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Location map for Lea Bridge Road Nature Reserves



Entrance to Coppermill Fields car park

These former playing fields are now being slowly transformed in to flower-rich meadows with areas of scrub and woodland. To the North, Walthamstow Reservoirs support one of the largest heronries in the country.

Entrance to The WaterWorks Nature Reserve


Sandy Lane by Horseshoe Bridge

The towpath crosses the river here. In olden days the barges were pulled by horses, they used the bridge to cross over here. The willow thicket is inhabited by Jays and in summer Willow Warbler and Blackcap.

The reserve was opened in 2002. The central filter beds hold water all year round and are an excellent place to see Pochard, Little Grebe and Reed Warbler. The reserve is also very good for wildflowers, a local speciality being Little Robin.

Water Vole 11

Strainer intake - filter beds


Sandy Lane by Cattle Creep

Please keep your dogs out of the ditches. They are very special for wildlife such as Water Voles. These, if you don’t know them, were made famous by Kenneth Grahame and the character ‘Ratty’ in his 1908 children’s book ‘Wind in the Willows’.

You’re standing in the bottom of the old aqueduct which fed water from the Walthamstow Reservoirs to the filter beds. Here you can see the grilled intake to the beds. In summer look out for Whitethroat.

Friends Bridge


This 67 ton bridge was erected in 1998 and crosses the old channel of the River Lea, linking Essex with Middlesex. The river here is a good place to see Kingfisher, as well as Teal and Gadwall in winter.


Point of Interest Self-guided Trail Cycle Paths Horse Riding Routes Paths and Tracks Trees Water Reserve Boundary

Green Woodpecker

Roads Railways

Hackney Marshes entrance to Middlesex Filter Beds 4

Car Park Information

You’re now at the entrance to the Middlesex Filter Beds which were closed down in 1969 but reopened as a nature reserve in 1978. Sparrowhawks, Green and Great Spotted Woodpeckers may be seen here.

Toilets Picnic Areas Café Bus Stops


Old Mill site, Middlesex Filter Beds

The weir divides the river in two and marks the beginning of the Hackney Cut of the Lee Navigation (built in the 1790s). There was a mill on the river here before the filter beds were built in 1853. Look out for Kingfisher, Grey Wagtail and Cormorant along the river. 6


Sandy Lane by Kings Head Bridge

The opposite bank of the river used to be lined by timber yards which were serviced by barges on the river. The river attracts Coot, Swan, Canada and Greylag Geese and Cormorant. Look out for Common Tern in summer.

Sandy Lane by Bombcrater Pond

The clean water in the ditches supports a rich variety of insects including dragonflies such as the Emperor (our largest) and supports some of our rarest wildflowers. Please don’t let your dogs go in the pond as this clouds the water and spoils the ditch’s wildlife. 8

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The meadows alongside the path here are very good for plants. One of the more obvious flowers is Teasel, the seeds of which are a favourite food for Goldfinches.

Sandy Lane – A. V. Roe Arches

A blue plaque above the arches commemorates an historic aircraft flight on the marshes on 23 July 1909 by the inventor Alliot Verdon Roe. Using two of the arches as workshops he built a triplane and tested it over the marshes. 9

North Marsh

The main marsh contains a variety of plant communities including grasses such as reed, various sedges, Meadowsweet and Meadow-rue. The main breeding birds are Reed Bunting, Reed and Sedge Warbler.

Coppermill pathway


Pathway opposite boardwalk

Below you is the Lammas Meadow, a part of the marsh which is mown annually to maintain a rich variety of wildflowers. Listen out for the almost constant churring of Roesel’s Bush-cricket in summer. 15

N-E corner of Leyton Marsh

This is just one part of a once much larger Leyton Marsh which spread across Lea Bridge Road and included the Marsh Lane playing fields area. The short grass attracts Mistle Thrush, Starling, Pied Wagtail and gulls whilst Kestrel also use the area for hunting.

Great Spotted Woodpecker Responsible for the drumming sound that’s occasionally heard in the Regional Park. Reed Bunting Common in wet grassland areas. Coot (White face) tend to stay in the water more.

Moorhen (Red face) like to explore their surroundings. Kestrel May be seen hunting for mammals and insects in the grassland. Swift Evocative of summer evenings as they scream across the sky.

Little Grebe A secretive bird which dives when seen.

Have you seen any of these birds?

Lea Bridge Road Nature Reserves

Self Guided Trail – Summer Birds

Bird Identification Sheet

Common Tern These noisy birds announce spring along the river.

Pied Wagtail Short-mown grasslands attract these birds.

Cormorant Can often be seen perched high above the river.

Grey Heron One of our easiest birds to see, often up close.

Why not report your sightings at Jay A shy woodland bird which can be hard to see. Green Woodpecker Feeds on ants and likes our rough grassland areas. Sand Martin Look out for them over water.

Where to find us

• Dobbs Weir (EN11)

• Rye Meads Nature Reserve (SG12) • Rye House Gatehouse (EN11)


• Lee Valley Boat Centre (EN10) • Old Mill & Meadows (EN10)



• Lee Valley Park Farms (EN9) • Fishers Green (EN9) • YHA Lee Valley Cheshunt (EN8)



• Cornmill Meadows & Dragonfly

• Myddelton House Gardens (EN2)

• Waltham Abbey Gardens (EN9) • Gunpowder Park (EN9) • Lee Valley Campsite (E4)

Sanctuary (EN9)


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• Tottenham Marshes (N17)

Park (N9)

• Lee Valley Athletics Centre (N9) • Lee Valley Golf Course (N9) • Lee Valley Camping & Caravan


• Waterworks Nature Reserve

• Three Mills Island (E3) • Bow Creek Ecology Park (E16) • East India Dock Basin (E14)

• Lee Valley Riding Centre (E10) • Lee Valley Ice Centre (E10) • Walthamstow Marshes (E10)

& Golf Centre (E10)


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Contact us To find out more call our information service on 01992 702 200, visit or email ©

Self Guide Summer Birds  

Self Guide Summer Birds leaflet

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