London Visit: I just love that London is full of surprises and hidden gems. You wouldn’t expect to find the wonderful Woodberry Wetlands down the road from Manor House in North London. Opened on 30 April 2016 by Sir David Attenborough, the London Wildlife Trust Woodberry Wetlands is a beautiful nature reserve. A short walk from Manor House tube station and close to Stoke Newington, this is a part of London which is on the up. Being close to the West Reservoir, with its facilities for kayaking and canoeing, there is plenty to explore in the vicinity.
About the Woodberry Wetlands
Also known as the East Reservoir, this small lake was created in 1833 by the New River Company to provide drinking water to Stoke Newington and Stamford Hill. Since that time it has been closed to the public until recently. In 1992 Thames Water bought both East and West reservoirs with a view to fill them in and build on the land. A campaign by locals stopped the building plans and that’s when the wildlife took over.
The London Wildlife Trust has worked with Thames Water, The National Lottery Trust and volunteers to re-open this as a designated wetlands area, hence the unveiling by Sir Attenborough. I love that the wetlands are nestled in between Manor House, Stoke Newington and Woodberry Down. Set against a backdrop of council blocks and new private housing, this is an area which has been undergoing regeneration since 2001.
Entrance to Wetlands
Set in seventeen hectares, you’ll also find a woodland walk and wild meadow flowers to admire. You’ll see a rusty looking metal enclosed structure which is the opening to the wetlands. It takes you on a wooden walkway which gives you a great view over the expanse of water. It’s surrounded by reeds and willows which makes it very relaxing. This habitat will attract ducks, birds, bats, insects and small animals. If you take a look at the website, you can find out more about the bird species which breed in the area, like the kestrels and sparrowhawks to those migrating from far flung countries. It’s a great place to bird watch so get those binoculars out!
There are plenty of events being held at the wetlands which include Wild Yoga, Sunset Tai Chi alongside organised sightings of birds and bats. To find out more about the wetlands and these events visit the Woodberry Wetlands Website. The West Entrance is via the New River Path is situated at Lordship Road, London N16 5HQ or access via Newnton Close, N4 2RH. Alternatively, enter where you see the Castle Climbing Centre and walk through the West Reservoir (it looks like a giant castle and is close to Clissold park off Green Lanes). Opening times for the Wetlands are Monday to Sunday 9am until 4.30pm. Please note that dogs are not allowed unless assistance dogs. No cycling, swimming, barbecues or fishing either.
Woodberry Wetlands Café
Over the wooden walkway of the wetlands you’ll find a lovely eatery. With seating inside and out, you can enjoy lunch al fresco when the weather is good. When we visited on Bank Holiday Monday this café was very buzzy and busy.
The Coal House
You can order sandwiches, salads, egg dishes, avocado on toast and more delicious light dishes. Cakes, tea, coffee and soft drinks area also available. Opening times are Monday to Sunday 9am-4pm with last orders at 3.30pm.
Woodberry Wetlands is Next to the West Reservoir
West Reservoir and Centre
You can also combine your visit to the Wetlands by crossing over the road and viewing the West Reservoir. With a footpath to the side, you can extend your walk and continue towards the Castle Climbing Centre. The Stoke Newington West Reservoir Centre at Green Lanes N4 2HA houses a water sporting facility where you can go swimming, kayaking and cannoning. There is also a café and toilets located there. I hope you enjoy your visit.
Author: Homegirl London. Photographs: Homegirl London. Thanks: Homeboy and the Mystery family for a lovely visit.