11. Enhancing Amwell Nature Reserve

Theme: Ecology and biodiversity


  • Improve bankside and in-channel habitat
  • Improve public engagement with the river

Project description

Large-scale habitat creation and restoration at an internationally important nature reserve.

Amwell Nature Reserve is a former gravel pit in the Lee Valley that has been designated as a Site of Special Scientific Importance for the important numbers of wintering wildfowl and waders it supports. It is also forms part of the Lee Valley Special Protection Area and is a designated RAMSAR site (a wetland of international importance).

The reserve is made up of two major water bodies, Great Hardmead Lake and Holycross Lake, set amongst a mosaic of wetlands, grassland and woodland, and is owned by the Herts and Middlesex Wildlife Trust.

In summer 2018, funding provided by the Environment Agency and Cadent Gas enabled large-scale habitat improvements to take place across the site involving:

  • Installation of a new sluice - to better control water levels and expose more habitat available for wintering wildfowl and breeding waders.
  • Creation of new scrapes, islands, ditches and pools around the edge of Great Hardmead Lake - to provide additional shelter and feeding sites for wildfowl and waders.
  • New fencing to allow pig grazing across parts of these new habitats - pigs root up tubers of plants, controlling succession to dry land and creating micro habitats for invertebrates.
  • Interpretation upgrades - to educate visitors about the site's wildlife.

Further funding is sought to enhance other areas of the site including:

  • New fencing around Holyfield Lake and Dragonfly Trail - to improve grassland biodiversity through goat grazing.
  • Restoration of the dragonfly pond - home to 21 species, the best site in the county. 
Grid reference: TL 376 127
Project lead: Herts and Middlesex Wildlife Trust
Project partners: Environment Agency
Funding source: Environment Agency, Cadent Gas
Project start: September 2018
Project end: 2020
Contact for more information: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

Design by LTD Design Consultants and build by Garganey Consulting.