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Great days out

Spread out across London and the Thames Valley, our sites are open to the public to enjoy all year round. From fishing at Farmoor to sailing on the Queen Mary, there’s a great range of activities to try our nature reserves and reservoirs. You can visit important grassland in the Cotswolds, or London's grazing marshes at Crossness, a vital habitat for water voles. From wetland habitat to managed grassland and sites of scientific special interest, there's a wealth of nature to be observed.

Walking, cycling, sailing and even windsurfing are all actively encouraged at many of our sites across our region too. 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 can 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

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

Sign up to Kempton's membership scheme

Members can attend special events such as birdsong workshops, bat walks, moth trapping evenings, bird ringing demonstrations and butterfly walks. Membership also includes regular newsletters and information on wildlife sightings.

Farmoor Reservoir

Farmoor is in the Oxfordshire countryside with beautiful woodland views and the River Thames nearby welcoming dog walkers. Inside the nature reserve, there are lots of activities for visitors. These include fly and coarse fishing, bird watching, sailing and windsurfing and is open daily at 8 am. There's a car park charge, which can be paid when leaving. Closing times will vary throughout the year, depending on daylight. Winter closing time is 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 is a Site of Special Scientific Interest (SSSI). With 10 reservoirs to visit, Walthamstow Wetlands has something for everyone. Two of the reservoirs offer anglers a chance to fly fish, and there are some great paths to try.

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 for the Crossness membership scheme

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

Heritage sites

We have a long history of providing drinking water and sanitation in London and the Thames Valley. This means many fascinating heritage buildings and steam pumping engines that are all open for the public to enjoy.

Kempton Engine House is home to the world’s largest fully operational triple expansion steam engine. The “Sir William Prescott” 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. They were connected 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. It features some of the most impressive 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.

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