“A series of great reservoirs threads up the valley, extending from Walthamstow to Enfield and though man-made they are acquiring a charm of their own as trees grow round them and on their little islands – they are becoming nature reserves for large numbers of birds and the resort of privileged fisherman. These areas are a great open-air lung to the crowded East End – their preservation is essential...Every piece of open land should be welded into a great regional reservation ...”
Patrick Abercrombie (1945)
This vision of London’s post-war masterplanner is finally about to happen. Walthamstow Wetlands is a project that will open to the public a 200 ha site within Green Belt. Visitors will soon enjoy the site’s distinctive built and natural heritage, which is unique in London. Once marshland, long industrialised and yet still attracting rich bird life with its reservoirs, the area has been a hidden natural gem of the area - carrying the status of a Site of Special Scientific Interest.
Access will centre on a ‘green core’ of naturalised landscape at the heart of the reservoir complex. New entrances are proposed to connect from this core into existing communities, many of which are deficient in nature resources. A pedestrian and leisure cycle way will run through the centre of the site linking to existing strategic pedestrian and cycle routes. The green core will absorb large visitor numbers, enabling the outer more ecologically sensitive areas to be protected.
Lead consultant and Landscape Architect: Kinnear Landscape Architects
Architect: Witherford Watson Mann
Client Team: London Borough of Waltham Forest, Thames Water, The Environment Agency, GLA, Natural England and London Wildlife Trust