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Woodberry Wetlands

Enter the main gate of the wetlands and you find yourself on a board walk, ready to enjoy the sight of this expanse of green and blue space and the open skies above as well as the feeling of tranquility by the water.

But as time slows down, it becomes possible to stop and look more carefully at the details of nature all around.

Bull rushes poke up like sticks of almost eaten candy floss.

Bull rushes

The path that leads around the wetlands are on the banks that were formed from the soil that was dug by out hand when the reservoirs were built. Gravel crunches under foot and all around the vegetation is thickening, climbing and spreading.

The gravel path

On the other side of the path and down from the mound, there is a woodland walk, with hedgerows and a setting that attracts birds who prefer land to water.

A bird box on a tree trunk

The edges of the water are becoming greener and greener with reed beds spreading - they are a valuable habitat for wildlife, giving Reed Buntings a place to hide.

The edge of the water

Providing such welcoming spaces for birds encourage them to come here, all the way from Africa in Springtime and breed. Swifts, reed warblers and house martins will later return to their winter homes in Autumn to avoid the cold winter here.

Other birds and water fowl can be seen all year round. Swans glide gracefully around and Herons stand still like statuettes, watching and waiting, then spreading their enormous wings out to lift themselves up into the air.

Common Terns may drop in on their way, using Woodberry Wetland as a stopping off point on their migratory journey and darting around, swooping over people's heads.

These reservoirs, so precious for wildlife and for people, were not very long ago threatened with being drained and built on. Now they are a sanctuary for us and for birds and other creatures.

A view of the reservoir

When darkness falls, it is time for bats to swoop and feed on the insects that fill the air. The gates are closed by then and this green and blue oasis in North London is for the sole use of the creatures whose home this is.

But we are dependent on these reservoirs - not only do they give us the opportunity to escape from the city, they continue to provide drinking water to Londoners. And in the distance are there is a hazy outline of the buildings of the crowded city that we call home.

The city centre in the distance

When these reservoirs were built they would have been sterile and bland - giant bowls of concrete. Now they offer an escape into nature for city dwellers.

Walk from Manor House

North London map


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