Cattle grazing on the marshes
Walthamstow Marshes is a remnant of the original grassland habitat that would once have covered much of the Lee Valley. It would have traditionally been managed as Lammas Land, in which a hay cut would have been followed by grazing with livestock. This management is being replicated through the introduction of cattle grazing across the site.
Creeping Marshwort is a tiny white flower restricted to the edges of grazed ditches. This plant is very rare in the UK and is only found here and at two other sites in Oxfordshire. The marshes are home to a variety of butterflies, including the Essex Skipper, which has a restricted distribution within London.
A population of Water Vole live in the ditches that run across the Marshes. Look out for the distinctive piles of small sausage-shaped droppings that mark their territory. These are often particularly noticeable in the spring before the vegetation grows tall. Whilst walking along the ditches and river listen out for the shrill call of the Kingfisher.
There are plenty of small mammals on the marshes. Look overhead to see Kestrel hovering whilst looking for prey. In spring Sedge and Reed Warbler arrive on the marshes to breed. Reed Bunting are also present.