• Bees and Honey

    Bees and Honey

    A couple of days ago, on 13th June 2018, I walked across Wanstead Flats after meeting with Tony Morrison, the Wren Conservation Group’s newsletter editor. We hadn’t been discussing newsletters or editing, nor anything to do with wildlife or conservation, but rather the sad closure of our local bus-stop, courtesy of Newham Council. It is not only wildlife that can suffer cuts.

    wf alex filming 180614 generalcWe wondered what was going on down by Alexandra Lake, and I went to the few people there, who had chucked a bicycle into the lake and were erecting some structures which seemed to relate to an abandoned children's playground. I asked them what they were doing, and “Filming” was their answer, but for what film they wouldn’t say. They assured me that they had a license from the Conservators of Epping Forest, so that must be alright.

    Strolling back home on a track across the rough grassland just south of the sand-hills that give the lake its alternative, if local, name – i.e. the Sandhills Pond – I was enraptured (if that isn’t too spiritual a term) by all the forms of grasses, the yellow flowers growing amongst them, the other-coloured ones too, and the sound of a skylark ascending not so high into the heavens (if that isn’t too poetic and spiritual a description) that I could stand and watch as well as listen. It was just one of those nice days and gentle experiences.

    The following day the whole area was “swamped” with vehicles and personnel. The rest of the film crew had joined in. Tony said to me that “there were more vehicles in the area than on the M25...!!!”

    wf alex filming 180614 crewcWith disgust and sadness I sent a brief email to Tim Harris, Chairman of the Wren Group. It said little more than “Skylarks yesterday, film crew today.”

    Unexpectedly, and shortly after, I received a phone call from Martin Newnham, Head Keeper for Epping Forest, just checking on my observation and confirming that they had been given permission to film there. I explained that that was rather unfortunate, as the skylark I’d seen the day before might not be too happy. I certainly wasn’t too happy, and I’m not even a skylark.

    Then followed a rash of emails, primarily sent to Tim, who copied them on to me. More and more people seemed to be getting involved. I responded to one from Geoff Sinclair – Head of Operations – in which he stated that the film crew “are in an area…. well away from the ‘Skylark nesting area’."

    wf alex filming 180614 seesawcI felt I ought to respond to this and explained that although well away from the main nesting area, this relatively small patch has for years provided a nesting area for one pair. Also, that it wasn’t just the skylarks that might be disturbed, but because of the nature of the soils there (sand and gravels) there were other aspects at risk, including plants and mining bees.

    Both Tim and I were saddened, disappointed and concerned that after years of providing information about habitats and wildlife to the Conservators of Epping Forest, this seemed to have been disregarded in favour of income. Bees and Honey.

    Well, it is easy to turn ones disappointment into a rant. Perhaps that’s why for a good few years now I have (almost) stopped banging my head against a solid Forest wall. That hurts.

    The last email I received, also addressed to Tim, was a very understanding one from Geoff Sinclair. I was really pleased to receive that, because in effect it was an admission and apology for getting things wrong in licensing that film shot, and a "thank you" for bringing the matter to his attention. In addition, Geoff suggested that, following this incident, it might be in order to investigate how things might be done better in the future, particularly – perhaps – taking local knowledge into account.

    wf alex filming 180614 plinthc By Friday the massed personnel, vehicles, broken swing, abandoned bike and filming frame were all gone. There were a couple of holes (too big to have been made by mining bees) where a see-saw once stood, some flattened grass and some cigarette butts. Of course, those may have been left by any visitor. But also left behind was a very apt artefact. It was a plinth – looking like stone but actually, I think, wood – which had a plaque on it. This read (word for word, spelling for spelling) This nature preserve was made possible by the generous donation of THE GLENGROVE HOUSE MEMORIAL TRUST. Well, fancy donating a jammy Glengrove House Memorial Trust to the Forest! And it has spread out some grass, too. Hold on: there are the mining-bees, and then there is fly-tipping...

    And what of the Skylarks? I didn’t hear them on a visit the day after, but that doesn’t mean that they are not there. However, during 2009 and 2010 Thames Water Authority installed an underground pipe-line intended to carry water from a bore-hole in the Old Sewage Works (Aldersbrook Exchange Lands) to the Redbridge Water Treatment works near Redbridge roundabout. This involved using a large machine named the Longborer to create a horizontal bore to carry the pipe, under the south arm of the Ornamental Water and across the Plain. Now, up until then there had annually been a pair of larks nesting on the Plain. Apart from here there isn’t much else of a suitable habitat in Wanstead Park for Skylarks, so just one pair had enough room for a territory. After the disturbance caused by that boring, the Skylarks have never returned to the Park. It takes only one disturbance to finish things off.

    And the title of the film? Tim suggested it might be called “The Lark Descending”?

     Paul Ferris MBNA, 15th June 2018


     WFlatsFilming 002c

    WFlatsFilming 003c

    WFlatsFilming 001c

    Photos by Paul Ferris and Tony Morrison

  • Bird Migration Excitement on Wanstead Flats

    Migration Excitement on Wanstead Flats

    Anyone visiting the Flats on the last Saturday of August 2009 could have been forgiven for thinking they had been transported to one of the UK's coastal bird migration hot-spots. As I was walking towards Jubilee Pond just after 8 a.m. I received a text message from Jonathan Lethbridge - at the other end of the Flats - telling me he'd just seen a Spotted Flycatcher, a Redstart and three Whinchats. Minutes later I was watching four Whinchats in one tree, while a group of distant pipits flitted between trees. Unfortunately, I couldn't get close enough to make up my mind whether they were the Tree or Meadow variety, and I didn't hear them call. However, my suspicion is that they were the former species and - like the Whinchats - on the move from breeding sites unknown. Evidence of a good breeding season, and the great importance of this tract of the Flats, I saw at least 12 Common Whitethroats in the area just south of Lake House Road.

    The combination of the time of year, with many of our summer visitors beginning their long migrations south, and a spell of overnight rain which had probably encouraged many to pitch down in the nearest suitable habitat, had clearly produced something very exciting.

    When I reached the broomy area south of Long Wood I couldn't believe my eyes. Wheatears and Whinchats seemed to be everywhere I looked! I counted four Northern Wheatears in one hawthorn, while another three hopped around on the dusty track. In the broom itself there were at least five more Whinchats - but it was difficult to be sure of the number because of their constant flitting from plant to plant.

    I joined Paul Ferris near Alexander Lake, where we searched in vain for the Redstart and the Spotted Flycatcher. Just after I left Paul I found another Wheatear on the edge of a football pitch.

    It is notoriously difficult trying to accurately assess numbers of small migrating songbirds, but piecing together the evidence from my own observations and those of Stuart Fisher, Jonathan Lethbridge and Paul Ferris, the migrant 'fall' involved at least three Yellow Wagtails, three Redstarts (two of these being males), eleven or twelve Whinchats, eight Wheatears, one Lesser Whitethroat, a dozen or more Common Whitethroats, several Chiffchaffs, three Willow Warblers, a Spotted Flycatcher and up to eight Tree Pipits.

    Expecting the migrants to have departed overnight, imagine my surprise when the following morning there were still five five Whinchats (a mixture of adults and young birds) south of Long Wood. And on the bank holiday Monday a 'new' female Redstart was near Jubilee Pond, with seven Whinchats nearby and another four of the latter species to the east of Centre Road.

    It's weekends like this that local patch-watchers live for. Eat your heart out, Cley!

    Tim Harris, 1st September 2009

  • Butterflies


    By the end of 2014, 28 species of butterfly have been recorded in the area. Three species of Skipper are present with both Small and Essex particularly common on Wanstead Flats but together with the Large Skipper also common elsewhere  such as in Wanstead Park. There were no known records of Green Hairstreaks in the Wanstead area until a colony ws discovered on Wanstead Flats by Tim Harris in May 2013, when at least six were seen. The Purple Hairstreak, however, is quite common, although perhaps not too often noticed. There are annual colonies on the oaks towards the east end of Capel Road, and it has been observed that individuals perhaps from these colonies regularly feed on pears on a tree in a garden adjacent to nearby Manor Park Cemetery. They have also been seen in Wanstead Park and in Bush Wood. The White-letter Hairstreak has only occasionally been sighted, by the Grotto and also near Whiskers Island. Small Coppers are very common, particularly on Wanstead Flats and on the Plain in Wanstead Park. The Brown Argus is an interesting one: an individual was first recognised and distinguished from the similar-looking female Common Blue in the Sewage Works site on 4th June 2011 by Tim Harris. I saw others in the same location on 10th July and on the Plain in Wanstead Park on 19th July. However, a check through my photographs show an individual on Wanstead Flats on 8th August 2005; has this species simply been overlooked? Common Blues are common, in a variety of locations including gardens, as are Holly Blues. The Red Admiral is another common butterfly in the area, often being one of the earlier or later species seen during the year with one being seen flying in Wanstead Park on Christmas Day, 2011. Painted Lady butterflies are of course sporadic in their appearance, with only one record - on Wanstead Flats - in 2011. The Small Tortoiseshell is common enough in a variety of locations as are Peacocks and Commas, the last of which particularly so in Wanstead Park. The Clouded Yellow is another sporadic visitor, with very few sightings.  Brimstones are usually one of the first butterflies to be seen in the area, with fast-flying individuals sometimes seen in Wanstead Park. However we don't have any of the species' food-plant - buckthorn - in the vicinity. Large White, Small White and Green-veined Whites are all quite common. Orange Tips are another early species, and are relatively common. The Speckled Wood is perhaps our most commonly observed species, with a long flight-period. It is particularly frequent in Wanstead Park, and also in gardens near Manor Park Cemetery. The Wall butterfly is a rarity, the only records being of an individual seen in a back garden of Roseberry Avenue, Manor Park on 22nd July 1989 by Tim Harris and another seen by Tim Harris in Wanstead Park on 23 July 1990. The Marbled White is a distinctive butterfly and had not been recorded in the area until one was seen by Jennifer Charter in Wanstead Park by Northumberland Avenue on 4th July 2011; subsequently another sighting was at the east end of the SSSI on Wanstead Flats by Nick Croft on 6th July 2011 and another in the same location by myself on 9th July. Gatekeepers are quite common on Wanstead Flats, in the Park and in the Sewage Works, as are Meadow Browns and Small Heaths. On 20th July 2013, Kathy Hartnett and myself spotted the first ever Ringlet recorded in the area. This single specimen was on Rosebay Willowherb between the Shoulder of Mutton and Heronry ponds in Wanstead Park.

    Past Records:

    An interesting local record relating to the Large Tortoiseshell - which although common in Victorian times has only been recorded 150 times since 1951 and is now considered extinct in the UK. This is related in the "The Entomologist's record and journal of variation" Vol 97, 1985:

    LARGE TORTOISESHELL, Nymphalis polychlorus (LINNAEUS) IN 1985 - It may be worth placing on record the recent observation by my friend Nick Mallet of a single female large tortoiseshell butterfly at a bramble flower in Wanstead Park, South Essex, [London] , on 14th July 1985. The origin of this particular insect is open to question. Certainly I have seen no others here in the last ten years which rules out a remnant breeding colony! One is left therefore with two choices: either a genuine migrant or an escape/introduction. Contact with the local butterfly breeding fraternity seems to rule out the latter choice, (although one can never be one hundred percent certain). Colin W. Plant, Passmore Edwards Museum, Romford Road, Stratford, London, El5 4LZ.


    Name Species Status
    Small Skipper Thymelicus sylvestris Common - particularly on Wanstead Flats
    Essex Skipper Thymelicus lineola Common- particularly on Wanstead Flats
    Large Skipper Ochlodes faunus Common
    Green Hairstreak Callophrys rubi  A colony discovered on Wanstead Flats on 27th May 2013. Appeared to be more widespread in 2014, with specimens seen either side of Centre Road.
    Purple Hairstreak Neozephyrus quercus Common, colonies in Bush Wood, by Wanstead Flats and by Wanstead Park; feeds on pear trees in Capel Road garden
    White-letter Hairstreak Strymonidia w-album Occurs near the Grotto in Wanstead Park
    Small Copper Lycaena phlaeas Common- particularly in Wanstead Park
    Brown Argus Aricea agestis Recognised by Tim Harris on 4th June 2011 in Sewage Works site. Subsequently found by Paul Ferris on 10 July in same location. However, a photograph taken on Wanstead Flats on 8th August 2005 is of this species
    Common Blue Polyommatus icarus Common
    Holly Blue Celastrina argiolus Common, particularly in the City of London Cemetery; common in Capel Road garden.
    Red Admiral Vanessa atalanta Common
    Painted Lady Vanessa cardui Infrequent; on Wanstead Flats July 2005
    Small Tortoiseshell Aglais urticae Common
    Peacock Inachis io Common
    Comma Polygonia c-album Common
    Clouded Yellow Colias croceus Infrequent - has been seen in the old Sewage Works
    Brimstone Gonepteryx rhamni Fairly common
    Large White Pieris brassicae Common
    Small White Pieris rapae Common
    Green-veined White Pieris napi Common
    Orange Tip Anthocharis cardamines Common
    Speckled Wood Pararge aegeria Common to very common, in Wanstead Park and increasingly in gardens in Capel Road
    Wall Lasiommata megera 22nd July 1989 an individual seen in back garden of Roseberry Avenue, Manor Park by Tim Harris; another seen by Tim Harris in Wanstead Park on 23 July 1990
    Marbled White Melanargia galathea First noted by Jennifer Charter in Wanstead Park by Northumberland Avenue on 4th July 2011; subsequently by Nick Croft at the east end of the SSSI on Wanstead Flats on 6th July 2011 and Paul Ferris in same location on 9th July.
    Gatekeeper Pyronia tithonus Common in colonies, particularly in the Sewage Works; increasingly in gardens in Capel Road (2004)
    Meadow Brown Maniola jurtina Common, particularly on Wanstead Flats
    Small Heath Coenonympha pamhilus Common, particularly on Wanstead Flats and on the Plain, Wanstead Park
    Ringlet Aphantopus hyperantus First local specimen on Rosebay Willowherb between SOM and Heronry Ponds on 20th July 2013. Seen by Kathy Hartnett and myself
  • Dunlin visit to the Flats

    Dunlin visit and migrant birds on Wanstead Flats

    Walking from home across the Flats  to enjoy a coffee in the sun in the cemetery (!), my 'phone rang... "There's a Dunlin on the Jubilee Pond" said Jonathan Lethbridge, so instead of a short walk and sit in the sun, I had a long walk and an excellent view of a Dunlin.

    There is a report of a Dunlin at the same site on 6th February 1979, when the pond was then concrete-lined and called the Model Yacht Pond, and the following year I observed a Dunlin that was present by Alexandra Lake from 31st August to 3rd September.

