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Thames Days Out

Great days out

Spread out across London and the Thames Valley region, our reservoirs and nature sites are open to the public to enjoy all year round. From fishing at Farmoor, bird spotting at Beckton Creek or sailing on the Queen Mary, there’s a great range of activities available at our nature reserves and reservoirs. Our sites range from nationally important grassland in the Cotswolds, an island in the tidal Thames, to the last remnants of London's grazing marshes at Crossness which is vital as it is now one of the lasting remaining strongholds for water voles in the country. From wetland habitat to managed grassland and sites of scientific special interest there is a wealth of nature to be observed at our nature reserves.

Walking, cycling, sailing and even windsurfing are all actively encouraged at many of our sites across our region too, with something for everyone to give a go- there’s no time like the present to get back to nature and enjoy the British countryside on your doorstep.

Children looking through binoculars

Nature Reserves and reservoirs to visit across Thames Valley

Hogsmill Nature Reserve

Hogsmill is an important site of nature conservation in south-west London. Visitors have the opportunity to view the spectacular wildlife on the reserve via bird hides, viewing screens and warden-led tours around the reserve.

Sign up to Hogsmill's membership scheme

Membership offers the chance to attend special events and help in practical conservation management of the reserve. You'll also receive a newsletter and regular information about wildlife sightings. Events include, but are not limited to, pond dipping, mini-beast hunting, bat walks, butterfly walks, birdsong walks and wildflower walks.

Beckton Creekside Nature Reserve

Located amongst East London’s bustling landscape Beckton Creekside offers a variety of habitats and riverside views. It's a haven for wildlife and a great escape outside the city.

Kempton Nature Reserve

Kempton Nature Reserve in Hounslow, South West London, is protected as a Site of Special Scientific Interest for overwintering wildfowl and is part of a European Special Protected Area as well as a Ramsar wetland of international importance. The site features a lake, reedbeds, gravel flats, wet and dry grassland, islands created by a network of channels, wet, willow and birch woodland within the former reservoir basin.

Sign up to Kempton's membership scheme

Membership will also offer you the chance to attend special events such as birdsong identification workshops, bat walks, moth trapping evenings, bird ringing demonstrations and dragonfly and butterfly walk and you'll receive newsletters and information on wildlife sightings.

Farmoor Reservoir

Farmoor is in the Oxfordshire countryside and is surrounded by beautiful countryside with woodland views and the River Thames nearby welcoming dog walkers. Inside the nature reserve, there are lots of activities for visitors including fly and coarse fishing, bird watching, sailing and windsurfing and is open daily at 8 am. There is a car park charge, which can be paid when leaving. Closing times will vary throughout the year, depending on daylight with winter closing time at 5pm, spring months at 7pm and 9pm in the summer. The Farmoor site is closed on Christmas day.

For general sailing enquiries please email Oxford Sailing Club.

For any sail training enquiries please email Oxford Sail Training Trust.

For any fishery enquiries please email the team at Farmoor.

For stand up paddleboarding club enquiries please email the Oxford SUP Club.

Walthamstow Wetlands

Walthamstow Wetlands is located in the Lea Valley close to the centre of London. It's a haven for all types of birds and wildlife and has even been recognised as a Site of Special Scientific Interest (SSSI). With 10 reservoirs to visit, two offering anglers a chance to fly fish, as well as some great paths to try, Walthamstow Wetlands has something for everyone.

Crossness Nature Reserve

Crossness Nature Reserve is in Bexley, South East London. It offers the last remaining areas of grazing marshland within the Greater London area, and the wildlife and habitats associated with it. There is a wide range of events and community open days held here so why not become a member?

Sign up the Crossness membership scheme

Become a member at our Crossness Nature reserve and gain access to the reserve's wildlife protected area, attend wildlife-related events including birdsong identification workshops, bat walks, moth trapping evenings, and dragonfly and butterfly walks, as well as receive regular information. Simply download the application form and send it to the address on the form.

Heritage sites

With a long history of providing drinking water and sanitation in London and the Thames Valley, we also have many fascinating heritage buildings and steam pumping engines which are all open for the public to visit and enjoy.

Kempton Engine House is home to the world’s largest fully operational triple expansion steam engine - the “Sir William Prescott” which ran 24 hours a day, 7 days a week! Whilst the steam engines are no longer in use, you can visit these impressive machines. For more information, visit the Kempton website.

The great pumping engines at Kempton were also once connected to the pumping engine at Hampton by a narrow-gauge railway which supplied the coal and distributed sand to the filter beds. The Hampton site is also open to visitors. For more information, visit the Hampton website.

The Crossness Pumping Station opened in 1865 and features some of the most spectacular ornamental Victorian cast ironwork found in the world today. The building is a Grade 1 Listed building and definitely worth visiting! For more information, visit the Crossness website.