explore 5 to 8

explore 5 to 8

5

Songbird thicket

This habitat has been designed to provide cover for a variety of small birds, mammals, reptiles and invertebrates throughout the year. In spring and summer stop here to listen for warblers, thrushes, tits, dunnock and finches in song.

They are busy staking their territories, warning off rivals and attracting a mate. A few resident species such as robin and wren will continue to defend their territory even in the middle of winter.

Listen out for them even on the coldest days. In spring and autumn, passing visitors including warblers, chats and flycatchers may also be seen here during migration. They use the thicket to find food and shelter before continuing their epic journeys between Europe and Africa.  

6

The Roundhouse

This structure, called the Roundhouse, once sat in a formal Victorian garden and was topped with a rotunda built in a similar style to the Coppermill tower nearby.

This feature was demolished by the 1960s and all traces of the garden are long gone, but the valves housed below still act as an interchange between reservoirs 1 and 3 today.

The line of ornamental poplar trees you see nearby were also planted by the Victorians as an element of this garden – reflecting the contemporary attitude that this was a landscape that does man’s bidding.  

7

The Grabber Crane

The automated gantry grabber crane clears 200 cubic metres of rubbish a year. That’s enough to fill over 2,000 baths.

It keeps the water course from becoming blocked by branches, bottles, cans and other rubbish that finds its way into the Coppermill Stream.

This area is also a good spot for seeing kingfishers, so keep an eye out for a flash of bright blue as these colourful birds fly along the stream.  

8

The symbol of industry

The wooden wharf loading crane you can see here is a very rare relic of a bygone industrial age. In the mid-1800s copper ore was brought by sea from Wales and transported by barge up the River Lea.

Here on Coppermill Stream it reached its destination. It was unloaded using the crane before being worked into sheets and bars at the mill. Copper-rolling ceased production in 1857.

The mill was soon rebuilt by new owners, the East London Waterworks Company, who converted the site to a pumping station for Walthamstow’s first reservoirs.

The crane is now the last surviving evidence of that long-gone time – a ghost in the landscape. Visit the Coppermill Tower for more on the site’s amazing history.