    The situation yesterday was similar to that of the 1980 one; the bird was feeding almost persistently along the edge of the pond, just a few feet away from the pond-edge path and passing people, and seemed quite oblivious to any possible danger. I am no expert on Dunlin behaviour, but when I see them more typically, for example, in estuarine habitats, they are always in flocks, and if a possible danger - usually from overhead - goes past the whole lot go up as if one. There are certainly possible dangers on Wanstead Flats - Sparrowhawks being one - and enough going on to startle me at times, but these individual Dunlin seem to be mostly unaware and unfazed. Is it because they are so out of their normal environment and usual company that they are simply just not picking up the usual signals from their peers?

    Whatever, the opportunity was there to sit on a bench and observe the feeding just a few feet from the bird.

    Yesterday's photographs (digital cameras not being around in 1980) captured the Dunlin almost always with its head in the water. It was still there at 3pm, but not seen just after 5pm.

    Wanstead Flats has in the last few years seen an explosion of bird-watchers; it has at last been recognised as an excellent birdwatching site. Back in 1980 I wrote an article for the Wren Group Newsletter entitled "Wanstead Flats - not bad for birds" (read here), but there was only about two of us to my knowledge that covered the Flats. Now - with some excellent bird-spotters about - my long-term thoughts about its possibilities are proving true. However, recently some of us are becoming aware that Wanstead Flats is actually loosing habitats - or is in danger of doing so. An example of these that relates to waders in particular is an area  of marsh quite near the Jubilee Pond. This is probably the area where most of the present-day Snipe hang out overnight. But it is drying out. This can be seen by the lack of mosses and liverworts that used to be found here, and the invasion of birches and other dry vegetation. Similarly - on Alexandra Lake I used to fairly often see Common Sandpipers first thing in the morning on the banks of the two islands there. Now these islands are surrounded by willow vegetation, and indeed it has  become almost impossible to realise that there are two islands and not just one as the willows tangle together!

    The arrival of seven Little Egrets in Wanstead Park last July when the level of water in the Heronry Pond was so low showed how quickly these birds had found a habitat that they found useful for their feeding. What we are lacking in the whole Wanstead area, I believe, are scrapes for wading birds. Perhaps an ideal place to think of creating these might be by the Roding - which must be a migration route for such birds - and a potential area exists. This is the site of the old allotments on the Redbridge bank to the north of Whiskers Island. There are a number of proposals for making use of this un-used and presently bramble-tangled land. These certainly includes a pedestrian/ cycle (and - hopefully - horse) route to complete a missing link of the Roding Valley Way, but also the possibility of moving the present river bund away from the river towards the A406 link road. This is so as to provide a water-relief flood plain in case of high water levels in the Roding.

    Notwithstanding that the allotment area probably at present provides a good nesting habitat for a variety of our more common birds, the idea of a flood plain could give rise to the idea of a series of scrapes for wading birds - a much more-needed habitat, I suggest?

    Perhaps we could see more Dunlin - and other things - visiting the Wanstead Park area, as careful management could see an increasing number of the wide variety of migrants and residents that we already know visit Wanstead Flats.

    Paul Ferris, 22 April 2010

    dunlin_wf_jub_100421_0556articleDunlin wading...

    dunlin_wf_jub_100421_0574article...Dunlin feeding

  • Leyton Flats

     Leyton Flats - an introduction

    For a List of plant species found on Leyton Flats - click here

    For a Map of Leyton Flats - click here

    For photos of plants found on Leyton Flats - click here

    For other aspects of Leyton Flats - click here

    The majority of Leyton Flats lies within the London Borough of Waltham Forest. Because of the overall similarity between Leyton Flats and Wanstead Flats to the south-east, some comparison is made between these two areas in the text and further comparisons may be made by referring to "Wanstead Flats".

    Leyton Flats is, like the somewhat similar Wanstead Flats, an open area in the southern reaches of Epping Forest, close to, and almost surrounded by, heavily populated residential areas. The borders of Leyton Flats are Whipps Cross Road to the south-west, Lea Bridge Road in the west, Snaresbrook Road in the north and the Central Line railway cutting and Hollybush Hill (road) to the south and the east. The private grounds of Snaresbrook Crown Court are in the north-east corner as is the Eagle Pond, which is part of Epping Forest. More forest land in the neighbourhood of Whipps Cross Hospital is separated from Leyton Flats by Whipps Cross Road.

    Leyton Flats proper comprises about 75 hectares of land, of which 38 hectares is flat open grassland, 20 hectares woodland and the rest mainly ponds or wet areas. The whole lies on the Boyn Hill Terrace of pebble gravel and alluvium, for which past workings have produced the pits and spoil heaps to be found in parts of the area. The habitats thus formed account at least in part for a flora that differs to some degree from that of the superficially similar environments of Wanstead Flats, with which some interesting comparisons may be made. The same cattle grazed on Leyton Flats as on Wanstead Flats, though it seems that they had preference for the latter which might be related to differences in the vegetation of the two areas.

    Poor drainage of rain-water from Leyton Flats give rise to considerable waterlogging of the grassland, particularly during winter. There are a number of drainage ditches across the area, of which some drain to the Hollow Pond or the Eagle Pond. Numerous other ponds or damp hollows are mostly the result of past gravel diggings and are scattered around the north and west edges. They have a variety of shapes and sizes, and of these only that at the west edge of the Flats by Lea Bridge Road normally has a covering of water for any length of time. At the north end of the large Hollow Pond is a much smaller expanse of water known as the Round Pond, which drains into its larger neighbour. The water that feeds this pond is mainly gathered from Gilbert's Slade to the north. There are some kiosks and a boat-house by the Hollow Pond, the only buildings on the Flats. In a birch wood adjacent to the fence of Snaresbrook Crown Court (once the Royal Wanstead School and before that the Infant Orphan Asylum) and close to the Eagle Pond, is Birch Well. This is a small spring enclosed by a stone surround about five feet across, once used for drinking water. Particularly in the north and west part of the Flats and mainly around the edge are areas of woodland; there is a scattering of trees elsewhere. For an account of water-courses on Leyton Flats in years past, see Wanstead Watercourses: the "River Holt"by Barry Hughes.

    There are no deliberately planted groups of diverse species of trees as are to be found on Wanstead Flats, nor roadside lines or avenues. However, towards the east end of Whipps Cross Road there is a copse of trees which contain a number of Turkey oak Quercus cerris, evidently deliberately planted. There is in the south-east part of the area a quite extensive patch of mixed gorse and broom scrub, and another area predominantly of gorse north-east of the Hollow Pond. There are no close-mown playing-fields as on Wanstead Flats, the only mown grass being by Whipps Cross Road and used as a picnic or recreation area. The overall "roughness" of the whole area as compared to Wanstead Flats with its large areas of playing fields seems to put a different emphasis on the recreation and sporting activities which are undertaken. There is virtually no football, cricket or golf practice, nor model aircraft or boats, but there is horse-riding, and the hilly banks of the Hollow pond are used by numbers of motor and pedal-cycle riders as a sort of scramble course. This activity contributes to the sparsity of plant growth around these lakes. For these reasons, and as little deliberate seeding or planting takes place nor apparently is there much casual dumping of garden refuse, Leyton Flats presents a somewhat wilder appearance than does Wanstead Flats.

    The Plants of Leyton Flats

    The grassland

    The major expanse of grassland lies to the east and south-east of the Hollow Pond and, apart from a small woodland area near Whipps Cross Road, has trees mainly around the edges, with a scattering elsewhere. Scrub, mainly of gorse Ulex europaeus and broom Sarothamnus scoparius, occurs in patches. One large area near Hollybush Hill is a mixture of these species, and another by the Hollow Pond consists mainly of gorse. This scrub gives protection to a number of oak seedlings. Particularly in the south-east part of the Flats, such grasses as perennial rye-grass Lolium perenne, cocksfoot Dactylis glomerata and Yorkshire fog Holcus lanatus are abundant, together with some crested dog's-tail Cynosurus cristatus. Common mouse-ear Cerastium holosteoides, white clover Trifolium repens and yarrow Achillea millefolium are typical common plants to be found amongst these grasses. Some upright hedge-parsley Torilis japonica has also been found here. North of this, in the central part of the Flats, are extensive areas of mat-grass Nardus stricta, as well as brown bent Agrostis canina subsp. montana, common bent A. tenuis and wavy hair-grass Deschampsia flexuosa. Amongst these, sheep's sorrel Rumex acetosella is common and heath rush Juncus squarrosus is widely scattered. One patch of heather Calluna vulgaris occurs in the north-east portion. Further north still, the grassland merges into mixed birch and oak woodland, together with some damp hollows in the vicinity of the Eagle Pond. Within the wooded area that stretches along much of Snaresbrook Road are some small areas of grassland that retain a plant community that suggests a possible relic heathland flora. Such species as tormentil Potentilla erecta, heath bedstraw Galium saxatile and many-headed woodrush Luzula multiflora grow amongst mat-grass and brown bent. In slightly damper conditions in these locations are also to be found common sedge Carex nigra, a small amount of carnation-grass C. panicea, some patches of creeping willow Salix repens and heath grass Sieglingia decumbens. This interesting flora is in some danger of being encroached upon by birch scrub.

    The woodland and trees

    English oak Quercus robur and silver birch Betula pendula are the dominant tree species on Leyton Flats, together with holly Ilex aquifolium and Hawthorn Crataegus monogyna. A mixed birch and oak woodland extends along the northern edge of the area, with oak becoming more predominant at the west end of the Flats. A somewhat isolated wood by Whipps Cross Road further south comprises mainly English oak, but has some specimens of Turkey oak Quercus cerris. Elsewhere, trees are to be found mainly around the edges of the open grassland, while a few, mainly oaks, grow by the sides of the drainage ditches. Within the oak/birch woodland of the north-east corner there is a group of aspen Populus tremula, and a single seedling yew Taxus baccata, a species not otherwise known on Leyton Flats. Although some of the older birch here is dying, as on Wanstead Flats, there are mature trees and an abundance of saplings. Rowan Sorbus aucuparia occurs here as saplings only. It may be noted that this species, in sapling form, has increased over the whole southern Epping Forest study area in the last year or two. The reason for this is not known, but it is thought that an increase in local street and garden planting of this species has given rise to bird-sown seedlings. No mature rowan trees are known in this part of the forest. In places the wood is quite dense, with holly, bramble Rubus fruticosus agg., and bracken Pteridium aquilinum. Both field rose Rosa arvensis and dog rose R. canina occur. In the wet areas, particularly in the north-west of Leyton Flats, willow is common and sometimes abundant. Both great sallow Salix caprea and common sallow S. cinerea subsp. atrocinerea occur, but more work needs to be done on the identification and distribution of Salix spp. Between the site of an old lido and the Hollow Pond, oaks are virtually the only plants to grow on the compacted sandy gravel that occurs here. Near here there is a large common lime Tilia x europaea and a hybrid black poplar Populus x canadensis var. marilandica, as well as a Japanese privet Ligustrum ovalifolium. By Whipps Cross Road and between this road and the Hollow Pond, holly is abundant and there are numerous specimens of wild cherry Prunus avium, some elder Sambucus nigra, and a single small Turkey oak. Further south the trees thin out as the grassland is met, and a specimen of laburnum Laburnum anagyroides is found. By Hollybush Hill both apple Malus sp. and pear Pyrus communis seem evidence of deliberate planting. Although the total number of tree species to be found on Leyton Flats is similar to Wanstead Flats, and the majority of the species are the same in both areas, the distribution differs considerably. Leyton Flats is dominated by large numbers of few species to an extent that Wanstead Flats with its deliberately planted groups of diverse species is not.

    The ponds and wet areas

    The Hollow Pond is the largest area of permanent water on Leyton Flats. Muddy regions occur in places by the winding banks of sandy gravel, although the compacted soil away from the water is largely devoid of plant growth. Great reed-grass Glyceria maxima and soft rush Juncus effusus, with great reedmace Typha latifolia and yellow flag-iris Iris pseudacorusare typical plants to be found in these muddy waterside areas, as well as spike-rush Eleocharis palustris, duckweed Lemna minorand marsh pennywort Hydrocotyle vulgaris in places. In the water common plants are hornwort Ceratophyllum demersum and Canadian pondweed Elodea canadensis, while spiked water-milfoil Myriophyllum spicatum, curly water-thyme Lagarosiphon major, grassy pondweed Potamogeton obtusifolius and hair-like pondweed P. trichoides have all been found. Willow Salix sp. is present but not in quantity, around the edge. The numerous islands of the lake have not been investigated, but it can be readily seen that those particularly at the east end have much gorse cover, and silver birch is common.

    Over-flow water runs in the Hollow Pond from a much smaller pond at its north-east corner. There are some patches of low plant growth around its banks, including toad rush Juncus bufonius, jointed rush J. articulatus, and of particular interest, near its north bank, slender rush J. tenuis. Canadian pondweed is also present in this pond, as are lesser pondweed Potamogeton pusillus and hair-like pondweed P. trichoides.

    The Eagle Pond is the second largest of the permanent open waters, less natural looking than the others, partially due to the pavement of Snaresbrook Road which forms its northern perimeter. The east end and the south side of this pond, although forming the boundary of the study area, have not been investigated as they are in private grounds. Only the short length of the pond's western end adjoins the woodland area of Leyton Flats. At the water's edge grow pale persicaria Polygonum lapathifolium, water-pepper P. hydropiper, trifid bur-marigold Bidens tripartita and a specimen of white willow Salix alba. Also present are some hard rush Juncus inflexus and the only specimen of remote sedge Carex remota known on Leyton Flats. Nearby there is a spring, Birch Well, with a stone edge, which flows into the nearby Eagle Pond. This spring is about 1.5metres long and slightly less wide and contains much floating sweet-grass Glyceria fluitans.

    The third pond in size and which usually has some water-cover is that at the west end of the Flats by Lea Bridge Road. This is closely surrounded by trees except on the side by the road, and willows are abundant particularly at the north-east end. Also at this end great water-grass grows luxuriantly and covers a wide area. Marsh pennywort is common here and in many of the damp hollows in this part of the Flats. Water starwort Callitriche platycarpa is to be found on the mud at the edge of the pond, as is one patch of bog stitchwort Stellaria alsine and some marsh foxtail Alopecurus geniculatus. The area of the North Pond, by Snaresbrook Road, is dominated by Salix, with an abundance of soft rush and great water-grass as well as bulbous rush, Juncus bulbosus, floating scirpus Eleogiton fluitans and velvet bent Agrostis canina subsp. canina. Numerous other damp hollows, ditches and areas liable to flooding exist on the Flats, and various combinations or representatives of the species mentioned are found in them, as well as others that are presented in the species list.

