Walthamstow Wetlands has been designed to give you an unforgettable experience getting close to nature. It is both a nature reserve in the heart of London as well as an operational site for Thames Water.

To ensure everyone has a safe and enjoyable experience at Walthamstow Wetlands, please observe the below terms and conditions for all visitors. Please help us ‘Keep it special, keep it safe!’

Guidance on site

Beware of other users onsite

Walthamstow Wetlands is a Thames Water operational site

Please respect the other users of this very special site. Unlike any other nature reserve or open space, this one is supplying drinking water to 3.5 million people every day. The Thames Water staff on site will do their best to keep out of the way of visitors, but they have an important job to do. This has to take priority and they need your understanding and cooperation as they go about their work.

No paddling, swimming, diving or use of boats

The water is deep with strong undercurrents and extremely cold just below the surface, even on a hot day

These working reservoirs are full of hidden dangers, including strong currents caused by the need to pump water around. So paddling, swimming or diving and the use of boats is not allowed in any of the reservoirs. The banks are steep and slippery and, however tempting it may be to get closer, for your own protection you must keep away from the water at all times.

Please do not throw stones or feed the wildlife

Help us protect the wildlife by keeping to the paths

Visitors are asked to help avoid disturbing wildlife by keeping to the paths and defined tracks and, of course, not to skim or throw stones into the reservoirs or allow children to chase after the wildlife. Also, please do not feed the birds. Food such as bread harms them and causes pollution.

Beware of back casting lines and fishing hooks

Keep an eye open and stand well back

Walthamstow Wetlands is the largest recreational fishery in London and a special site for anglers, many of whom have been coming here for years and who pay for the privilege of using the platforms. To avoid accidents from anglers casting their leads or flies, we need to ask all visitors to keep an eye open and stand well back.

No litter

Please take litter home with you

Even the smallest piece of litter spoils other people’s enjoyment of this very special place. Please take everything you bring home with you.

No Cycling in the festival

No cycling in the festival but you’re invited to use our bike park!

Visit the Dr Bike stand to get your bike tuned up for free

We invite you to amble round the festival on foot only. Disturbance to birds and flocks on the reservoirs can result from bikes. 

Children under the age of 16 must be accompanied by an adult

For their own safety

The risks present on the site mean that we require children under the age of 16 to be accompanied by an adult at all times. With deep water, strong undercurrents and heavy machinery onsite, children must be supervised at all times.

No barbeques or open fires

Avoid the risk of fire

On a special site like this, the risk of fire means we cannot allow barbecues or open fires at anytime, anywhere on the site.

Smoking is prohibited in all buildings and no alcohol may be consumed on site

To be observed throughout site

In accordance with UK law, smoking is prohibited in all buildings (including hides). Please also be aware that it is not permitted to drink alcohol on the wider site for your own safety, alcohol at the festival is restricted to the food village. Walthamstow Wetlands is a Thames Water operational site with deep water and concealed valves, and there is also heavy machinery operating on the site.

Please stay on the marked paths and trails

Look out for signs and gates

There are a number of reasons why we might need to close all or part of the site. This could include putting up enclosure barriers while machinery is in use, or to protect nesting birds or special wildlife habitats. Please stay on the marked paths and trails and look out for signs – they are there for your protection. Joggers and cyclists must stick to the designated path.

No dogs allowed

Even the best behaved dogs can frighten the wildlife

It is natural for dog owners to look for green places to walk their dogs and Walthamstow Wetlands appears to be the perfect place. However taking a dog into the Wetlands, even on a leash, is not allowed. This applies to most nature reserves around the world. Some of the reasons for these guidelines are:

  • Dogs may leave behind their territorial markings which disrupts the movement of native animals such as foxes and hedgehogs.
  • Dogs often dig and forage. This disturbs and may destroy the habitats of the animals and birds that live here.
  • Dogs may attack birds and disrupt their nesting sites, some of which are on the ground or on the water’s edge.
  • Dogs often chase and can cause injury to small animals such as lizards, mice, frogs and grass snakes.
  • Some dogs enjoy entering water however the reservoirs at Walthamstow Wetlands can be dangerous with steep sides, hidden currents and obstacles/equipment just below the water surface. Certain algae in the water is also toxic to dogs.

For the well-being of the native plants, animals and birds here at Walthamstow Wetlands, we seek your cooperation to leave your dogs at home when you visit Walthamstow Wetlands. Thank you for your understanding and we hope you enjoy your visit.

We do make an exception for assistance dogs on duty. Assistance dogs must be kept on the lead and under control and harnesses must state “working or assistance dog.”

Please take caution

There are uneven paths

The Engine House and main concrete pathway through the site are accessible for wheelchair users and those with walking difficulties. However please note that Walthamstow Wetlands is a nature reserve so the remaining pathways on the site are dirt track and they may be uneven, slippery and muddy in places. Please take care whilst walking on these paths.