Last month Europe’s largest urban wetlands opened in North East London and I went to check it out. Carry on reading to find out what I thought!
When travelling on the London Underground between Gospel Oak and Barking you can see the site that the wetlands are on. Going past when on the train you would never think that such a fantastic place is located just over the fence.
The site that the wetlands is on is owned by Thames Water and has not been open to the public for over 150 years. The land is still owned by Thames Water, but due to a huge investment and major redevelopment project the site has been opened to the public. The area spans nearly 500 acres and has 10 reservoirs and 8 small islands. The reservoirs are still operational and maintained by Thames Water, providing a massive 500 million litres of water a day to around 3.5 million people living in North-East London.
Getting There: The wetlands are located in Walthamstow in North East London. The main entrance to Walthamstow Wetlands is 2 Forest Road, London N17 9NH. There is a car park for those who are driving there, but spaces are limited. When we visited it was the first weekend and the car park was free to use for the opening weekend. On the website they say that parking charges start from £2 for up to one hour. The nearest stations are Blackhorse Road station and Tottenham Hale station, both on the Victoria line tube and Overground line and both about a 7 minute walk from the main entrance. Regular bus services 123 and 230 also stop outside Walthamstow Wetlands. The Wetlands are also the perfect place to get to by cycling. The Wetlands are connected to the Borough’s cycling network and have a number of bike stands on site.
Walthamstow Wetlands includes four entrances. Check out the map on the website to find the entrance that is best for you, depending on how you are travelling there- https://walthamstowwetlands.com/themes/custom/wetlands/assets/pdf/wetlands_map.pdf
As you walk through the wetlands you could easily forget you’re in London. If not for the silhouette of the London Skyline in the far distance you would think you were somewhere in Scotland.
The wetlands are a perfect location in London for those who are looking to walk, cycle, fish and explore. There are a number of different walking and cycling paths to check out, suited for all different abilities. The wetlands are home to a range of wildlife including herons and kingfishers.
There are 2 buildings on the wetlands that have been renovated. The Engine House is an 1885 building that housed the steam-driven pump engine and is now a visitor centre with cafe, shop, exhibition space and viewing platform. The Engine House also has a range of different events throughout the year and includes an interactive learning area for children.
The Engine House
Coppermill Tower is the other building within the Wetlands. It is a grade 2 listed building, which is not opened as of yet so I was unable to go in and check it out.
Walthamstow Wetlands are open seven days a week between 9.30am to 4pm (October to March) and 9.30am to 5pm (April to September). The wetlands are completely free to visit and fully accessible to all 😀
Final Thoughts: The wetlands are a total gem that you would not expect to find in London. Definitely worth a visit – some beautiful views that are totally free! It is a great day out and the perfect way to enjoy a weekend walk. For much information check out the official website – https://walthamstowwetlands.com/