WaterWorks Centre nature reserve & Middlesex Filter Beds


WaterWorks Centre & Middlesex Filter Beds

Lammas Road (off Lea Bridge Road)


London E10 7QB

Contact us

Plan your visit

WaterWorks nature reserve opening times

Winter:   08:00 - 16:00

Summer:   08:00 - 18:30

Car park opening times 

April:   08:00 - 19:30

May:   08:00 - 20:30

June:   August - 08:00 - 21:00

September:   08:00 - 20:30

October:   08:00 - 19:30

November:   08:00 - 18:30

December:   March - 08:00 - 17:30

The WaterWorks Centre is currently closed to the public

Due to the COVID-19 pandemic the WaterWorks Centre and Café is currently closed. The nature reserve and Waterworks Fields are still open to people adhering to the national or local restrictions when they apply.


We are reviewing the future of the WaterWorks Centre at present and it will remain closed whilst this review is carried out. The Centre may not open to the public until April 2021 or later and it may be in a different form. We will update this web page on a regular basis.

Whilst exploring the park, please bear in mind the Countryside Code of Conduct and Lee Valley Regional Park bylaws.

Out and about on the reserve there’s even more to see, because over 500 varieties of plants and one quarter of Britain’s butterfly species have been recorded here.

The WaterWorks Centre nature reserve has become a unique wildlife haven and a fantastic area for all the family just a few miles from central London. Previously known as the Essex Filter Beds, over 150 years ago it began supplying the surrounding boroughs with much needed clean water.

The WaterWorks Centre nature reserve has one of the largest bird hides in London offering close-up views across a series of filter beds, each with its own unique character.

In spring and autumn waders on passage through Lee Valley drop into the site. Common and Green Sandpiper are regular visitors, whilst Wood Sandpiper and Black-tailed Godwit have recently been recorded.

The secluded beds are a fantastic place to get up-close to Teal and Snipe and in summer Pochard and Little Grebe breed here. A variety of wildfowl including Gadwall and Shoveler can be viewed from the central hide.

Sand Martin’s are regular summer visitors and have use the artificial nesting towers to breed. An artificial Kingfisher bank has also been installed and there are superb views of Moorhen, Little Grebe and Tufted Duck.

Certain beds have been allowed to form dense scrub and are home to species such as Garden Warbler, Blackcap, Whitethroat, Willow Warbler and Chiffchaff, whilst Sedge and Reed Warbler nest amongst the reeds. Listen out for Great Spotted and Green Woodpecker. The flood relief channel adjacent to the WaterWorks is also an excellent place to view bats foraging in the warm summer evenings.

WaterWorks Centre nature reserve hosts a collection of works by local artists. Each sculpture further develops the site as a hub for public art and allows visitors to enjoy art in the great outdoors.

Middlesex Filter Beds

This ten acre haven for wildlife is a short walk from the neighboring WaterWorks Centre nature reserve.

Built by the East London WaterWorks Company in the mid 1800’s they demonstrate how previously industrial areas can become valuable habitats for wildlife.

Come and visit and you may well see toads, frogs and newts, dragonfly and damselfly, plus over 60 different species of bird. The filter beds also boast Paula Haughney’s monumental Nature’s Throne, made from huge granite blocks salvaged from an old engine house.

With a variety of habitats the filter beds provide interesting wildlife throughout the year. The wooded areas are excellent for flocks of tits and finches. Look out for Great Spotted and Green Woodpecker. Kestrel and Sparrowhawk are found on the reserve and will also hunt on the adjacent open grassland of Hackney Marshes.

The brickwork of the old bed walls provides shelter for amphibians and in spring the wetlands are home to frogs, toads and newts. The weir is a good spot for Grey Wagtail and Kingfisher, which nest along the banks.

More than 200 plant species have been recorded including Cuckooflower and Purple Loosestrife. There’s also a community of interesting mosses and liverworts along the old walls of the beds.

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