    Other plants and environments

    Certain plant species persist on Leyton Flats in more restricted environments than discussed above, either within or adjacent to the other areas. A notable example of this, perhaps, is buck's-horn plantain Plantago coronopus which grows in a number of locations on areas of compacted gravel. Such soil exists on the track that lies adjacent to and along much of the length of Whipps Cross Road, on and beside some footpaths, and car parking areas. On the car park to the west of the lido procumbent pearlwort Sagina procumbens and sand spurrey Spergularia rubra are found. On a bank which separates the grassland from the track by Whipps Cross Road, one plant of columbine Aquilegia vulgaris is present, together with such plants as ribwort plantain Plantago lanceolata, Oxford ragwort Senecio squalidus and groundsel S. vulgaris. A steep bank leads down to the cutting of the Central Line railway, from the drier grassland above to damp and muddy conditions below. Coltsfoot Tussilago farfarais abundant on the slope at the south end, and here too is some broad-leaved pea Lathyrus latifolius. Along the bottom of the slope where a wire fence divides the Flats from the railway, some plants of common horsetail Equisetum arvense occur, and there are many specimens of willow, as well as hawthorn, bramble and, actually on railway property which has not otherwise been investigated, silver birch.

    Adjacent areas

    Separated from Leyton Flats proper by Whipps Cross Road is another area of Forest land mostly beside and just to the south-east of Whipps Cross Hospital. Much of this land is wooded, with some clearings. Especially in the south, English oak is the dominant tree, with holly and hawthorn being abundant. Just at the edge of the Forest, near the ambulance station by James Lane, there are one or two patches of stinking iris Irisfoetidissima. This may have originated from ornamental plantings just inside the hospital grounds, where there are other specimens. In early 2016 three clumps of stinking iris were noted just in the woodland at the side of James, but across the road from the previously seen specimens. Slightly further north between the hospital and the road, there are a number of specimens of grey poplar Populus canescens, with much regeneration in progress. One locust tree Robinia pseudoacacia occurs by the hospital fence, and this is almost certainly originated from trees within the hospital grounds. Cut-leaved cranesbill Geranium dissectum occurs and goat's-beard Tragopogan pratensis is quite common in the roadside grassland. Just north of the hospital and near to the roundabout is an open area of perhaps somewhat unattractive-looking land, predominantly of grasses and common associated plants such as dandelion Taraxacum officinale agg. and cat's-ear Hypochoeris radicata. This area was wooded until 1979 when it was cleared to provide safe travel at night for nursing staff passing between the hospital and nearby bus stops. Similar clearance of roadside vegetation has been undertaken elsewhere in the vicinity of the hospital and in other parts of the study area, such as in Bush Wood by Blake Hall Road early in 1981. This obviously has a disturbing effect on the plant life, but on the land to the north of hospital, where a slight dip occurs in the middle of the area and drainage is poor, as well as soft rush and toad rush the less common slender rush Juncus tenuis and hairy sedge Carex hirta occurs in the habitat created by clearance.

    The small area of Forest land separated from the rest of Leyton Flats by the railway cutting and situated between the cutting, the Green Man roundabout complex, and the road called Highstone, comprises an area of trees which are by the railway and an area of grass by the roads. The trees here are of more diverse species in a small area than on the rest of Leyton Flats, and include beech Fagus sylvatica and hornbeam Carpinus betulus. Lime Tilia x europaea is planted by the roadside. The grass area includes common mouse-ear Cerastium holosteoides and black horehound Ballota nigra as well as spotted medick Medicago arabica which has not been found elsewhere. A pile of building rubble and earth which had been tipped onto the grassland harboured at least twenty species of plants, including creeping cinquefoil Potentilla reptans, petty spurge Euphorbia peplus, wood forget-me-not Myosotis sylvatica and germander speedwell Veronica chamaedrys. This area was considerably affected when work was undertaken during the 1990s for the Redbridge to Hackney relief road. This section, which is south-east of the Central Line railway cutting will be better classed as part of the Green Man roundabout system.

    Species known to have been recorded in recent years from the Leyton Flats area include nine that are all specifically mentioned in the Flora of Essex (Jermyn 1975), which have all been re-found. The earlier Flora of Essex (Gibson 1862) includes 58 species from such areas as "Whipps Cross" and "Snaresbrook", of which only 23 are known to be still present. The 35 species not found during the present survey are all listed in Table 1 below.


    TABLE 1. Species included in The Flora Of Essex (Gibson 1862) from the vicinity of Leyton Flats, and not found in the present survey.

    Abbreviations of recorders' names

    F............... Forster, Edward, F. L. S.

    G.............. Gibson, G.S.

    J.F............ Freeman, J.

    J.T.S......... Syme, J.T., F. L. S.

    W. L......... Lister, William Henry.

    W.G.......... Garnons, W.L.P.

    Athyrium filix-femina  Lady Fern.  Snaresbrook. F.
    Dryopteris dilitata  Broad Buckler Fern.  Snaresbrook. W.G. 
    Thelypteris limbosperma  Lemon-scented Fern.  Nr. Snaresbrook. F. 
    Chenopodium urbicum  Upright Goosefoot.  Snaresbrook.
    Oxalis acetosella  Wood Sorrel.  Snaresbrook. J.F.
    Frangula alnus  Alder Buckthorn.  Snaresbrook, not common. F. 
    Ulex minor  Dwarf Gorse.  Leytonstone. W.G. 
    Ononis spinosa  Spiny Restharrow.  Epping Forest near Stratford. J.F. 
    Trifolium medium  Zigzag Clover.  Snaresbrook. W.G.
    Ornithopus perpusillus  Bird'sfoot.  Epping Forest near Stratford. J.F.
    Rubus leucostachys  Bramble. Sm.  Snaresbrook. W.G.
    R. carpinifolius  Bramble. W. & N.  Snaresbrook.
    (Note: Rubus spp. covered in present survey by R. fruticosus agg.)
    Drosera rotundifolia Round-leaved Sundew.  Between Leytonstone and Snaresbrook. Gough. 
    Peplis portula  Water Purslane.  Epping Forest, Stratford. J.F. 
    Epilobium palustre  Marsh Willowherb.  Snaresbrook. F. 
    Apium inundatum  Lesser Marshwort.  Snaresbrook. W.G.
    Rumex pulcher  Fiddle Dock.  Nr. Leytonstone. F. 
    Salix aquatica  Willow. Sm.  Common on the Forest. F.
    Erica tetralix  Cross-leaved Heath.  Snaresbrook. G.
    Hyoscyamus niger  Henbane.  Forest near Snaresbrook. F. 
    Pedicularis palustris  Marsh Lousewort.  Forest near Stratford. J.F.
    Mentha x piperita  Peppermint.  Near Whipps Cross. F. 
    Viburnum lantana  Way-faring Tree.  Snaresbrook. W.G.
    Chamaemelum nobile  Camomile.  Leytonstone. W.G.
    Serratula tinctoria  Saw-wort.  Forest near Snaresbrook, very uncommon. F.
    Damasonium alisma. Starfruit.  Snaresbrook. J.F.
    Zannichellia palustris  Horned Pondweed.  Snaresbrook. W.G.
    Juncus subnodulosus  Blunt-flowered Rush.  Snaresbrook. W.G. 
    Lemna polyrrhiza  Greater Duckweed.  Snaresbrook. G. 
    L. gibba  Fat Duckweed.  Forest near Leytonstone. F.
    Eleocharis quinqueflora  Few-flowered Spike-rush.  Bog on Epping Forest, between Wanstead and Walthamstow. F. 
    Carex flava  Large Yellow-sedge.  Snaresbrook. W.G. 
    C. riparia  Greater Pond-sedge.  Snaresbrook. W.G.
    C. pulicaris  Flea Sedge.  Between Walthamstow and Woodford.
    Catapodium rigidum  Fern-grass.  Snaresbrook. W.G.



  • Leyton Flats - Plant List

    Leyton Flats - Plant List

    for a Map showing recording grid, click here

    p = Previous (Historical) record; G = Gibson's Flora of Essex, 1862; EF = Flora of Essex, Jermyn ST; CC = Epping Forest Conservation Centre record

