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Walthamstow Reservoirs

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Photo by ChrisKtenNo. 1 Reservoir - Heronry on Island
Photo by ChrisKten
No. 1 Reservoir - Heronry on Island

England, London


[edit] Overview

Walthamstow Reservoirs is made up of 10 shallow basins with a few wooded islands. The reservoirs were constructed on marshland in the mid 19th century by the East London Waterworks Company. The reservoirs are designated a Site of Special Scientific Interest and are internationally important for their wildfowl. The site is bordered by some grassland, scrub and also by Walthamstow Marsh.

From the official site:

"Birdwatching is available on all the reservoirs at Walthamstow. A wide range of breeding and migrant species, and wintering waterfowl can be seen.

A highlight of the site is one of the largest heronries in Britain. This has recently attracted the first breeding Little egrets in Greater London. There is also a large colony of cormorants."

[edit] Birds

[edit] Notable Species

This from SSSI notification:

"In addition to the heronry, Walthamstow supports the most notable variety and numbers of breeding wetland birds among all of London’s drinking water reservoirs. Regular breeding species include Great Crested Grebe, Common Pochard, Tufted Duck, Common Coot, Yellow Wagtail, and Sedge Warblers and Reed Warblers. Others such as Shoveler and Common Tern are often present and nest in some years. Many of the species breed mainly on the islands and on the more sheltered basins where there are shoreline fringes of emergent plants and banks with dense vegetation cover. The East Warwick Reservoir is particularly favoured, with broods of Tufted Duck reaching high densities in recent years. Overall the numbers of Tufted Duck at Walthamstow are regularly the largest in the London area and form one of Britain’s main breeding concentrations. The numbers of breeding Common Pochard are also especially significant owing to the small size of the national population.

During the winter months the reservoirs are a favoured area for a variety of wetland birds and in particular, large numbers of wildfowl. The populations of Shoveler and Tufted Duck consistently reach levels of national significance, while Great Crested Grebe, Common Pochard and Common Coot also occur in important numbers. In recent years a winter Cormorant roost on the islands in High Maynard Reservoir and Reservoir No. 5 has become of increasingly significant size with numbers reaching levels of national importance."

[edit] Rarities

To do

[edit] Check-list

Grey Heron, Little Egret, Great Crested Grebe, Common Pochard, Tufted Duck, Common Coot, Yellow Wagtail, Sedge Warbler, Reed Warbler, Shoveler, Common Tern, Black Headed Gull, Herring Gull, Lesser Black-backed Gull, Cormorant, Common Chiffchaff, Common Whitethroat, Great Tit, Blue Tit, Long-tailed Tit, Chaffinch, Common Wood Pigeon, Common Moorhen, Common Kingfisher, Greylag Goose, Canada Goose, Common Shelduck, Mute Swan, Eurasian Magpie, Eurasian Sparrowhawk.

[edit] Other Wildlife

Foxes are seen regularly, especially early morning. Water Voles are also present.

[edit] Site Information

[edit] History and Use

In 1853 Parliament sanctioned the construction of reservoirs to improve the Water supply to North East London.

Today the Reservoirs, as well as providing a water supply (it's main purpose), are also used for Angling and Bird/Nature Watching.

[edit] Areas of Interest

[edit] Access and Facilities

Day permits cost ÂŁ1 and annual permits to all Thames Water birdwatching sites cost ÂŁ10. There are toilets close to No. 1 Reservoir. Limited parking is available on site; there are no charges for parking.

[edit] Contact Details

You can contact Walthamstow Reservoirs using the following methods:


Ranger's Office: 020 8808 1527.


Ranger's Office Walthamstow reservoirs Thames Water 2 Forest Road Tottenham London N17 9NH

[edit] External Links


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