Walthamstow Reservoirs

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Walthamstow Reservoirs
Site of Special Scientific Interest
Cormorant Island
Area of SearchGreater London
Grid referenceTQ351892
Area178.3 hectares
Location mapMagic Map
Path running between reservoirs 4 and 5

The Walthamstow Reservoirs complex is in Walthamstow in the London Borough of Waltham Forest at Walthamstow. They form part of the Lee Valley Reservoir Chain which supplies drinking water to London,[1] and are owned and managed by Thames Water.

The complex comprises ten reservoirs, which are a Site of Special Scientific Interest (SSSI):[2][3]

The reservoirs have been developed as a public nature reserve, the Walthamstow Wetlands project, by London Wildlife Trust, in partnership with Thames Water and London Borough of Waltham Forest.[4] The site opened to the public in October 2017. It stills function as a working reservoir.


The reservoirs were constructed on marshland adjoining the River Lea in the mid-19th century by the East London Waterworks Company. There are two Victorian industrial structures on the site, including the Coppermill which gives its name to nearby Coppermill Lane, Coppermill Stream, and the Coppermills Water Treatment Works.[5]


The Walthamstow Reservoirs support the most notable variety of breeding wetland birds among all of London's drinking water reservoirs.[3] The wooded islands on No. 1 reservoir are the location of the famous heronry, at which the numbers of breeding pairs reach a level placing it in the country's top five sites. Formerly also a heronry, the two islands in No. 5 reservoir are now home to large numbers of cormorants.[6] Great crested grebe, pochard, tufted duck, coot, yellow wagtail, sedge warbler and reed warbler are all regular breeding visitors.[3]

Nearly 300 species of plant have been recorded in the wooded areas, grass banks, fen and open water habitats of the reservoirs.


The ten reservoirs, grounds and the Coppermill Stream form an extensive enclave of natural habitats, albeit within a man made and securely fenced infrastructure. They are visited by birdwatchers and naturalists[7][8] but especially by anglers. All the reservoirs are variously stocked with fish, providing both coarse fishing and fly fishing. Carp over 40 pounds have been recorded, and rainbow trout up to 5 pounds.[6] An inexpensive day permit is required to visit the site.

See also[edit]


  1. ^ pp3 Reservoir information Retrieved December 10, 2007
  2. ^ "Map of Walthamstow Reservoirs SSSI". Natural England.
  3. ^ a b c "Walthamstow Reservoirs SSSI citation" (PDF). Natural England.
  4. ^ "Walthamstow Wetlands | Visit Walthamstow Wetlands". www.walthamstow-wetlands.org.uk. Retrieved 2015-10-27.
  5. ^ http://exploringeastlondon.co.uk/Walthamstowest/Westwalthamstow.htm#Copper The Coppermill
  6. ^ a b http://www.thameswater.co.uk/cps/rde/xchg/corp/hs.xsl/6253.htm Thames Water information page
  7. ^ Angling information Retrieved December 10, 2007
  8. ^ Thames Water Retrieved December 11, 2007

External links[edit]

Coordinates: 51°35′08″N 0°03′05″W / 51.5855°N 0.0514°W / 51.5855; -0.0514