Richard Woolley Bird Hide
Richard Woolley Bird Hide
Visitors can now observe a number of magnificent birds from the comfort of a brand new bird hide just opened at Walthamstow Wetlands. After one year of planning and development, the new Richard Woolley Bird Hide is hoped to add to the experience of visitors enjoying the views and wildlife of Europe’s largest urban wetland nature reserve.
The Richard Woolley Bird Hide sits in front of reed beds planted as part of the partnership project between the London Borough of Waltham Forest, Thames Water and London Wildlife Trust – with funding in part from the National Lottery Heritage Fund. The hide’s location next to Reservoir 3 is the perfect place to catch a glimpse of a kingfisher diving into the water or the darting little grebe as it fishes below the surface. Other birds to be seen on the water include the gadwall, shoveller and cormorant as well as the tufted duck which begins moulting its winter feathers over the coming weeks.
As London’s largest heronry, Walthamstow Wetlands’ new bird hide also provides a space for visitors to watch herons in the water waiting to catch an unexpectant fish, and little egrets with their beautiful white plumage. At the reservoir edges, visitors can also see smaller birds including sedge and reed warblers, finches and tits whilst birds of prey such as the peregrine falcon, sparrow hawk and kestrel can occasionally be spotted flying overhead. Some lucky visitors may very well be treated to a passing rarity searching for shelter and food with hoopoe, osprey, bluethroat, little bunting and great white egret having all been seen in recent years.
The hide is open daily between 9.30am – 5pm during summer time and 9.30am – 4pm during winter time and there will be regular Guide in a Hide sessions taking place where volunteers will share their birding knowledge and enthusiasm for the site with passer-bys. London Wildlife Trust staff and volunteers have worked hard to install interpretation boards inside the hide so that visitors of all ages can learn more about the wildlife and appreciate the unique natural and architectural heritage of the site. The hide is also wheelchair accessible and there is a sightings board to share information.
With funding totalling £60,000 across the following organisations, the building of the new Richard Woolley Bird Hide was only possible with the support of construction firm Mace who project managed the development, Careys who provided the labour and machinery, QFS who donated the scaffolding and Jewson and Elite Acoustics who funded the material. With this collaborative effort, the staff and volunteers of London Wildlife Trust were able to replace a derelict 20 year old bird hide with a brand new one for all to enjoy.
Dedicated to the memory of Richard Woolley 1966-2018, keen birder and finance officer at London Wildlife Trust, the hide is hoped to provide a peaceful haven to connect with nature, and with over 300k people living within a 5km radius, it will be a wonderful resource for the local community and visitors further afield to observe first-hand the many birds that call Walthamstow Wetlands home.
Birds to spot at the Richard Woolley Bird Hire: kingfisher, gadwall, shoveller, cormorant, peregrine falcon, grey heron, tufted duck, reed warbler, wren, little egret, grey lag geese, swift, goldfinches, long tailed tits, Canada geese, great tits, sedge warblers, swallows and much more.