    Note : "Stace" indicates the page number of the plant in Stace 2nd Edition


    Common Name
    11 Equisetum arvense
    Common Horsetail B13 E9
    20 Pteridium aquilinum
    Bracken A12 B11 B13 B14 C13 C14 D13 D14 E11
    51 Taxus baccata Yew D14
    75 Nuphar lutea Yellow Water-lily C13 at extreme North end of Hollow Pond 13/09/95
    76 Ceratophyllum demersum Horn-wort C12 C13(G.1862: near Whipps X. F.)
    88 Ranunculus acris Meadow Buttercup A12 A13 B13 D11 D12 E9
    88 Ranunculus repens
    Creeping Buttercup A13 B10 B11 B13 C11+C11 D10 E11
    88 Ranunculus bulbosus
    Bulbous Buttercup B13 D12 D14 E9
    90 Ranunculus flammula
    Lesser Spearwort  
    91 Ranunculus ficaria Lesser Celandine B13
    95 Aquilegiasp. Columbine D10 opp. Chadwick Rd on Flats side of roadside bank
    111 Platanusx hispanica London Plane C11 E9
    112 Ulmus glabra Wych Elm
    114 Ulmussp. Elm suckers  widespread
    117 Urtica dioica Nettle A12 A13 B10 B11 B12 B13 B14 C11+C11 C13 C14 D11 D14 E9+E9 E10
    120 Fagus sylvatica Beech C11 E9
    122 Quercis cerris Turkey Oak C11 E10
    123 Quercus robur English Oak A12 A13 B10 B11 B12 B13 B14 C11 C13 C14 D10 D11 D12 D13 D14 E11 E12
    124 Betula pendula Silver Birch A13 B11 B13 B14 C11 C13 C14 D13 D14 E10 E11 E12
    127 Carpinus betulus Hornbeam B11 C11 D11 D14 E9 E11
    140 Chenopodium album Fat Hen B11
    144 Atriplex prostrata Spear-leaved Orache B10 C11 D13
    146 Atriplex patula Common Orache C11
    162 Stellaria media Common Chickweed A12+A12 A13 B11 B12+B12 B13 B14 C11 C13 C14 D10 D11 D12 D13 D14 E11 E12
    163 Stellaria graminea
    Lesser Stitchwort B13 E12
    163 Stellaria uliginosa
    Bog Stitchwort A13(G.1862: (39) Snaresbrook W.)
    165 Cerastium fontanum ssp. holosteoides Common Mouse-ear D11 D14 E9+E9 E11
    168 Sagina procumbens Procumbent Pearlwort B12 B13 B15
    173 Spegularia rubra Sand-spurrey B13 30/05/80; D/E10 16/06/2012
    176 Silene latifolia White Campion E10
    177 Silene dioica
    Red Campion A12
    183 Persicaria lapathifolia Pale Persicaria D13
    183 Persicaria maculosa
    Redshank A12 B13 C11 C13 D11 D12
    184 Persicaria hydropiper
    Water-pepper C13 D13
    186 Fallopia japonica Japanese Knotweed A12 B10
    186 Polygonum aviculare Knotgrass C11 D14; B10 B11 B14
    186 Polygonum arenastrum Small-leaved Knotgrass C14 D14
    190 Rumex acetosella Sheep's Sorrel B11 B12 B13 B143 C13 C14 D11 D12 D13 D14 E11 E12
    191 Rumex acetosa
    Common Sorrel D14
    192 Rumex cristatus Greek Dock D9 D10 by Whipps Cross Road-side 26/06/2012
    194 Rumex crispus
    Curled Dock B12 B13 C11 E10 E11
    194 Rumex conglomeratus
    Clustered Dock A13 B13 B14 C11 C13 D14
    195 Rumex obtusifolius
    Broad-leaved Dock A12 A13 B10 B11 B12 B13 B14 C11+C11 C14 D10 D11 D13 D14 E9+E9
    195 Rumex sanguineus
    Red-veined Dock A13
    Hypericum sp.
    St. John's Wort
    210 Tiliax europaea Common Lime B13 D14 E9
    212 Malva  sylvestris Mallow A13 C11 D11 E9
    214 Malva neglecta Dwarf Mallow D11
    226 Populus x canscens Grey Poplar A12 B12 C13  (G.1862: Whipps Cross. F)
    227 Populus tremula
    Aspen D13 (CC: TQ395 888, young trees west of Eagle Pond, P.Moxey)
    234 Populus xcanadensis
    Hybrid Black Poplar B13 near house called 'Marilandica', var. "serotina"
    234 Salix alba
    White Willow D14 (cut down 1983)
    237 Salix capreassp. caprea
    Great Sallow D14
    240 Salix cinereasubsp. Atrocinerea
    Common Sallow C12 D13
    242 Salix repens
    Creeping Willow B13 C13 C14 D12 D13 D15(G.1862: Snaresbrook F.) (EF: 39-89, by Eagle Pond)
    250 Sisymbrium officinale Hedge Mustard A12 B10 B11 C11 D14 E9(L.1941)
    250 Arabidopsis thaliana Thale Cress B12
    257 Rorippa palustris
    Marsh Yellow-cress C13
    259 Cardamine pratensis
    Cuckoo Flower B13
    267 Capsella bursa-pastoris
    Shepherd's Purse common
    272 Lepidium draba
    Hoary Cress B14
    275 Brassica oleacea
    Cabbage B14
    281 Reseda luteola
    Weld E9 one plant by Highstone Rd. 15/6/91
    288 Calluna vulgaris
    Heather D13
    Crassula helmsii
    New Zealand Pigmyweed
    Around the margins of small Hollow Pond, 2016
    335 Rubus sect. Glandulosus
    Bramble A13 B10 B11 B12 B13 B14 C11+C11 C13 C14 D10 D11 D12 D13 D14 E9+E9 E10 E11 E12(G. 1862: R. leucostachys, R. carpinifolius, R. confertiflorus) (EF: 38 (48) Snaresbrook, JTP)
    344 Potentilla erecta
    Tormentil B14 C14 D13 E12 (G. 1862: Snaresbrook, W.G.
    344 Potentilla reptans
    Creeping Cinquefoil B23 B14 E9
    358 Rosa arvensis
    Field Rose D14
    361 Rosa canina
    Dog Rose D14
    365 Prunus avium
    Wild Cherry A12 B11 B12 C11
    365 Prunus spinosa
    Blackthorn A12 A13 B11 B12 B13 C11 D14 E9
    368 Chaenomeles speciosa
    Flowering Quince B14 well-established shrub in flower 18/4/93
    369 Malus sp.
    Apple C13 E10 E11
    369 Pyrus communis
    Pear E10
    370 Sorbus aucuparia
    Rowan A13 B11 B12 C13 D13
    374 Sorbus aria
    Whiebeam C11
    397 Crataegus monogyna
    Hawthorn A13 B10 B11 B13 B14 C11 C13 C14 D10 D11 D12 D13 D14 E9 E10
    397 Crataegus laevigata
    Midland Hawthorn B13 largish specimen in "wood", also possibly hybrid form nearby
    Robinia pseudoacacia Locust Tree B12
    406 Lotus corniculatus Bird'sfoot Trefoil D9 E9 E10
    Vicia cracca Tufted Vetch B11 D9 D10 D11
    Vicia sativa Common Vetch A13 B13 B14 C11 D10 D11 D12 E9+E9 E10 E11
    414 Lathyrus pratensis Meadow Vetchling C14
    415 Latyrus nissolia Grass Vetchling D9 12/06/2012
    Lathyrus latifolius Broad-Leaved Pea B13 C14 E9
    Medicago lupulina Black Medick Common by Whipps Cross Road-side
    Medicago arabica Spotted Medick E9; C11 Whipps Cross Road-side 13/01/2016
    Trifolium repens White Clover
    A13 B10 B11 B12 B13 C11+C11 C13 D11 D12 D13 D14 E9 E11 E12(L. 1941)
    Trifolium pratense Red Clover B13 D11 E10
    Trifolium arvense
    Haresfoot Clover
    Laburnum anagyroides Common Laburnum C11 D10
    Cytisus scoparius Broom A13 B11 B12 B13 B14 C13 C14 D10 D11 D13 E10 E12
    (G.1862: Snaresbrook, WG)
    Ulex europaeus Gorse B12 B13 B14 C11 C13 C14 D11 D12 D13 D14 E9+E9 E10 E11 E12
    Myriophyllum spicatum Spiked Water-milfoil
    Epilobium hirsutum Great Willow-herb A12 B12 C11 C13 D14 E9
    Epilobium montanum Broad-Leaved Willow-herb B13
    Epilobium tetragonum Square-stemmed Willow-herb B13 (G.1862: Snaresbrook, WG)
    446 Epilobium parviflorum Hairy Willow-herb A13
    Epilobium ciliatum American Willow-herb A12 A13 B13 C13 D14
    Chamerion angustifolium Rosebay Willow-herb A12 B10 B11+B11 B12 B13 B14 C13 C14 D13 D14 E10 E11 E12
    Circaea lutetiana Enchanter's Nightshade B11(CC: 393885, woodland near Hollow Pond, P. Moxey)
    Ilex aquifolium Holly A12 A13 B12 B13 B14 C11 C13 C14 D11 D12 D13 D14 E9 E10 E11 E12
    Mercurialis annua Annual Mercury B10 C11 E9
    Euphorbia helioscopia Sun Spurge B13 B15
    461 Euphorbia peplus Petty Spurge E9
    Aesculus hippocastanum Horse Chestnut C11 D13 D14
    Acer platanoides Norway Maple A12 A13 B12 B13 B14 C11 C14 D10 D11 D13 D14 E9 E12
    Acer campestre Field Maple E10
    Acer pseudoplatanus Sycamore B13
    Geranium rotundifolium
    Round-leaved Cranesbill
    Geranium dissectum Cut-leaved Crane's-bill B12
    Geranium robertianum Herb Robert Various locations (Cloutman 82: E10, Hollybush Rd. nr. railway 398883)
    Hedera helixsubsp. helix Ivy B11 B12 C11 D10 D13 E10
    497 Hydrocotyle vulgaris Marsh Pennywort B13 on mud with Soft Rush at Lea Bridge Road Pond, Leyton Flats, 12/05/80; B14 C12 in Hollow Pond (still present in C12 in 2012)
    (39-88,39-89; EF G. 1862 "Forest nr. Stratford" JF)
    Chaerophyllum temulum
    Rough Chervil
    Anthriscus sylvestris Cow Parsley B12 C14 D14 E9 E10 E11
    Aegopodium podagraria Ground Elder C11 C14 E9
    Heracleum sphondyleum Hogweed B11 C14 D14 E11
    517 Torilis japonica Upright Hedge Parsley D10/11 by Whipps Cross Roadside 16/06/2008; still present 2012
    (Cloutman 82: C14 south of Snaresbrook Road 394891)
    Solanum dulcamara Bittersweet A12 A13 B10 B13 C11+C11 C13 D10 D11 D14 E9
    Convolvulus arvensis Field Bindweed B10 B14
    Calystegia silvatica Great Bindweed A12 B10 B11 B13 C11 C14 D10
    Pentaglottis sempervirens Green Alkanet
    Myosotis scorpioides
    Water Forget-me-not
    Myosotis sylvatica Wood Forget-me-not B13 E9
    Ballota nigrassp.foetida Black Horehound A13 B10 B13 C11+C11 D11 E9 E10
    Lamium album White Dead-nettle A12 B12 B13 D14
    Lamium purpureum Red Dead-nettle E10
    Lycopus europaeus Gypsywort C13 D13 D14
    Callitrichestagnalis Common Water Starwort B13
    582 Callitricheplatycarpa Water Starwort  
    Plantago coronopus Buck's-horn Plantain A13 B12 B13 B14 C11 D10
    (G.1862: "Near Whipps Cross", F)
    Plantago major Great Plantain A12 A13 B11+B11 C11 D13 D14 E9
    Plantago lanceolata Ribwort Plantain A13 B11 B12 B13 B14 C11+C11 C14 D10 D11 D14 E9 E10
    Fraxinus excelsior Ash A12 B12 C11 D14
    Ligustrum ovalifolium Garden Privet B13 C11
    Veronica chamaedrys Germander Speedwell E9
    Galium verum Lady's Bedstraw D10 26/06/2012
    Galium saxatile Heath Bedstraw D13 E10 E12(G.1862: Snaresbrook, WG)
    Galium aparine Cleavers A12 C14 D14 E9
    Sambucus nigra Elder A12 A13 B11 B12 B13 B14 C11 C14 D11 D13 E9 E10
    Symphoricarpos albus Snowberry C11
    Arctium minus Lesser Burdock A12 B10 B11+B11 B14 C11+C11 D14 E9
    Cirsium vulgare Spear Thistle A13 B10 B11 B12 B13 B14 C11+C11 C13 D10 D11 E9+E9 E10
    Cirsium arvense Creeping Thistle A12 A13 B11 B12 B13 B14 C11 C13 C14 D9 D10 D12 D13 D14 E9+E9 E10 E11 E12
    Onopordum acanthium Cotton Thistle C/D11 a large patch on the Whipps Cross Road-side bank on 13/07/2012
    Centaurea nigra Black Knapweed D14
    Lapsana communis subsp. communis Nipplewort C11 D14
    Hypochaeris radicata Common Cat's-ear A12 B10 B11 B1 B13 B14 C11+C11 C13 D10 D13 D14
    Tragopogan pratensissubsp. minor Goat's Beard B11 B13 C14 D10
    Sonchus oleraceus Smooth Sow-thistle A12 B10 B14 E9
    690 Sonchus asper Prickly Sow-thistle Present    (Cloutman 82: E10 rough grassland near railway)
    Taraxacum sect. Ruderalia Dandelion common
    Crepis vesicaria Beaked Hawk's-beard A12 B14 C14 D10 E9 E10
    Crepis capillaris Smooth Hawk's-beard A13
    719 Solidago canadensis Canadian Golden-rod B10 (check species)
    Astersp. Michaelmas Daisy C13
    Bellis perennis Daisy B13 C11 D9 D10 D13 E9 E10
    Tanacetum parthenium Feverfew B11 C11
    Artemisia vulgaris Mugwort A12 B12 B14 C11+C11 D14
    Achillea millefolium Yarrow A12 A13 B10 B11 B12 B13 B14 C11 C13 C14 D10 D12 D14 E9 E10 E11
    Achillea ptarmica Sneezewort D23 (CC: 397890, near Eagle Pond)
    Tripleurospermum inodorum Scentless Mayweed A12
    Matricaria discoidea Pineapple Mayweed B10 B14 C11 D14(CC: 395885, P. Moxey)
    Matricaria recutita Scented Mayweed B14, in newly sown grass on lido access road 27/5/2010
    Senecio squalidus Oxford Ragwort A12 A13 B10 B11 B12 B13 B14 C11+C11 C14 D10 E9 E10 E12
    Senecio vulgaris Groundsel A12 A13 B10 B14 C11 C14 D10 E9 E10
    Senecio sylvaticus
    Heath Groundsel
    A/B12, at edge of vegetation to the west of Ornamental Water, 04/07/2012
    Tussilago farfara Colt's-foot D10 D14 E9
    Bidens tripartita Trifid Bur-marigold A13 B12 B13 C13 D13 D14 D15
    Alisma-plantago aquatica
    Water Plantain
    C13, at the top east edge of th pond, in a fenced bay, 04/07/2012
    762 Elodea canadensis Canadian Pondweed C12 C13
    763 Lagarosiphon major Curly Water-thyme C12 (EF: 392886, Hollow Pond 1951, K/L; choking the pond 1962-64, J. Still present 1973, KJA (CC))
    772 Potamogeton Hair-like Pondweed A13 C12 C13
    772 Potamogeton Grassy Pondweed A13 C12 D14
    772 Potamogeton Lesser Pondweed C12; Hollow Pond; C13, Small Hollow Pond
    780 Lemna minor
    Common Duckweed B13 C12 C13 C14
    784 Juncus tenuis
    Slender Rush A12 C13
    784 Juncus squarossus
    Heath Rush B13 C12 C13 D11 D12 D13 E11 E12
    (EF: 38 Whipps Cross area, near Hollow Pond)
    785 Juncus bufonius
    Toad Rush A12 B13 B14 C13 D13 D14
    788 Juncus articulatus
    Jointed Rush B13 B14 C12 C13 D13(G.1862: Snaresbrook, F)
    788 Juncus bulbosus
    Bulbous Rush B13 B14(G.1862: Snaresbrook, F) (EF: 39-88 Whipps Cross area, nr Hollow Pond)
    788 Juncus acutiflorus
    Sharp-flowered Rush B13
    790 Juncus inflexus
    Hard Rush A13 C13 D14 E10
    790 Juncus effusus
    Soft Rush A12 A13 B13 B14 C11 C13 D11 D12 D13 D14 E11 E12
    793 Luzula multiflora Many-headed Woodrush B14 D13 D14(G.1862: Snaresbrook)
    796 Eleocharis palustris
    Common Spike Rush B13
    801 Eleogiton fluitans
    Floating Scirpus B14
    814 Carex echinata
    Star Sedge D14
    814 Carex ovalis
    Oval Sedge B13 C13 D13 D14 E11 E12
    815 Carex hirta
    Hairy Sedge A12 S11 D9 D14
    817 Carex panicea
    Carnation Grass D13 (G.1862: Snaresbrook, WG) (EF: 39-88 Whipps X area)
    822 Carex nigra
    Common Sedge D13 D14(G.1862: Snaresbrook, WG)
    840 Nardus stricta Mat Grass B13 B14 C14 D11 D12 D13 E11(EF: 39-88, 39-89)
    845 Festuca rubra Red Fescue B13 C12 D12 D13
    849 Festuca ovina
    Sheep's Fescue B13 C14
    849 Festuca filiformis
    Fine-leaved Sheep's Fescue C12 C14
    850 Festuca (longifolia)
    Hard Fescue ?
    852 Lolium perenne Perennial Rye-grass B10 B11 B12 B13 B14 C11
    854 Cynosurus cristatus Crested Dog's-tail B14 C11 D11 E11
    858 Poa annua Annual Meadow-grass B12 B13 B14 C11D10 D11 D13 E9 E10
    858 Poa pratensis Smooth Meadow-grass D11 D12 D14
    858 Poa trivialis Rough Meadow-grass B13
    859 Dactylis glomerata Cock's-foot A13 B10 B11 B12 B14 C11 C13 D11 D14 E9
    862 Glyceria maxima Reed Sweet-grass B1 B14 C13
    863 Glyceria fluitans Floating Sweet-grass B13 B14 C13 D13(G.1862: Snaresbrook, WG)
    864 Arrhenatherum elatius Tall or False Oat-grass B11 E10 C14
    867 Deschampsia cespitosa Tufted Hair-grass B13 D13
    867 Holcus mollis Creeping Soft-grass E12
    868 Holcus lanatus Yorkshire Fog D14 E12
    868 Deschampsia flexuosa Wavy Hair-grass C12 C13 E10 E12
    869 Aira praecox Early Hair-grass B13
    871 Anthoxanthum odoratum Sweet Vernal Grass D13 D14
    872 Phalaris arundinacea Reed Canary Grass C13
    874 Agrostis capillaris
    Common or Fine Bent B13 B14 C12 C14 D13
    874 Agrostis stolonifera
    Creeping Bent B14
    874 Agrostis gigantea Black Bent C14
    876 Agrostis canina Velvet Bent C14 in pool;, 26/10/80
    876 Agrostis vinealis
    Brown Bent B13 C13 D12 D13 D14(G.1862: Snaresbrook, WG)
    880 Alopecurus  geniculatus
    Marsh Foxtail A13 B13 C11 C13 D11
    880 Alopecurus pratensis
    Meadow Foxtail C11 C13 D11 D12 D14
    883 Phleum pratense Timothy B13
    883 Phleum bertolonii
    Smaller Cat's-tail A12 B11 B13 B14
    885 Bromus hordeaceusssp. hordeaceus
    Soft Brome D11
    887 Bromopsis erecta Upright Brome C12
    888 Anisantha sterilis Barren Brome B11 D10 E10
    892 Elytrigia repens Couch C11+C11 D11 D14
    895 Hordeum murinum Wall Barley A13 B10 B11 C11 C14 D11 D14
    899 Danthonia decumbens Heath Grass B13 C13(EF:39-88)
    900 Molinia caerulea Purple Moor-grass E11 (EF: 39-88 Whipps X area)
    921 Typha latifolia Great Reedmace B12/13 C13
    931 Ornithogalum angustifolium Star-of-Bethlehem D11
    934 Hyacinthoides hispanica Spanish Bluebell B13
    934 Hyacinthoides non-scripta Bluebell B13 C11 C13 C14 D10 E9 E10
    945 Narcissus spp. Hybrid Daffodils A16 B14
    954 Iris pseudacorus Yellow Iris A13 B12
    954 Iris foetidissima Stinking Iris B11 James Road-side near vehicle exit from hospital, Janauary 2016 - three plants seen at south edge of James Lane
    954 Iris (germanica) Garden Iris A13 by roadsides

    for Map - click here



    The following is a list of species that I have not personally found, but have either been reported to me or I have found by research.

    p = Previous (Historical) record; G = Gibson's Flora of Essex, 1862; EF = Flora of Essex, Jermyn ST; CC = Epping Forest Conservation Centre record. Records of 1982 by Cloutman were also found in the Epping Forest Conservation Centre records at High Beach

