecture (with engineering and landscape) for 'the common good'. The award looks for built projects that are of real and demonstrable benefit to society, something that architects are well-equipped to achieve...

New habitat creation project

New planting and creation of ponds

Last winter, during the heavy rainfall events, we experienced flooding along the main access routes of Walthamstow Wetlands. As a result, Thames Water have commissioned Maydencroft Limited to help us deliver a sustainable solution to the drainage challenge whilst mutually benefitting the wildlife on site....


Walthamstow Wetlands artist-in-residence, Fearghus Ó Conchúir, presents new film

Next week marks the opening of Interdependence, a film examining Walthamstow Wetlands as a site of refuge and sanctuary by artist-in-residence and independent choreographer Fearghus Ó Conchúir. Based in the Engine House at the Wetlands, the film will be exhibited from Tuesday 27 November 2018...

National Lottery #ThanksToYou Campaign

Monday 3rd December - Sunday 9th December

Walthamstow Wetlands will be taking part in the National Lottery #ThanksToYou Campaign between Monday 3rd December and Sunday 9th December. Thanks to the support of National Lottery players, the funding we received allowed us to open up Walthamstow Wetlands to the wider public for the very first time in 150 years. Alongside the financial support of Thames Water and the London Borough of Waltham Forest, the funding also helped regenerate the locally-listed Engine House to include a visitor centre, cafe and education space and to also renovate the Grade II- listed Coppermill Tower now with a viewing platform. The funding also helped support numerous conservation works onsite to enhance habitats and create new ones too...

Birders’ Choice Awards

Walthamstow Wetlands has been nominated for the 'Site of the Year' award

Celebrate the birding and conservation of the past year and cast your vote in the annual Birders’ Choice Awards in association with the Birders Guide.

Walthamstow Wetlands celebrates one year anniversary

Europe’s largest urban wetland nature reserve welcomes over 415,000 visitors in opening year

October 2018 marked one year since National Lottery-funded Walthamstow Wetlands opened its gates to the general public. Since opening, Europe’s largest urban wetland nature reserve has provided a unique resource for the local community and visitors further afield to enjoy the great outdoors and experience nature and wildlife first hand in an urban setting... 


Artist in Residency 2019

London Borough of Culture 2019 announces open call

As part of a funded programme of artist projects that invite creatives to respond to themes surrounding Waltham Forest’s history and communities, this landmark residency entitled Form, Function and The Outdoors provides a unique opportunity for an established artist, designer or sculptor to explore how ideas stemming from the Bauhaus movement have influenced culture locally...


Completing important conservation work and opening up green spaces to local communities

Mace is a long-term partner of London Wildlife Trust and over the last six years more than 2,000 Mace employees have given their time to the Trust to help nature conservation across London...

Interview with Jacquie Davis

UK's first-ever female bodyguard recalls career during new job protecting Thames Water's Walthamstow Wetlands

From travelling the world protecting celebrities and royals to now guarding the water supply for almost for million Londoners at Walthamstow Wetlands – Jacquie Davis has seen it all.

The 59-year-old, who was the UK’s first ever female bodyguard after starting in 1980, has led a varied career working in close protection, in surveillance and hostage rescue...

Rachel Thomson - SACRE BLEU!

New exhibition celebrating Photomonth

An environmentally concerned exhibition of cyanotype photograms from the local canals and  roadsides in East London is opening at Europe’s largest urban wetland nature reserve as part of Photomonth East London International Photography Festival 2018...

Swift conservation at Walthamstow Wetlands

New swift calling system installed

A new swift calling system was installed at Walthamstow Wetlands in July to attract the much-loved migratory birds to nest in the 24-metre Swift Tower. The swift calling system recently installed at the Wetlands plays high-quality recordings of their song every morning and evening, mimicking the sound of a colony living in the tower...

Summer updates

Summer arrives at Walthamstow Wetlands with a flurry of activity

Walthamstow Wetlands, a space for conservation and contemplation in London, has welcomed summer with a flurry of wildlife activity and visitors enjoying the blue skies and warm weather. From colourful dragonflies and a mass of meadow flowers to beautiful bird song and an array of fledglings, Europe’s largest urban wetland nature reserve is the perfect place to escape the bustle, enjoy the calm and connect to nature in the city over summer....

NLA Awards 2018

People’s Choice Award win for Walthamstow Wetlands

Walthamstow Wetlands, Europe’s largest urban wetlands nature reserve, has won in the People’s Choice category at the annual New London Architecture Awards (NLA).

Voted by the general public, the Wetlands received an overwhelming number of votes and beat projects including London Bridge Station to claim first place...

