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Walthamstow Wetlands

Walthamstow Wetlands will deliver the largest urban wetland nature reserve in London offering a unique resource for local communities to access and enjoy. The improved access to nature and leisure activities is intended to benefit health and wellbeing and quality of life of local people. With a projected increase in visitor numbers, the Wetlands should also lead to the emergence of a visitor economy and support physical regeneration plans in surrounding areas.

Latest news

August 2014: The Wetlands scheme has successfully secured Round Two Heritage Lottery Funding of £4.4m. The project will now progress to delivery phase. See Press Release for further details.    

June 2014: The Wetlands scheme secured planning permission at the June 3rd Planning Committee.

May 2014: Since the successful Round One application to Heritage Lottery Fund, the Council has been working with Thames Water and project partners to develop detailed plans for the Wetlands. A Round Two application of over £4.4M has been submitted to support delivery of the scheme. The HLF funding decision is expected at the end of July 2014.

The Council has appointed the London Wildlife Trust as the ‘Delivery Partner’ for the project. This role will involve the custodianship of the long term management and conservation of the Wetlands and its heritage. The Trust will also deliver a programme of activities, including learning, volunteering and training activities, aimed at engaging communities and schools in the heritage of the Wetlands.

London Planning Awards

Walthamstow Wetlands was the winner of 2012 London Planning Awards under the 'Best Conceptual Project' category. This prestigious award was given out by the Mayor who referred to the Wetlands as ‘London’s best kept secret’.

Ecological oasis in London

The Marine Engine House View of Reservoir No 1 Bob Neill MP, Minister for Olympics endorsed the project during his visit to the site in May 2011

The project will see the 200 hectare site transformed into an urban wetlands nature reserve offering opportunities for accessing and learning about wildlife and nature conservation, volunteering, training, walking, cycling, fishing, and enjoying the peace and tranquillity of a unique space in the heart of North East London.

Plans for the site have been developed in partnership with site owner, Thames Water and stakeholder agencies including Natural England, Lee Valley Regional Park Authority, Environment Agency and the Greater London Authority. A programme of consultation involving community, interest group, local schools and stakeholder has been undertaken through the London Wildlife Trust which has informed final designs.

View: Landscape Masterplan (1MB PDF file) 

View: Stage D Design & Access Statement (May 2014). This is a large document split is 5 parts as follows:

Background Research documents:

Plans include:

Building Works

  • Renovation of Marine Engine House (locally listed disused pumping station) to house a visitor centre, multifunctional educational space, Viewing Terrace, café and exhibition
  • Introduction of a viewing platform in the Coppermill Tower

Landscape Works

  • New entrances at Lockwood Way, Forest Road and Coppermill Lane
  • New foot and cycle path through the site 
  • New car and cycle parking area and boardwalk

Habitat enhancements

  • New reedbeds
  • Habitat and planting works

The overall project cost is £8M including cost of capital works and three years of revenue funding for project staff and a programme of activities aimed at engaging local schools and residents in learning about the sites natural and built heritage. In addition to the funding bid to HLF, funding commitments have also been made by the Council, Thames Water, Greater London Authority and Environment Agency.





The above images are artists impressions of proposals showing the Marine Engine House, Cafe, and Forest Road entrance.

About Walthamstow Reservoirs

The 10 reservoirs that make up the site are an internationally and nationally recognised ecological resource and wildlife habitat. They constitute the largest fishery in London and will continue to be used by Thames Water to supply drinking water. As well as its important natural heritage, the site forms an important part of the industrial history of the Lee Valley.

See also

  • Creating a better place

    We're improving the borough’s high streets, leisure facilities and schools to create a better place.

Contact details

  • Walthamstow Wetlands Co-ordinator

    Sycamore House,
    Town Hall Complex,
    Forest Road,
    Walthamstow
    London
    E17 4SU
    Email: wfdirect@walthamforest.gov.uk