    Common Name
    22 Oreopteris limbosperma Mountain Fern p (G.1862: near Snaresbrook, F)
    27 Athyrium filix-femina Lady Fern p (G.1862: Snaresbrook, F)
    35 Dryopteris dilatata Buckler Fern p (G.1862: near Snaresbrook, WG) (Cloutman, 82:D13 Nr. Birch Well)
    45 Pinus sylvestris Scots Pine p (G. 1862. Quotes Warner's locality "Self-sown in the pond at Snaresbrook" (EF)) Not found in 1981
    76 Ceratophyllum demersum Horn-wort (G.1862: near Whipps X. F.) C12 C13
    90 Ranunculus sceleratus
    Celery-leaved Crowfoot p (Cloutman 82: Common on muddy area)
    107 Pseudofumaria lutea Yellow Corydalis p (Cloutman 82: E12 398 885 One patch on ruined house)
    114 Ulmus procera English Elm p (C12? suckers 395 856 Cloutman 82)
    115 Ulmus minorssp. minor Smooth-leaved Elm p (C12? suckers 395 856 Cloutman 82) (Hanson 398 880)
    139 Chenopodium urbicum Upright Goosefoot p (G.1862: Snaresbrook)
    176 Silene vulgaris
    Bladder Campion p (Cloutman 82: E10 grass nr. Hollybush Hill TQ 398 882)
    217 Drosera rotundifolia Sundew p ("between Leytonstone and Snaresbrook" Gough: The Stratford Flora, J Freeman 1852)
    226 Populus nigra
    Black Poplar (G.1862: Snaresbrook W.)
    234 Salix fragilis Crack Willow p (Cloutman 82: D14 Eagle Pond)
    252 Erysimum cheiranthoides Treacle Mustard p (Cloutman 82: Whipps Cross roads 3391891 = A14)
    257 Rorippa amphibia Greater Yellow-cress p (Cloutman 82: B11 James Lane opp. Maternity Wing)
    258 Armoracia rusticana
    Horse Radish p (Cloutman 82: B14 Snaresbrook Road; B18 nr. Forest Rd; F8)
    259 Cardamine flexuosa
    Wood Bitter-cress p (Cloutman 82: C12397892)
    330 Rubus
    p (Snaresbrook, WG.The Flora of Essex 1862)
    330 Rubus p (Snaresbrook, F.The Flora of Essex 1862)
    334 Rubus idaeus
    Raspberry p (G. 1862: Snaresbrook, W.G.)
    335 Rubus laciniatus
    Cut-leaved Bramble p (Cloutman 82: A12 nr. main entrance of hospital)
    367 Prunus laurocerasus
    Cherry-laurel p (Cloutman 82: grounds of ruined house = E12)
    Galega officinalis Goat's-rue p (Cloutman 82: many plants near ruined house)
    Melilotus alltissimus Tall Melilot p (Cloutman 82: B17 Whipps Cross Road, 391892)
    427 Trifolium medium Zigzag Clover p (G.1862: Snaresbrook, WG)
    Genista anglica Petty Whin p (G.1862: Snaresbrook)
    447 Epilobium palustre Marsh Willow-herb p (G.1862: Snaresbrook, F)
    Frangula alnus Alder Buckthorn p (G.1862: Snaresbrook,not common, F (as Rhamnus Frangula))
    Oxalis acetosella
    Wood-sorrel p (G.1862: Snaresbrook, F)
    480 Geranium sanguineum Bloody Crane's-bill p (Cloutman 82: E12, one plant by ruined house Hollybush Hill 398850)
    Geranium pyrenaicum Hedgerow Crane's-bill p Cloutman 82: E11, small patch by ruined house 398885)
    Apium inundatum Fine-leaved Water Celery
    p (G.1862: Snaresbrook, F)
    Vinca minor Lesser Periwinkle p (Cloutman 82: E12 ruined house)
    527 Hyoscamus niger Henbane p (G.1862: Forest near Snaresbrook, F)
    535 Calystegia sepium Hedge Bindweed p (Cloutman 82: roadsides)
    538 Nymphoides peltata Fringed Water-lily p (Cloutman 82: A13 Whipps Cross Pond)
    551 Myosotis arvensis Common Forget-me-not p (Cloutman 82: C11 Whipps X Roadside 395685)
    Lamium maculatum Spotted Dead-nettle p (EF: 3988 "Whipps Cross")
    Glechoma hederacea Ground Ivy p (Cloutman 82: B11 under trees close to wall of hospital 392885)
    Buddleja davidii Buddleia p (Cloutman 82: Bushes at ruined house)
    Viburnum lantana
    Wayfaring Tree
    p (G.1862: Snaresbrook, WG)
    Lonicera periclymenum Honeysuckle p (Cloutman 82: A13, one patch 391886)
    Seratula tinctoria
    Saw-wort p (G.1862: Forest near Snaresbrook, very uncommon. F)
    Leontodon autumnalis Autumn Hawkbit p (Cloutman 82: grassland)
    Taraxacumsect. Erythrosperma Lesser Dandelion p (Cloutman 82: D14 Whipps Cross Roundabout and west end of Snaresbrook Road, 398889)
    Hieracium spp. Few-leaved Hawkweeds p (Cloutman 82: D13, Leyton Flats 396886)
    Hieracium umbellatumsubsp.umbelattum Leafy Hawkweed p (G.1862: "Snaresbrook", F) Not found 1981
    Gnaphalium uliginosum Marsh Cudweed p (Cloutman 82: A13, south side of West Pond)
    Conyza canadensis Canadian Fleabane p (Cloutman 82: roadsides)
    Senecio jacobaea Common Ragwort p (Cloutman 82: E10 grassland nr. railway)
    774 Potamogeton Horned Pondweed p (G.1862: Snaresbrook, WG)
    779 Spirodela polyrhiza Great Duckweed p (G.1862: Snaresbrook, G) (Cloutman 82: S. side of Hollow Pond, 393884
    780 Lemna trisulca
    Ivy Duckweed p (Cloutman 82: A13 West Pond 392898)
    785 Juncus subnodulosus
    Blunt-flowered Rush p (G.1862: Snaresbrook, F)
    815 Carex riparia
    Great Pond-sedge p (G.1862: Snaresbrook, WG) Not found in 1981
    820 Carex flava
    Yellow Sedge p (G.1862: Snaresbrook, WG
    861 Catapodium rigidum Hard Poa p (G.1862: Snaresbrook, WG)

    for Map - click here



  • Loss of Creeping Willow on Wanstead Flats

    Loss of Creeping Willow on Wanstead Flats

    I have tried to hang back a bit on being critical of work taking place on Epping Forest – or elsewhere, for that matter - for a lone voice in the “wilderness” doesn't have the clout a conservation group or a 'friends' group should have, and kickbacks and disappointments in the past have led to a feeling of “Don't bother” in more recent times..

    Creeping Willow flower wf 060503 8513artIn flower on 3rd May 2006However, sometimes those groups miss small things that experience might show can lead to larger problems. I can cite New Zealand pigmyweed and floating pennywort as examples of small problems growing larger, and I can harp back to the loss of a nice insect-rich area of grassland in Wanstead Park which wasn't protected during and after path-laying. And today I saw another example – one which I have been afraid of and seen gradually increasing.

    Creeping willow 160428 7700artThe Creeping Willow on 28th April 2016, after mowingWe have on Wanstead Flats five distinct patches of a low-growing shrub called creeping willow Salix repens. Country-wide, this isn't a rare plant, but apart from some on Leyton Flats, this is all we have locally. It is special enough to have been mentioned in some of the City of London's own publications relating to the Flats. It mightn't have the appeal of the Park's bluebells, but it may be the equivalent in “specialness”!

    Creeping Willow bramble wf 110401 50472artThe other patch nearby, almost brambled - and canned - outI know that those five patches have been carefully plotted by GPS by Epping Forest staff, so they know where they are. In the past I have mentioned locally that one patch of two near Alexandra Lake is getting brambled out. That patch is hanging on – but the bramble may well prove the winner. The other patch nearby is just coming into flower, but unfortunately is at the edge of the playing fields. And that is where my worry has been for a long time. Each time the mower goes round, a little bit more is eroded away. This time, however, a lot more has been taken away – about two feet off the whole length of the west edge of the patch, I would say. The playing fields expand, and the wildlife diminishes.

    So – two out of the five patches potentially lost. We should remember too, that it isn't just the loss of one plant that we might bemoan, but of the other life that might be associated with it. Collecting records of species found in our area is increasingly showing the associations that one organism has with another. And that might include people, as well.

    Just to finish, I mentioned the floating pennywort, which many realise now is threatening the health of Perch Pond. Well, this year I have seen and reported three very small rooted clumps of this highly invasive species in the Ornamental Water, far from Perch Pond. They could easily be removed now, especially as the water-level is so low. I hope they are, or these small things could lead to larger problems. (note: I was unable to find these on a much later-in-the-year visit. The water level was very low and they had been close to the bank, so it is possible someone else saw them and simply grubbed them out.)

    Paul Ferris, 28th April 2016

  • Mammals


    The mammal population of the area is probably relatively small, due to human disturbance, traffic and predation. I don't know of any live-trapping programmes that have been carried out prior to one in August 2014 (see here), so our knowledge of the smaller mammals is lacking. Some of the records of smaller mammals have been in chance finds of dead specimens. Larger mammals have only been recorded by chance observations.

    Red Foxes are very common, though as with most places it is now more usual to see them in the vicinity of houses than in "the wild", in fact in the City of London Cemetery they have been known to take food from the hands of visitors to the Gatehouse Pantry. Foxes are often observed crossing from the vicinity of the cemetery to Wanstead Flats, where the wild-fowl of Alexandra Lake doubtless acts as a food-source. They also cross onto the Flats from the houses in Capel Road - often using my side-entrance to get from Manor Park Cemetery - thus being commonly sighted patrolling along Capel Road or indeed along the Manor Park Cemetery wall or in adjacent gardens.

    There are plenty of Grey Squirrels, particularly in Wanstead Park, but they are found along the edge of Wanstead Flats as well as in the wooded areas there, and Bush Wood. There are reports of this species in Wanstead Park from as early as 1917 although this population did not last long. It wasn't until after 1933 that Grey Squirrels again began to spread into Epping Forest. The actual date of the subsequent arrivals in Wanstead Park isn't known, but the last positive report of a Red Squirrel in the Park was in 1947 when a Red Squirrel was seen fighting with a Grey. (Essex Field Club archives)

    Wanstead Park has had a population of Rabbits; however signs of these were scarce in 2008, and by 2010 there was no longer any indication of their presence.

    Brown Rats can be easily seen, particularly near Alexandra Lake on Wanstead Flats and by Heronry Pond and the Perch Pond in Wanstead Park, where food from the area around the kiosk probably adds an incentive. Culling procedures are sometimes undertaken to reduce the numbers.

    House Mice are of course found in houses in the area, and Wood Mice are present in gardens adjacent to Wanstead Park, and in 2014 were proved to be present in the Aldersbrook Exchange Lands. At that time it was also suggested that this area might be an appropriate habitat to find Harvest Mice, although there is no evidence of these.

    Hedgehogs have not been so common in recent years (up to 2009), but one was reported from Manor Park Cemetery and adjacent gardens in June 2009 and a young one of about 4 weeks was found in Wanstead Park in July 2009. Subsequently, there have been a few reports from the general area, and in 2014 a number were reported from various sites.

    Mole hills are a common sight in parts of Wanstead Park and the adjacent areas such as Aldersbrook Exchange Lands, particularly so on the banks of the River Roding. They have not been seen, however, on Wanstead Flats.

    Common Shrews can often be heard (by people with hearing capable of this - mine isn't, any longer!), but those that have been seen are more usually dead ones. It has been suggested that the site of the old Redbridge Sewage Works may also harbour Pygmy Shrews and the nearby River Roding Water Shrews. These suggestions were made by Darren Tansley, Water for Wildlife Officer for the Essex Wildlife Trust, at a mammal-trapping exrecise in August 2014. (see here)

    Water Voles were once a common sight on the Roding, but disappeared for years until one was seen in 1998. They became scarce by the early 1990s, although one was seen in 1998 and another in mid July, 2004, both sightings being from the banks of the Aldersbrook Exchange Lands.

    We have had few reports of Bank Voles -one was seen at the west edge of Chalet Wood perhaps in the early 80s. One was found freshly dead on the north side of the Roding near the Coronation Bridge on 15th April during a Wren Group bird-walk.

    Short-tailed Field Vole was found dead and mauled near Northumberland Avenue on 4th April 2012. Another was seen by Tim Harris swimming in Alexandra Lake and then using a run on the west side on 6th April 2013

    During the winter of 1998/99, three American Mink, Mustela vison were seen in Wanstead Park, by the Ornamental Water. One was seen by the River Roding in Wanstead Park on 14th April 2006 and again on 31 July 2007. In 2011 four were seen at one time by the Ornamental Waters, which may indicate breeding. A capturing programme was instigated late in 2011 and continued into 2012. At least four were known to have been trapped.

    Signs of Otters were reported on the Roding during 2009 from as far south as Ilford, and occasionally - and unconfirmed - in subsequent years.

    Stoats and Weasels are present, and occasionaly are reported from Wanstead Park.

    The Pipistrelle is the most common Bat, and both Common and Soprano species are present and common. There had been tantalizing suspicions of Nathusius' Pipistrelle and these were confirmed in September 2013. Just one Serotine has been detected: near Whiskers Island, Wanstead Park, by Tim Harris on 22/08/2013. There are Noctule and Daubenton's as well and a possible Leisler's was detected by Perch Pond on 17/07/2009. A positive detection was obtained by Perch Pond on 26/07/2009. The lakes of Wanstead Park - particularly Perch Pond - and Alexandra Lake on Wanstead Flats are good places to see bats. A summary of the Bats of the Wanstead area has been written by Tim Harris and is available here.

    There have been occasional and increasing sightings of Muntjac Deer in the area although not often being seen south of the Green Man roundabout until about 2019 when increasing reports of sightings wewre heard. In particular. perhaps, they had been seen in the City of London Cemetery (and indeed were likely the culprits that had chewed the bark of the newly-planted Wollemi Pine: see here). Vague reports also of sightings in Manor Park Cemetery, and one in Sebert Road, Forest Gate - a residential road.

    Populations of feral Cat have been known in the City of London Cemetery, and of course domestic cats haunt both the Flats and Wanstead Park in search of prey.

    Other mammals that have or had an impact on the ecology of the area are of course the Domestic Dogand Cat, and until the B.S.E crisis in 1996, Cattle. It may be noted that in recent years, Horses from Aldersbrook Riding School have been permitted to use a route around and through the Aldersbrook Exchange Lands, and a September 2014 proposal to create paddocks in part of the old Sewage Works Site, of which the Exhange Lands are a part, was implemented. Horses of course also are permitted to use routes which pass through all parts of our area on Epping Forest.


