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Gunpowder Park


Grid ref: TQ 382 992 (click for o/s map)

Updated 25/08/2014

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This country park opened in 2004, much of it created on reclaimed land previously used for testing munitions, and linking into the former grazing meadows of Sewardstone Marsh.

Much of the current wildlife interest is found in the former Sewardstone Marsh, now known as Osier Marsh. This consists of wet woodland that regenerated naturally on pulverised fuel ash dumped into holes created by the extraction of sand and gravel. It contains a variety of willow species and over the years a tangle of dense woodland has formed. It lies wet in the winter and attracts snipe and woodcock, wintering thrushes and large mixed tit flocks. With lots of dead wood and several shallow ponds it is good for invertebrates and amphibians also.

On the reclaimed land to the north, meadows have been created with areas of wild flowers and clumps of trees, and 80 acres are managed as arable farmland, with wildlife features such as permanent grass margins and conservation headlands. Seed-rich crops are sown here to provide winter food for declining farmland birds such as linnets and yellowhammers.

The site is bounded to the west by the Cattlegate Flood Relief Channel and to the north by Black Ditch, formerly used to transport goods into and out of the ordnance factory. These are densely vegetated and populated by water voles and by breeding birds such as sedge and reed warblers, and reed buntings,.

This is already a fine site with lots of wildlife interest and can only get better as the newly created habitats mature


The main entrance is on the Sewardstone Road (A112), south of the roundabout junction with the A121, south of Waltham Abbey. There are several 24-hour pedestrian and cycle route access points.

The nearest train stations are Enfield Lock or Waltham Cross, both 20–30 minutes walk away. Bus route 550 from Chingford station to Harlow runs along Sewardstone Road past the main entrance.

Accessible at all times.

Winter for birds; late spring through the summer for wetland wildlife.

The main pathways are wheelchair accessible

Web www.gunpowderpark.org.

Photo © Alan Williams