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Waterworks Nature Reserve


Grid ref: TQ 362 868 (click for o/s map)

Updated 25/08/2014

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The Essex Filter Beds were built over 150 years ago to purify London's drinking water at the height of the cholera epidemic, and closed in the late 1970s. Nature has reclaimed much of it and now, renamed the WaterWorks Nature Reserve, it is managed for wildlife.

The visitor centre has interactive displays helping to interpret the history of the site and the wildlife now to be found on it. It also has a six-station bird hide, built over the central well-head.

It supports a wide range of plants and hosts of amphibians and dragonflies. Birdlife includes little grebe, kingfisher and reed bunting, with teal and gadwall visiting in winter


On the Lea Bridge Road (A104) between Hackney and Walthamstow.. There are various access points for pedestrians and cyclists around the Reserve.

Clapton rail station is about 10 minutes walk from the Lee Valley Walk alongside the river, via Southwold Road. Several bus services run along Lea Bridge Road.

8 am until dusk

Photo © Gerald Downey