Explore 17 to 20

Explore 17 to 20


Who built Lockwood Reservoir?

It took a team of 1250 men! Lockwood was the last Walthamstow reservoir to be created, in 1903, and it is also the largest – covering around 30 hectares and excavated to a depth of around 8 metres.

Named after a director of the East London Waterworks Company, it was a major engineering feat for its day, requiring a huge labour force.

Unlike the first reservoirs, which were dug mainly by hand, Lockwood was constructed with plenty of steam-powered pumps, engines and cranes. As well as a team of 50 horses, 20 miles of railway track were also employed to assist in construction.

At around the same time, London’s population rose to six million. Demand for water was increasing constantly across the capital, prompting the need for even more reservoirs – this time further north in Chingford.


A quiet corner

Lockwood Reservoir is the highest bunded reservoir in the Wetlands complex, offering amazing views. Across the huge expanse of water you can see the London skyline in the distance and the Orbit sculpture in the Olympic Park.

This reservoir is also one of the best places for certain birds at the Wetlands because there is little disturbance. Look carefully for migrating waders such as dunlin, green and common sandpipers along the shoreline and winter ducks and grebes out on the open water.

The scrub at the northern end attracts small birds – and even the occasional rarity. A dusky warbler from Siberia was found here a few years ago, so keep your eyes and ears peeled!


Lee Flood Relief Channel

Built in 1954 to prevent flooding, the channel usually holds less than a foot of still water – but at times of high rainfall it becomes a fast-flowing torrent.

The channel runs from the top of the Lee Valley at Ware and down past the Chingford Reservoirs, where it joins the River Lee Diversion.

It splits again here at the eastern edge of the Wetlands by High Maynard Reservoir, flowing south past Reservoirs 4 and 5 and finally terminates at Stratford.


High Maynard

Birds come and go at the Wetlands – every day is different.

During migration, waders may visit the shoreline here for just a few hours to feed and rest before moving on. Teal gather on the water in winter and great crested grebes and terns rear their young here in summer.

High Maynard may also support significant numbers of shoveler and gadwall in hard winter weather, as the flow of water through the reservoir results in some parts remaining ice-free.

During the spring and summer months Maynard’s islands have breeding pochard and tufted duck. These birds are potentially vulnerable to disturbance, and it is for this reason that public access to the eastern bank is restricted during this time.