The King George V and William Girling Reservoirs dominate much of the landscape in the Lower Lee Valley. They are owned by Thames Water and have been designated as a Site of Special Scientific Interest (SSSI) because of their importance for wintering wildfowl.
The reservoirs are an excellent place to see wintering wildfowl including Goosander, Goldeneye and Teal and are a nationally important site for wintering Black-necked Grebe. It’s worth looking for scarcer wildfowl often brought in by bad weather.
There’s also an impressive gull roost numbering up to 50,000 individuals, including Common, Herring, Lesser Black-backed and Black-headed Gull.
The reservoirs offer a good vantage point to look up and down the valley for migrants in spring and autumn when small migrating passerines can be funnelled up the thin belts of grassland and scrub neighbouring the reservoirs. Interesting waders and terns can be seen on passage through the valley.
There’s currently no access onto the William Girling Reservoir. Please check with Thames Water website (opens in new window) for the latest access information for the King George V Reservoir.
Walthamstow Reservoirs are owned and managed by Thames Water and consist of 10 waterbodies. Several of these feature wooded islands and reed-covered fringes. They form part of the Lee Valley Special Protection Area (SPA) due to their importance for the wintering ducks Gadwall and Shoveler.
One of the highlights during the spring and summer is the heronry. There are up to 100 pairs nesting on the islands, making it the largest heronry in London. Recent years have also seen Little Egret successfully breeding on the site.
The reservoirs are an excellent place to see wintering wildfowl including large numbers of Gadwall, Coot, Great Crested Grebe and Tufted Duck.
Large numbers of gulls use the reservoirs including Lesser Black-backed, Common and Black-headed Gull. Reed and Sedge Warblers breed in the reeds around the edge of some of the lakes and Common Tern nest on the artificial rafts. There are two bird hides on site and excellent views can be obtained from the reservoir banks.
Please check with Thames Water website (opens in a new window) for the latest access information for Walthamstow Reservoirs.