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Middlesex Filter Beds


Grid ref: TQ 359 865

Updated 31/12/2023.

Available also via books and apps – click here for details.

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Built at the height of the cholera epidemic to purify London's drinking water, the Essex filter beds were closed in the 1970s. After that nature took over and created, in a relatively small area, a patchwork of different habitats, including open water, reedbed, scrub, wet woodland, and old brickwork that provides many crevices for toads, frogs, lizards and other animals.

Reed buntings, coot and moorhen nest in the dense vegetation, and the area supports a wide range of dragonflies.


Park at Lea Valley Ice Centre on Lea Bridge Road (A104). Follow the signs from the car park over the bridge and along the towpath. SatNav: E10 7QL.

Regular bus services into London from Walthamstow and Leyton run along Lea Bridge Road.

Accessible at all times

July–August for dragonflies and other insects.

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