    Name Species Status
    Hedgehog Erinaceus europaeus Few if any reports from  even before 2006; in 2009 a few reports came in of hedgehogs: from a garden near Manor Park Cemetery and of one found in Wanstead Park (photo)
    Common Shrew Sorex araneus Often found in the old Sewage Works site
    Mole Talpa europaea Signs mostly seen in the Sewage Works site.
    Serotine Eptesicus serotinus One detected near Whiskers Island, Wanstead Park, by Tim Harris on 22/08/2013
    Daubenton's Bat Leuconoe daubentonii In Wanstead Park and by Alexandra Lake on the Flats; Hollow Pond 17/06/08
    Noctule Bat Nyctalus noctula In Wanstead Park and by Alexandra Lake on the Flats; Alex 17/06/08
    Nathusius' Pipistrelle Pipistrellus nathusii
    Recorded by Tim Harris at Heronry Pond, Wanstead Park on 22/09/2013
    Common Pipistrelle Pipistrellus pipistrellus In Wanstead Park and particularly by Alexandra Lake on the Flats
    Soprano Pipistrelle Pipistrellus pygmaeus By Alexandra Lake and in Wanstead Park
    Red Fox Vulpes vulpes Very common
    Stoat Mustela erminea Wanstead Park
    Weasel Mustela nivalis Wanstead Park
    American Mink Mustela vison Wanstead Park, seen in the Ornamental Water and River Roding area since 2005; a culling programme was begun at the end of 2011; four known to have been trapped.
    European Otter Lutra lutra Occasional reports from Wanstead Park and the Roding, the most recent in November 2009 (see here)
    Grey Squirrel Sciurus carolinensis Very Common
    Water Vole Arvicola terrestris Wanstead Park, in River Roding;  Sewage Works site. Roding. Not seen in recent years - last known sighting in 2000
    Bank Vole Clethrionomys glareolus One seen years ago at the west edge of Chalet Wood; one found freshly dead on Ilford side of Roding by Coronation Bridge on 15th April 2012
    Field Vole (Short-tailed Vole) Microtus agrestis One found dead near Northumberland Avenue on 04/04/2012; One seen by Tim Harris "swimming in Alexandra Lake and then using a run on the west side" on 06/04/2013
    Wood Mouse Apodemus sylvaticus In gardens in Northumberland Avenue, Aldersbrook
    House Mouse Mus musculus In houses adjacent to Forest areas
    Brown Rat Rattus norvegicus Wanstead Park, common by Heronry Pond. Wanstead Flats, by Alexandra Lake and by Jubilee Pond
    Rabbit Oryctalogus cuniculus A long-established colony in Wanstead Park is no longer present; the last known photograph was in 2002 and by 2008 signs (scats) were scarce. None known since 2010
    Muntjac Deer Muntiacus muntjak Reported from Wanstead Flats and the adjacent area of Leytonstone in 2006. Also seen in Snaresbrook Crown Court grounds, having entered from Leyton Flats. By 2019, Muntjac were known to be living in the City of London Cemetery, and in 2020 one was reported in Sebert Road, Forest Gate. Unconfirmed reports of sightings in Manor Park Cemetery were also obtained.


  • Protecting the Skylarks

    Protecting the Skylarks on Wanstead Flats

    Having completed the Wren Group's "Migrant Bird Watch" on Sunday (see here), and experienced the Skylarks and Meadow Pipits preparing for their nesting season, I was disappointed to see that the notices that were put up last year relating to ground nesting birds had not been replaced.

    Skylark PosterProtecting the Skylarks in 2009...

    These notices were put up on the Aldersbrook area of Wanstead Flats, at dog-walking access points to the rough grassland, and read:

    "This area of extensive grassland is an important habitat for ground-nesting birds which are easily disturbed. We would appreciate if you could keep your dog on a lead as you pass through this area to minimise the disturbance. Thank you for your co-operation."

    It is always difficult to ascertain how much effect these sort of notices have, but even if just one dog-owner stops and thinks and puts their dog onto a lead, that might have saved one Skylark's nest. Certainly you can see dogs happily rummaging about in the rough grass - evidently searching for something! So - I was pleasantly surprised whilst doing the first of a series of butterfly transects the following Saturday to see that the notices - albeit temporary ones - were back in place. I understand that more permanent ones are on order.

    We should soon be seeing notices at the access points to Chalet Wood in Wanstead Park which ask people to treat the Bluebells with care. Chalet Wood is yearly becoming more popular with people coming to see the show, and indeed the Wren Group's annual Bluebell Walk has now been supplanted by walks organised by others - including the City of London. This just emphasises how conservation work over the years has made something better - for the Group has been working on Chalet Wood for this reason for years

    What we must ensure is that when we have something that is good and valuable, we use appropriate means to inform and educate people of this so they can enjoy them too. Simple notices may help in this - so long as they are removed whilst not required or replenished when old and tatty.

    (for more on the Skylarks of Wanstead Flats, watch the video here)

    Paul Ferris, 29th March 2010

  • Protecting the Skylarks in 2014

    Protecting the Skylarks in 2014

    For the last couple of years the Wren Conservation Group have been working in conjunction with the City of London Corporation trying to protect the Skylark population of Wanstead Flats. Almost certainly it was members of the Wren Group that brought fully to the attention of the Conservators of Epping Forest that not only did we have a significant breeding population of Skylarks but that the numbers appeared to be decreasing.

    Protecting the Skylark on Wanstead Flats - poster

    Those trends had become clear because of surveys carried out by members of the Wren Group under the auspices of Tim Harris over several years. Each year there has been a decline in numbers of potential breeding birds. It remains unclear exactly why this decrease is happening, but an important factor may be the levels of disturbance that the birds must be subject to.

    One form of disturbance that might be addressed could be in bringing to the attention of dog-owners that their dog running through the rough grassland could disturb ground-nesting birds such as the Skylark and Meadow Pipits.

    Notices have been put up on posts around the edge of nesting-areas in past years asking that dogs could be kept from running loose in these areas during the breeding season - that is between the beginning of March and August.

    This year, Tim Harris and Forest Keeper Thibaud Madelin are doing three Saturday morning walks aimed at finding out about our local Skylarks and how we might protect them. These are on1st, 15th and 29th March, meeting at Centre Road Car Park at 10am and aiming to finish at 11.30am.

    The Wren Group in conjunction with the City of London have produced a leaflet, shown below and downloadable here (in pdf. format)

    Check also the Wren Group's website, here

    There is another article relating to the Skylarks here

    Paul Ferris, 21st February 2014

  • The Gap in the Hedge

    The Gap in the Hedge

    A chance meeting on Wanstead Flats with Wren Conservation Group Newsletter Editor, Tony Morrison gave rise to an interesting question: Why is there a gap in the hedge and line of trees that accompany the length of Capel Road, opposite house numbers in their 120's?.

    Much of the stretch of Capel Road which begins at the Golden Fleece pub and runs westwards until a slight bend takes you almost to Ridley Road is lined with English Oak, Quercus robur. There are of course numbers of other species present, including an occasional Ash and increasingly Holm Oak, but the English Oaks are the predominant plant species and were evidently deliberately planted aWanstead Flats Capel gap 170429 1220652s a road-side amenity tree in the early 20th Century - probably in 1907. Beyond the bend in Capel Road nearing Ridley Road, the hedge-line is not so thick, and the planted tree-species is predominantly Horse Chestnut. It is interesting to note that at that bend in the road, is the boundary between the old West Ham and East Ham Boroughs

    But in that East Ham stretch, where the hedge-line of oaks and hawthorn make views of Wanstead Flats scarce in the summer, a major gap is evident about half-way along.

    Looking more closely, there is no evidence that there were ever trees there. That is to say, there are no stumps or obvious changes in the ground surface to say they'd been removed. However, it occurred to me that there was once an estate of pre-fabs on the Flats where there are now playing field, stretching from the Borough boundary to almost the Golden Fleece. In fact, when I moved to Capel Road in the 1960s there was a chestnut-paling fence around that whole area, protecting freshly-seeded soil where the football pitches were to be. It hadn't been long since the prefabs had been removed, and postmen that I worked with were saying that only recently they'd delivered there - and what a nice place it was to go.

    That estate would have required at least one access road. Was that gap possibly where it had been? Looking at a scanned O.S. map of the area I could see that the gap was exactly where it had been.

    Now, it is not to say that there never was a continuation of the line of road-side oaks - they probably were there. But in constructing the access road they would have required to have been removed, roots and all, probably. Hence the gap in the hedge - and a bit of reminded history thrown up by a chance meeting.

    Wanstead Flats prefabs

    Paul Ferris, 29th April 2017


  • The Wanstead Flats Fire

     The Wanstead Flats Fire

    Those of us living anywhere in the vicinity of Wanstead Flats, and even much further afield, will probably be aware that there was a major grass-fire on the Flats beginning at about 4pm on Sunday 15th July, 2018. This was severe enough to be mentioned on various news programmes, radio and television, in the London area and elsewhere. It was stated that 225 personnel and 40 vehicles were in attendance to deal with it. This was the largest grass fire ever recorded in the London area and - with 40 vehicles in attendance - one of only three fires in London in 2018 to have as much resources used in dealing with it.

    wf fire 180715 183247871wwartViewed from near Alexandra Lake, looking west, the fire at 6.30 pm, blazing behind the Coronation Plantation.I had said just the day before to friends that I was surprised there hadn't been fires earlier. After all, it's an annual event. I have often thought at this time of year – and particularly at weekends – that there ought to be patrols out on the Flats (and in Wanstead Park) warning people against their barbecues, and keeping an eye out for problems in general. That could include litter warnings, too – because even on the news there was the usual explanation that discarded bottles could have caused it. They never mention that matches could have caused it. (cynic that I am). Of course, the City of London (i.e. the Conservators of Epping Forest) resources are just not available, but just look at the cost because they are not. All those fried grasshoppers and cooked snails! And the monetary cost of all that fire-fighting equipment and manpower, the police helicopter flying round and round (and all the pollution from that). There is a health cost, too. I slept (not much) with all my windows closed because of the smoke, and people with lung and breathing problems may well have suffered.

    wf fire pails 180716 50610wwartThe day after the fire, and a firefighter carries pails. Not all of the fire-fighting was done with high-pressure hoses!Realising that major damage would have been done to such vegetation as grasses, broom, gorse and the relatively small but increasing area of heather, I was afraid that some of the trees in the copses may have also have been damaged severely, but they seem to have survived okay. The worst tree-damage appeared to be along the west side of Centre Road, presumably where the fire "jumped" the road. I think Long Wood is pretty much okay, but there may be some superficial damage along the southern edge. The Coronation (1953) Plantation also survived. Again, there may be some damage along its northern edge, because the firefighters were still damping or trampling down smouldering patches immediately adjacent, that is to say between the plantation and Aldersbrook Farm Wood (the petrol station trees). That grass is as far east as the fire reached. The football pitches stopped it jumping to the grassland south of Alexandra Lake and beyond.

    It looks to me – as has been suggested – that the fire may have begun somewhere between Blake Hall Road and the Fairground site, I estimate somewhere opposite the Belgrave Road wayleave. That means much of the SSSI is just blackened remnants of vegetation, with lots of dead grasshoppers to be seen. Surprisingly, the hedgerow and grass parallel with the track alongside Blake Hall Road has survived. The Heather has not.
    wf fire black 180716 50587wwart Scorched earth where Gorse used to be.

    The major area east of Centre Road – has been affected just around perimeter of the model aircraft area, but much more so to the east of that, and nearly to Long Wood and across to the Coronation Plantation. As I said, all the copses seem okay. This is part of the Skylark’s main breeding area. Meadow Pipits, too. There were some Skylarks singing. Not all of their nesting territory has been damaged, so they still have a chance next year, though I did encounter one on a track that – even apart from its awareness of me – seemed distraught. And on the day of the fire I heard a Skylark and a Meadow Pipit near Alexandra Lake whilst the fire was blazing further west on Sunday. These may have been displaced individuals. The Skylarks here are a very important population in the London area, and have been decreasing in recent years. The hope is, of course, that there will be enough nesting sites for them next Spring.

    All in all, though, fire is a natural phenomena – however it began (probably through some form of human agency) - and although distressing and concerning regarding environment and wildlife, things will recover. It might even do it good – especially if opportunity was undertaken to clear some of the long-remaining litter now exposed. The effect, however, might be profound – especially if it destroys the Skylark and Meadow Pipits's continued habitation

    I had a message that Alexandra Lake had been used as a water-supply. It was already low, and I was later told that the fire-service was pumping water into the lake on Monday afternoon, to replenish it somewhat. With regard water, the fire has exposed the ditch that runs parallel to the west side of Centre Road. Blocked pipes/conduits are visible, which presumably should have been taking rain-water off the road. That ditch used to have water in, and was great for mosses etc. It has been abandoned, and hence adds to the drying out of the Flats. I have complained about this for years. Now could be an opportunity to re-dig it, re-establish the drains and get a bit of water back. Doubtless, that opportunity won't be taken.


    Paul Ferris, 16th July 2018  (For an update on the regrowth following the fire, Click Here)

    wf fire engine 180716 50585wwartLooking NW towards Long Wood. The plants in the foreground are Fireweed.

    wf fire fighters 180716 50589wwartThe day after the fire, firefighters were still damping and stamping down smouldering patches












    wf fire engine gorse 180716 50586wwartBurnt ground where there had been some nice Gorse patches. Long Wood stretches across the backgound

    wf fire roadside 180716 50612wwartThe blackened edge of Centre Road, looking North. The ditch can be seen

  • The Wanstead Flats Fire - Update

    Update on the Wanstead Flats fire - 16/10/2018

    Three months after the fire – which was the biggest-ever grass fire in the London area – I revisited that part of the Flats closer to where the fire began, and much of which is an SSSI (Site of Special Scientific Interest). I believe it was granted this designation because of some rather special insect species – including mining bees – that live there, and of course the reason that such specialised creatures live there is because of the habitat in general.

    This area has large areas of Gorse Ulex europaeus, and is also the prime site – just about the only site – on the Flats where Heather Calluna vulgaris is still present. For some years management of of top layers of soil has taken place in an attempt to encourage the Heather, and indeed this has shown an increase over these years. Fires are often deliberately started on heather moorland to promote new growth of this and grass species to provide fodder, so the Flats fire may be beneficial, though this will depend on how deeply the fire penetrated into the soil. Gorse also burns very readily, but is also good at regenerating. Previous fires on this part of the Flats – which occur to some extent almost annually, have not led in the long run to any diminution of the amount of Gorse present. Tufted Hair-grass, Deschampsia cespitosa, is a significant grass-species in this area, and there is a considerable amount of Silver Birch Betula pendula, mainly originating from suckers, which is proving to be very invasive.

    wf heather 181016 60040artBlackened remains of the main Heather patchAll of these species, and many others too, were considerably affected by the fire. I could find no Heather that had not been touched and was any more than blackened twigs. Similarly the Gorse, although there are still numerous patches in areas that the fire did not reach. That is true also of the Silver Birch, which although much of it was burnt to blackened and dead saplings, is still present in untouched areas. The Tufted Hair-grass – apart from that outside the fire-affected area – was completely burnt away, but just a week or so after the fire I had seen green shoots of this resilient species showing at the base of the charred mini-mounds that the grass forms.

    wf tuftedhairgrass 181016 60036artTufted Hair Grass on 16th OctoberOn my return visit three months later, the Tufted Hair-grass was growing well, Silver Birch had newly-formed leaves at the base of supposedly dead saplings, and there was lots of bright green patches of a Polytrichum moss, commonly called Haircap Moss, which is also prevalent around this area.

