Inventory Site Record

Walthamstow Marsh

Walthamstow Marsh (Waltham Forest)

Brief Description

Walthamstow Marsh, now designated a Nature Reserve, is one of the last surviving examples of natural marshland in the London area and still exhibits subtle signs of the post-glacial landscape and of the ancient Lammas lands system of management, under which the marsh was used for the common grazing of cattle, hence its historical name of Walthamstow Common Marsh. From spring to late summer the Marsh was left to grow and cut for hay according to a system of plots. Grazing ceased in 1934, but was re-introduced in 2003. Hay continued to be cut from parts of the marsh in late summer to help maintain its diversity of plants and animals.

Practical Information
Previous / Other name:
Walthamstow Common Marsh
Site location:
Lea Bridge Road
Type of site:
Public Open Land
Waltham Forest
Open to public?
Opening times:
Special conditions:
Cycle ways, car parks, visitor centre
Public transport:
Rail: Clapton then bus/walk. Bus: 22a, 55, 56, 48

The information shown above was correct at the time of the last update 01/07/2006
Please check with the site owner or manager for latest news.

Full Site Description

Uncommon species found on Walthamstow Marsh include the water vole, the Dotted Fanfoot and Webb’s Wainscot moths and plants such as Creeping Marshwort, Brookweed and Adder’s-tongue Fern with around 400 plant species recorded. Beneath the railway arches on the Marsh A V Roe built his famous triplane, nicknamed the ‘Yellow Terror’, in which he flew 900 feet across the Marsh on 23 July 1909, the first all-British powered flight. This feat is commemorated by a plaque erected over the site of Roe’s original workshop. Walthamstow Marsh is now managed as part of the Lee Valley Regional Park. The LVRPA has continued the old traditions, re-introducing grazing by longhorn cows on part of the marsh, a unique sight in East London. A local volunteer group helps manage the site and a User Forum has been consulted on management for many years and this process is being reviewed to try and broaden community involvement.

Sources consulted:

Lee Valley Regional Park Authority website

Further Information (Planning and Conservation)
Grid ref:
Size in hectares:
Site ownership:
Lee Valley Regional Park Authority
Site management:
LVRPA Park Operations; The Filter Beds and Walthamstow Marshes User Forum
Listed structures:
On National Heritage List for England (NHLE), Parks & Gardens:

Registered common or village green on Commons Registration Act 1965:

Protected under London Squares Preservation Act 1931:


Local Authority Data

The information below is taken from the relevant Local Authority's planning legislation, which was correct at the time of research but may have been amended in the interim. Please check with the Local Authority for latest planning information.

On Local List:
In Conservation Area:
Tree Preservation Order:
Nature Conservation Area:
Yes - SSSI
Green Belt:
Metropolitan Open Land:
Special Policy Area:
Yes - Archaeological Priority Zone
Other LA designation:

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