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Tottenham Marshes

Tottenham lies in the industrial corridor which cuts across London and yet even here we can find a vast open space – a former flood plain.

It was here that in 1882 a football team played their first matches on public pitches – now known as Tottenham Hotspur.

At that time people assembled in thousands for events that were on the marshes but now nature has been given top priority and it is empty of people with only a few walkers, joggers and cyclists here and there.

It is a large expanse of rough grassland with wildflower meadows, river channels and scrubland and a huge variety of vegetation: sedge marsh, reed swamp, sallow scrub with the meadows home to an increasing number of bee orchids which flower from May to June.

Linnets come here in winter to feed on the teasels, docks and thistles and there are brightly coloured wasp spiders in the long grass. Overhead a kestrel may hover, hunting for bank and field vole.

There are huge numbers of butterflies, including painted lady, which hover around the buddleia and sand martins nest in the holes on the banks of the brook.

Sometimes though Tottenham Marshes can seem vast and empty, even bleak on a grey day.

But out on the marsh in late summer the blackberries ripen and the hay smells sweet. Walk across the expanse of grass and you come across a bridge that leads to the canal where there is a pretty little café on the bank by the lock.

And just here you can witness a strange sight: a narrow channel where water appears to flow upstream because of the incline of the concrete wall that makes it seem as though the continuous movement is moving up a slope.

Tottenham Marshes lie between Tottenham Hale and Northumberland Park stations


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