    Of the Heather there was still no sign of growth, but I did pay particular attention to those plants that were more evidently actually flowering. At some time after the fire, it seems that a machine had been used on the southern edge of the burnt area. I believe that this may not actually be a designated part of the SSSI, so perhaps it was thought that some – perhaps experimental – remedial work be may be done on the charred soil here, rather than on the SSSI? The machine was – I suppose – some form of rotovator, to break up the compacted topsoil. This – or a similar machine – was also used more extensively on the burnt areas to the east of Centre Road, i.e. not on the SSSI. wf thorn apple 181016 60031artThorn AppleMost striking on my visit, when I crossed Centre Road towards the Fairground site and walked north parallel to Centre Road to the ploughed area, was the delicate yellow flowers of Common Toadflax Linaria vulgaris, bright against the broken and darkened soil. There were some considerable groups of these. Other noticeable species, in flower, were Groundsel Senecio vulgaris, White Campion Silene latifolia, Fat Hen Chenopodium album, plenty of Creeping Thistle Cirsium arvense – but not many flowers – some Creeping Cinquefoil Potentilla reptans, Petty Spurge Euphorbia peplus and – not surprisingly and quite aptly – Rosebay Willowherb Chamerion angustifolium, known as Fireweed.

    The roadside verge adjacent to the west side Centre Road had made considerable recovery, looking quite green and with numerous plants in flower. These included - apart from those species already mentioned - Common Chickweed Stellaria media, Red Campion Silene dioica, a single plant of Flax Linum sp. (possibly L. usitatissimum) and a nice specimum of Thorn Apple Datura stramonium - the first record of which from Wanstead Flats.

    For a report on the fire itself, with photographs taken at the time, Click Here

    Paul Ferris, 16th October 2018

  • Update on Liverworts and Mosses

    Update on Liverworts and Mosses

    Bryum capillareBryum capillare

    Because of my limited knowledge of the bryophytes - the group that includes liverworts and mosses - I have been aware that this group is sadly under-represented on this website. In an effort to do just a little about this, I have re-looked at some of my own records, got some information from Roger Snook - a local naturalist - and have done a search for some older records from the study area.

    Looking at my old records to a great extent involved looking at some microscope-slides that I prepared back in 1979 and 1980 when I collected and preserved some samples. With Roger's help I was able to either confirm those early identifications or - in some cases - to exclude them. As well, I gathered some new samples and attempted identification of those, and in the main was pleased that they agreed with samples from all those years ago gathered from similar locations.

    In this way I was able to add a few more species to the list on the website, and add a few more still with Roger's records and knowledge of local species. The list is available here.

    Lastly, I trawled through the "Flora of Essex" by Stanley T. Jermyn for any local records included there, so that these records are now also available on this website. Those records included a number of species of Sphagnum, which is well known to exist in boggy habitats. Although when walking across areas like Leyton or Wanstead Flats after heavy rainfall we may think of these areas as boggy, most of the Flats dry out very rapidly, so no true bog remains. The locations where the sphagnums were found appears to be closer to that area of Leyton Flats nearer to the Green Man and to Snaresbrook. Roger particularly bemoans the loss of those "boggy" areas which we knew on Wanstead Flats - particularly the area below the spring which used to exist south-east of the mini-roundabouts at the junction of Aldersbrook and Centre Roads, and the just-about-still-wet area to the north of the fairground site.

    The spring was always a bit of a mystery (as springs tend to be - unless you go into the geology and spoil it!). It was on the slope of the bank that runs down from the rising land at the north of the Flats to the area known as the Dell on Epping Forest maps, but may be more appropriately called the Brick-fields for historical reasons. It is now playing fields. The water bubbled and sometimes flowed from the mud near the upper slope, and gave rise to a wet area at the base. It was much favoured by feeding and drinking birds, and flowed permanently even if sometimes sparsely until pipe-works were carried out along Centre Road. Whether this simply resulted in the repair of a leaking main or cut a natural water supply from the vicinity of Bush Wood, I do not know. The spring is no longer and little remains of the interesting plant habitat that existed in the wet area.

    The boggy area on the fairground section of the Flats (ie west of Centre Road) still exists, although is no longer anything like as permanently wet as it used to be. It would require a geologist, I suppose, to explain exactly why that area is particularly wet, but suffice to say its drying out may well be influenced by the now-considerable growth of birches and other trees that have invaded. Perhaps some thoughts may be given to actually channelling water into these area? After all, the roads nearby (in this case probably most likely Lake House Road) must have considerable water running into surface-water drains during rainfall.

    Looking more at the species that we do know of in these areas, there are known to be two species of Lophocolea liverworts present - L. bidentata and L heterophylla, but they can be difficult to tell apart. The liverwort Marchantia polymorpha is also associated with damper areas, and used to be more frequent on the sides of the ditches that exist around the perimeter of the Flats. It is probably more common now in gardens. Regarding mosses, Polytrichum commune is perhaps most associated with these wetter area as it favours damp moorlands and this is the closest that we have got! Because of its size it is an easily-observable plant and quite widespread in suitable habitats. In the usually drier parts of the Flats the moss Brachythecium albicans is frequently found in the grassy areas, with Brachythecium rutabulum probably also present as it is a very common moss of grassy places. For some reason, though, I do not have a definite record of it here as I do for the City of London Cemetery. Outside of the grassy areas, where the soil is more open due to compaction or fires, Funaria hygrometrica is very common, forming sometimes quite large mats and when in fruit, distinctive down-turned capsules. Ceratodon purpureus is another very common moss on barer parts of the Flats and elsewhere, forming rather dull-looking carpets unless in fruit when it is conspicuosly purple. It also favours burnt-ground, which is a situation that occurs quite frequently during the summer months. Also absent from my Flats records, although it must be present as it is such a common moss, is Hypnum cupressiforme, which again is present in the cemetery. Another species of Polytrichum - P.  juniperinum-  is easily observed in numerous areas, particularly perhaps just south of Alexandra Lake where the crows delight in pulling tufts out to search for goodies beneath.

    On garden walls in the streets nearby may be found another liverwort, Lunularia cruciata, as well as the mosses Bryum capillare and Tortula muralis, both upright (acrocarpus) mosses and Bryum argenteum  which has a spreading (plerocarpus) habit. Barbula convulata as well as others should also be present in these habitats, with Grimmia pulvinata particulary on rooftops.

    In the wooded areas, Hypnum cupressiforme  is common, and there are probably varieties of these present which need to be determined. Mnium hornum is an acrocapus moss which is common in numbers of places throughout the area, whilst Fissidens taxifolius  is probably common but is perhaps not so noticeable.

    It will be evident to anybody with a knowledge of mosses and liverworts that this account and the species listed is sparse. There may well be aspects that need to be clarified or even changed. But at least I hope this will serve as an introduction to this group of plants that - by nature of their relative size perhaps - are not so frequently taken into account when looking at plants in general.

    Paul Ferris, 23rd December 2011

  • Wanstead Flats - Alexandra Lake

    Alexandra Lake, Wanstead Flats

    The lake is known locally as the Sandhills Pond on account of the sandy nature of its banks and the two low hills on the southern and western banks. It is the largest of the open waters on Wanstead Flats. Its proper name of Alexandra Lake is after Queen Alexandra (1844-1925) the queen-consort of King Edward VII, in whose reign the lake was dug. (see photos)

    Alexandra LakeAlexandra Lake - June 2000

    In "The Lake System of Wanstead Park & The Mystery of The Heronry Pond" by James Berry & Alan Cornish, dated March 1978, it is suggested that Alexandra Lake was dug sometime around 1906/7. This was in an effort to control flooding which took place from time to time in the vicinity of Wanstead Park Avenue and Aldersbrook Road. Other work was going on at the time to enhance the flow of water into the Heronry Pond in Wanstead Park, and a solution was to have the necessary work carried out by unemployed men under the control of the West Ham Distress Committee.

    Origins of the Lake

    In order to cure the problem of the Aldersbrook Road having cut off the natural drainage of Wanstead Flats at this point down a narrow valley running north-east to to the River Roding (i.e. now within the City of London Cemetery), Alexandra Lake was dug. There is an overflow system in its north-east corner, near Aldersbrook Road. It is suggested by James Berry & Alan Cornish that this might lead into Perch Pond in Wanstead Park by means of a drain via Wanstead Park Avenue, but I believe that the drain follows something of the original natural drainage route through the City of London Cemetery, but now underground, and hence may be considered to be the source of the Alders Brook.

    Subsequent Improvements

    A year or so after the lake was dug, it was apparent that not enough water was available to fill the excavation adequately. The lake was dug deeper so that sub-surface water could be accessed and a system of drains (photos) were installed to channel surface water from the Aldersbrook Road into the lake. This certainly had some effect, because before long the lake was a source of pleasure to many local people.

    Water Loss and the Repair in 1992

    During the late 1980's the lake had shown problems with a tendency to almost dry up during the summers. Late in 1992 the lake was dredged of accumulated silt in an attempt to access standing water (i.e. beneath the surface of Wanstead Flats). This necessitated removing the fish stock - or at least those that hadn't perished in the abominable conditions during the summer of 1992 when many died. The lake is also used by many wild birds - swans, ducks, geese, coot and moorhen as well as others. The truly wild birds were able to make use of other waters, but many escaped birds - domestic ducks and geese - became sick and died.

    Disposal of Dredgings

    The silt from the dredgings were disposed of in a most inappropriate manner. A relatively small amount was tipped at the western end of the lake as a sort of beach. It was supposed to be an amenity but is in fact an eyesore. Even worse, much was tipped on the lower of the lake's two islands - the island referred to locally as Flat Island! It is no longer that; whereas it once provided a habitat for nesting wildfowl, now much of it is a tangled bramble waste. Worse still, an enormous amount of silt was tipped onto Wanstead Flats adjacent to an open hawthorn woodland to the east of the lake. This has totally changed the character of the Flats in this area, inhibiting the views across. No attempt was made even to landscape the tip - it was just allowed to dry out as a corrugated, virtually inaccessible, eyesore.


    The work was otherwise successful. The lake retained a better volume of water at most times, and the wildfowl gradually returned. I had been pointing out for years that there had once been surface water drainage from Aldersbrook Road to help top-up the waters. Remains of the drains in the form of ceramic pipes could still be seen between the road and the lake and very obviously there was a gutter drain in Aldersbrook Road - but my claims were usually denied. Eventually it seems, somebody read the history, and eventually the gutter drain was cleaned out and new pipes were installed leading into the north-east corner of the lake. The original ceramic pipes could still be identified in 2002, in the form of broken pieces mixed with the gravel of the lake edge, but also still in their original situation. Interestingly, this was now within the root system of one of the London plane trees that line the road here. Presumably the drains were laid and the trees were planted at about the same time, but a little too closely. The increasing girth of the tree eventually encased the drain. (see photographs - click here)

    Flooding in 2001

    Alexandra LakeA 101 bus encounters Alexandra Lake on 25 March, 2001

    With the lake now much better able to withstand dryer weather, another problem presented itself. In March 2001, heavy rainfall caused flooding in many parts of the country. Locally, the Aldersbrook Road by Wanstead Park Avenue was flooded by the waters of Alexandra Lake overflowing to more than halfway across the road at its worse. The problem arose because the overflow drains from the lake, which are situated quite close to the newly installed drains into the lake (although of course at a lower level) had become blocked. Once these were cleared and renovated - by which time the rains had subsided anyway - the waters went down.

    Early in 2003, a ditch was dug across the rough grassland south of the lake as far as the playing fields, and then west some few hundred meters across the playing fields. This was apparently to try to improve drainage from the flats, which - as has been stated - are very prone to shallow flooding. The ditch is intended to deposit the water into Alexandra Lake and so help to maintain its level. The ditch was contoured so as to provide some interest, and crossing places were provided because it is a substantial barrier to what had been an open passage across the Flats. As well, the course of the ditch across the rough grassland followed the route of an old but useful track (probably associated originally with the prefabs that had been here). In the process, the track became unusable and the plants that grew alongside it (on slightly raised banks) were destroyed. These included the only patch of Heather (Calluna vulgaris) known on this part of the Flats.

    Also in 2003, the gently sloping gravel "beach" (which can be seen in the photograph below) was modified so that a steeper bank was created at the waters edge. Presumably this was to prevent the accumulation of mud in that bay of the lake. The effect was to block the the inflow from the drain on Aldersbrook road, so that after a heavy rainfall in late September 2005, Aldersbrook Road was once again flooded so that water actually went into the shops. This was when the lake was so dry it was possible to walk dryfoot across to one of the islands! The ditch mentioned above has hardly ever seen water in it, and by 2009 the view of the lake from Aldersbrook Road had been almost obliterated by the vegetation that was now growing where the beach had been.

    Excess Bird Feeding

    Litter deposited on Wanstead FlatsSlices and loaves of bread left by Alexandra Lake - May 2001

    The death of birds using the lake during 1992 was partially due to the increased levels of toxins in the lake caused by a persistent problem - that of overfeeding. A car park close to the lake's west end encourages people to visit, and of course many bring "food for the ducks". This pleasant pastime is one of the reasons for the vast flock of Canada geese which nowadays - in greater or lesser numbers - are a permanent feature. Many people, however, do not seem to realize that they are not the only ones providing food during the course of the day, nor have any awareness of the amount which is sensible to provide. It is extremely common to see people alight from their cars, walk to the waters edge (or even not that far) and tip carrier bag loads of food on the banks or into the water. It is not always bread - colourful concoctions of Asian foods are common, with lots of rice. The vast numbers of birds present at times - particularly geese, feral pigeons and in the winter, gulls - sometimes can't cope, and the food is left to rot. It is not uncommon to see uneaten bread in the water developing a blue bloom. The rat population at the north edge of the lake - in the woods and opposite the shops of Aldersbrook Road - flourish and try to help devour the stuff - but occasionally the water gets into a very bad state. Suggestions over the years to the Corporation of London that some form of advice to visitors about excessive bird-feeding should be provided went unheeded until some publicity began to be put out in about October 2002. Now (in 2004) there is a nice notice board with information about the lake and its wildlife, and also some signage attempting to inform people about the problems of overfeeding.