Nisha Duggal, Flight

6 July - 30 October 2018

Nisha Duggal, the first artist-in-residence at Walthamstow Wetlands, presents Flight, a mixed-media installation on migration and the primal. Aiming to locate an interconnectedness between culture, creativity and our animal nature, Duggal works across media with an emphasis on the moving image....

NLA Awards 2018

Walthamstow Wetlands shortlisted for two awards

Over 150 projects across 15 categories have been shortlisted for the New London Awards 2018, recognising the very best new and proposed architecture, planning and development in the capital.

Walthamstow Wetlands is a finalist for two New London Awards 2018 including Culture & Community and the Mayor’s Choice...

Swift Awareness Week at Walthamstow Wetlands

Walthamstow Wetlands to celebrate the United Kingdom's first Swift Awareness Week

The United Kingdom's first Swift Awareness Week (UKSAW) will take place between Saturday 16th and Saturday 23rd June 2018. To celebrate this special week, Walthamstow Wetlands will be hosting events to help raise awareness of the Common Swift and its plight...

New artist in residence at Walthamstow Wetlands

Fearghus Ó Conchúir begins artist residency as part of Wetlands Contemporary programme

Fearghus Ó Conchúir, an independent choreographer and dance artist, has begun his artist in residency at Walthamstow Wetlands. As part of Wetlands Contemporary, an exciting and innovative arts programme at Europe’s largest urban wetland nature reserve, Ó Conchúir will engage with the theme of refuge - examining the Wetlands as a site of sanctuary for humans and non-humans and for regular and transient inhabitants...

Spring is in the air

Europe’s largest urban wetland nature reserve sees an arrival of rare birds and special spring sights

Walthamstow Wetlands is London’s largest wetland nature reserve. Having opened to the wider public for the very first time in 150 years in October last year, the 211 hectare site, including 10 reservoirs, has attracted a large number of nature lovers and wildlife enthusiasts from across the capital. With spring in full bloom, Walthamstow Wetlands is a bustle of activity and bird song. Hundreds of birds are busily building their nests and raising their young, the flowers are blossoming and the frogs are spawning – a few reasons why the site is a special home to wildlife both resident and rare....

Conservation update


London Wildlife Trust leads on the conservation of wildlife and nature at Walthamstow Wetlands. Since the Trust’s formation in 1981 it has helped shape the face of London – saving and protecting wildlife sites across the capital. In the month of February, the London Wildlife Trust team of staff and volunteers working at Walthamstow Wetlands turned their attention to a small woodland copse located at the start of the Reservoir 1, 2, 3 path...

New visitor survey

Opportunity for visitor feedback

Walthamstow Wetlands opened to the wider public in October 2017 for the very first time in 150 years! If you have visited the site, it would be great to get feedback on your experience. To take part, please click below.

Little bunting sighting

First sighting at Walthamstow Wetlands

A little bunting has been sighted at Walthamstow Wetlands over recent days. It is the first time the bird has been recorded at Europe's largest urban wetland nature reserve and it is the first time in five years that the bird has been sighted in London. Birders and visitors have been flocking from far and wide to catch a glimpse of this rare sight!

Image credit: Jamie Partridge

Wetlands Contemporary

New art programme launched

Walthamstow Wetlands, Europe’s largest urban wetland nature reserve has launched an exciting and innovative arts programme, Wetlands Contemporary, which will play an integral part in engaging audiences with nature and science. Wetlands Contemporary will include an artist in residency programme as well as a series of public art exhibitions to be hosted primarily in the Victorian, locally-listed Engine House and occasionally across the entire site itself. Working in dialogue with the natural environment, Wetlands Contemporary will serve people of all ages and interests, and encourage them to use the space for peaceful contemplation. 


Visitor engagement volunteering opportunity

Induction dates now available

We are looking for enthusiastic and welcoming Visitor Engagement Volunteers to support our team. Are you interested in telling our visitors about the  area's history, industrial and cultural heritage, and wildlife? We are running two visitor engagement inductions, please book via Eventbrite for your preferred date - no prior volunteering experience necessary to join.


Heritage Lottery Fund campaign to start

10% discount in shop for National Lottery players

Walthamstow Wetlands will be taking part in the Heritage Lottery Fund #thankstoyou Campaign between Monday 11th December and Friday 15th December. Thanks to the support of National Lottery players, the funding we received allowed us to regenerate the Engine House, Coppermill Tower and surrounding area and open Walthamstow Wetlands to the wider public for the very first time in 150 years. Offer now closed.