    Litter Problems

    Offerings left by the lakeCandles, coconuts, clothing, brooms, fruit, a basket and boxes left as part of religious ritual - February 2005

    In addition to the excess bird food, ordinary litter also presents a problem. In fact, it is quite common for the plastic bags and bin-liners used to carry the food to lake are also left there! The photograph above shows one of a number of litter bins provided by the Corporation of London (they were originally used in the City of London until bomb-scares forced their removal), and at least some visitors used them. The problem was that they were open-topped. If it was windy - and the wind can blow quite strongly across the openness of the Flats - those bins particularly by the car park at the west end of the lake by Aldersbrook Road were soon losing the litter deposited in them and much of the lighter material ended up in the lake. In mid-June 2002, the litter bins in the vicinity of the lake were removed.

    Another peculiar problem arises from what is presumably a religious ritual that is frequently carried out by Alexandra Lake. This involves the depositing of candles, coconuts and fruit adjacent to and in the lake. At times - as can be seen in the photograph - carrier bags and even the boxes that the candles were brought in are left by the lake, as well as clothing material.


    The football games that take place particularly at weekend, but also during weekdays when numerous practise sessions take place either officially or unofficially, are often an unfortunate source of even more litter. Both the players in their break and after the session and spectators too tend to leave a selection of material including many plastic bottles after they leave. Epping Forest staff and indeed some local residents are good at dealing with this after the event but the costs involved in doing so, and the cost to the environment and to the visual enjoyment of the Flats, means that a way of dealing more effectively with the problem of litter should perhaps be dealt with more at the source.

  • Wanstead Flats - an overview

    Wanstead Flats - an overview

    The area known locally as 'The Flats' is the southern-most portion of Epping Forest and a welcome intrusion into the suburbs of east London. Heavily built-up areas, primarily of housing, lie immediately to the south and west, though to the north-west it is connected by way of Bush Wood to Leyton Flats and so to more northerly reaches of the Forest. To the east, the City of London Cemetery, the Alders Brook, the River Roading and then Ilford Golf Course, serve to separate the Flats from Ilford.

    Roads and houses almost completely surround Wanstead Flats. To the east a low wall and high railing separate it from the City of London Cemetery, and in the north-west it adjoins Bush Wood. Three roads actually cross the Flats, effectively dividing it into four sections. The greater part of the whole area of some 135 hectares is flat, open grassland on the river gravel of the Taplow Terrace, which overlays the London Clay. Though historically part of a royal forest, the nature of the area encouraged people to turn out cattle and other animals to graze upon this unenclosed land. This practice was eventually recognised and granted as the 'right of common pasture'. Certain landowners and occupiers still have this right, granted them as part of The Epping Forest Act of 1878, and cattle grazed freely until 1996 when the BSE crisis forced their removal. It is probable that continued grazing on this and similar areas of the Forest helped to maintain the open aspect which they have today. (See "Cattle on Wanstead Flats")

    Wanstead FlatsWanstead FlatsMuch of the land is liable to a degree of flooding after heavy rain, but also to considerable and quite rapid drying-out in periods of low rainfall. Drainage from the grassland should help to maintain usually three permanent open waters, although in recent years these ponds have been prone to severe lack of water at times. The largest of the waters, with two islands to its credit, is Alexandra Lake. Its local name the Sandhills Pond may be attributed to the sandy nature of the low gravel mounds by its banks. The next in size is Jubilee Pond, which until 2002 was known as the Model Yacht Pond or Dames Road Pond. Until renovation in 2002 this had stone banks, and, as its name implied, was in the past used for model boating. Lack of repair and a water supply meant that for many years the pond was often dry. The smallest water is the round pond by Capel Road, Angell's Pond. This was named after Mr Lewis Angell, the first borough engineer of West Ham, who was responsible for the construction of the pond during the winter of 1893-94. The spelling soon became corrupted, as early postcards show. This circular muddy hollow, which can dry out almost completely in hot weather, has also been known as the Bandstand Pond from the bandstand that used to lie just to the east. The only other semi-permanent pond is that by Lake House Road, known as the Cat and Dog Pond presumably because it only exists when it has been raining 'cats and dogs'. There are some drainage ditches, but few hold water for much time. In the late 1990's a new drainage ditch was created running in a somewhat serpentine fashion from the playing fields opposite Tylney Road in Forest Gate to the south-west corner of Alexandra Lake. This was to help drain the playing fields of the surface-water that can occur after heavy rain. Although some important rough grassland habitat was disturbed in its creation (even some heather was destroyed), there is rarely if ever any water in it. Similarly, a drain was installed to take water from Aldersbrook Road near Wanstead Park Avenue - much prone to flooding after heavy rain - into Alexandra Lake. Even so, owing to lack of maintenance, the road has subsequently been seen to flood across to the shops opposite - even though the lake may at times suffer from a shortage of water (see here). The only running water used to be a year-round spring that was the source of one of the 'marshy' areas dominated by rushes that exist in some of the more poorly drained parts of the Flats. The spring, however, is no more. It is assumed that road works and or pipe-laying by Centre Road has disrupted the supply. During a period of lake creation at the turn of the 19th/20th Century (when, for example, Alexandra Lake was created as part of a job creation scheme for the unemployed) it is said that the hollow at the junction of Aldersbrook Road and Centre Road was dug. It was supposed to have been a lake, but was not completed.

    Scattered over the area are some thickets of gorse and broom, as well as a number of small woods and copses. Most of these were planted towards the end of the 19th century as a response to efforts by the Epping Forest Committee to break up what was perceived as a monotonous area of grassland. Together with the many trees lining the roadsides and some avenues, they do add greatly to the diversity of tree species to be found. Older than these is an avenue of trees in the NW portion of the Flats, running from close to Ferndale Road in Leytonstone to Bush Wood. This is known as Evelyn's Avenue, planted by John Evelyn (Author of "Sylva, or a discourse of Forest-trees") on the instructions of Sir Josiah Child after he had purchased the estate. It formed one of a number of such avenues radiating from Wanstead House. Originally consisting of sweet-chestnuts and forming one of the main approaches to Wanstead House, it is remarkable that so much of this is still visible after 300 years.

    Nearly all the perimeter of Wanstead Flats has a ditch, often with a bank, to prohibit vehicular access. The only vehicles normally allowed are service vehicles and bicycles. Horses may be taken onto the Flats and are supposed to keep to bridle paths marked by posts. There is considerable pedestrian traffic because of the large number of people living nearby and the availability of the area for activities such as the flying of model aircraft and kites, bird watching, botanizing and the exercising of people and dogs; this must have some effect on the ecology of the area. Fishing in Alexandra Lake is no longer undertaken and model boating in the old Model Yacht Pond ceased when the pond no longer retained water.

    From the times when Wanstead Flats was used to assemble cattle from the long cattle droves, through to the end of local cattle grazing in 1996, through those years when the Flats was regarded as an inhospitable and wild place to the early 20th century when it was a popular recreation area, through the wartime when gun emplacements and prisoners of war were held here to post war pre-fab housing and increasing sports facilities - the Flats have had many uses. They have also had many abuses - some already mentioned - and threats. The use of the Flats for housing is an issue that re-occurs from time to time - most recently when housing was permitted for a time post-war. Pipe lines have had to be laid - a gas pipe from the vicinity of Angell's Pond to near Park Road, Aldersbrook, and in 2008 a water-desalination pipe-line from Beckton to Woodford, which crosses Wanstead Flats almost from end to end, east to west. In the summer of 2008 a cycle-route was proposed, traversing parts of the Flats including from near Angell's Pond to Capel Road Changing Rooms and then diagonally across to Aldersbrook Road. Like the proposal a few years ago to provide evening sports facilities by Aldersbrook Road, the suggestion even included lighting. From the mid 1800's people have vehemently opposed numerous proposals to radically change the Flats. It is important that these issues are monitored and oppositions to unwelcome changes are made - not just for the people that appreciate Wanstead Flats, but for the vast amount of wildlife that lives there - including a once-healthy population of a rare London bird - the skylark. Unfortunatley, in more recent years (ie prior to 2020), this population has severely depleted.


    The preceeding was taken from an article published in 1981 (FERRIS, P.R. 1981. The Flora of Southern Epping Forest. Part 2: Wanstead Flats and Bush Wood. Lond. Nat . 60: 6-19). It has been updated and changed to some extent for reproduction here to provide an overview of the Flats. A map and descriptions of the plants and birds to be found are available. (see menu left and below)

    For a review of the plants that have been found on Wanstead Flats, click here

    For a review of the birds that may be seen on Wanstead Flats, click here

    For more information on the history of Wanstead Flats, click here

    For a map of Wanstead Flats, click here




  • Wanstead Flats - Cattle

    Cattle on Wanstead Flats

    Cattle by Wanstead Flats

    Cattle in Capel Road and on Wanstead Flats c 1960s. The fencing was temporarily erected after the prefabs were removed and the area re-instated as playing fields.

    Commoners have had the right to graze cattle on Epping Forest for perhaps a thousand years. Regulations dating back to 1790 allowed "the release onto the Forest of two cows or one horse for every £4 per annum rent paid on the Home Farm". Commoners had to live in Forest Parishes and own over half an acre of free land within a Forest parish. The lords and tenants of Wanstead manor had a special right of sheep pasture on Wanstead Flats, unusual for the forest.

    Cattle from farther afield also made use of Wanstead Flats. Up to the end of the 18th century and just into the 19th, a great cattle market was held annually during March and April. Cattle were brough from Scotland, Wales and the north of England. Business relating to this event was transacted at the Rabbits public house on Romford Road in Manor Park.

    West of Manor Park, Forest Gate derives its name from a gate erected in the 17th century to stop cattle straying onto Romford Road from Wanstead Flats; the gate is first mentioned - as "The Woodgrange Gate" - in 1693. In 1851 the Lord of Woodgrange Manor erected a new five-bar gate across Woodgrange Road. and existed until about 1883. The gate was situated near by the Eagle & Child public house, which was shown on a map of 1741, but which has now closed.

    In more recent years, from time to time measures have been proposed to restrict the grazing of cattle. In the early 1960s the City of London (Various Powers) Bill contained the proposal to tether the cattle. This was introduced on the grounds that they constituted a danger to road safety and damaged public and private property. Eventually it was ruled that the proposal be deleted, but only after petitions by Wanstead and Woodford Council, the Council for the Preservation of Rural England, and the Commons, Open Spaces and Footpaths Preservation Society.

    A look at how many cattle grazed on the flats is interesting. In 1912 there were as many as 972. In 1970 the highest number was 543

    In 1977 after a motorcyclist was killed when he hit a steer in thick fog, the Corporation of London bought out the Commoner's rights to winter grazing, and since 1978 the cattle were allowed to graze only between April 16 and November 14. An interesting aspect of this is that the highways that cross the forest were established only by passage over common land; that is to say that the highways are as much common land as the land either side, and that the grazing animals have the right to pass over them!

    In the early 1980's, farmers in the Waltham Cross area released sometimes 200 cattle onto the Forest . They were referred to locally as "cows", although most were bullocks, and were a familiar sight wandering through Loughton and Woodford towards Wanstead Flats - the cattle's favourite feeding area. When the vegetation was good, the cattle tended to stick to their favoured grasses on Wanstead Flats, but in dry summers and in the latter parts of the summer when they had gained confidence, they were often tempted towards peoples gardens and wandered into adjacent roads. People who had lived in the area for many years were used to this; although inconvenienced and even annoyed, they were usually prepared to put up with it for the unique experience and pleasure of the cattle being there at all! For many newcomers to the area, however, this was an unexpected and unwanted aspect of the area, and from time to time complaints were made to the Corporation of London, to the cattles' owners, and to the newspapers. Controversy would continue for some time, then abate. At the beginning of 1986, a letter from the Manor Park Cemetery Company was distributed to local householders suggesting they write to the local newspaper - The Newham Recorder - if they had been troubled by cattle. The object was to "get the area (Wanstead Flats) re-designated from Common Land and thus prevent distant farmers taking advantage of a very ancient law which causes inconvenience and harassment to our neighbourhood". The response published in the newspaper was three letters in favour of keeping the cattle and one against. About 150 cattle were released onto the Forest that year.

    In 1991 only four commoners - from the Waltham Holy Cross area - were releasing cattle, and that year they were fitted with small coloured buttons in their ears to identify the owners. This replaced the former system of branding by means of a hot iron. This meant that people troubled by the cattle could report them to their owners, but the responsibility for keeping them out of your garden was your own! Historically, in Wanstead Manor and neighbouring Aldersbrook, the parish cattle mark was a "Q" surmounted by a cross.

    The onset of BSE or "Mad Cow Disease" in the mid 1990s led to the cattle being kept off the Forest; this disease being followed by Foot and Mouth meant that no more cattle were released after 1996. Though by 2002 the possibility of seeing free-ranging cattle on the Forest seemed highly unlikely, some indications still remained of their past presence: road warning signs as for example approaching Aldersbrook Road from Manor Park, cattle grids at the Green Man Roundabout, a corral between the playing field buildings and Heatherwood Close. Perhaps coincidentally, this small area of housing and the adjacent petrol station stands on the site of Aldersbrook Farm, which was all that remained of the extensive Aldersbrook Farm - the sale of which provided the land for the City of London Cemetery!

    It has been realised that not only do cattle grazing freely on the Forest provide something of a spectacle - particularly perhaps in the southern reaches where many children may have never seen cattle - they are also part of a historical link dating back thousands of years. Perhaps an even greater realisation has come about when the value of their grazing habits is taken into account. It can be seen that already the vegetation in areas such as Wanstead Flats is ranker than it used to be; there has been a phenomenal growth in tree-scrub in some area whilst other lower-growing species have declined. Perhaps less obvious to more casual observations is the reported loss of some insect species and a decline in others, even including butterflies.

    In the early spring of 2002, the Conservators of Epping Forest announced that they proposed to re-introduce cattle in an area of the Forest between Chingford in the south and High Beach in the north. Mr Andrew Davies has a small herd of English Longhorns, a breed which have been used as part of a grazing project at Long Running in Epping Forest, and these would be available for grazing during the summer. A stockperson would herd the cattle during the day, and two cattle pounds would be erected, at Fairmead Bottom and on Chingford Plain, where they could be kept overnight. Two other potential graziers have been identified. These are Mr Graham Matthews and the Lea Valley Regional Park

    A fence was erected around the boundary of this area, and was completed by June 2002. A number of cattle were by this time allowed to graze part of the area. The cattle seemed to settle in well, and early in 2003 it was proposed to supplement this herd with another 50 animals.

    Even if these efforts are successful, it will probably be years before cattle might return to Wanstead Flats. The longer it is, the less likely it will be that that it will happen!




  • Wanstead Flats - Jubilee Pond

     Jubilee Pond - its history, decay and renovation

    Previously known as the Model Yacht Pond or Dames Road Pond; until 2002 stone edged and steep sided, thus having no shallows. It was used for much of the time up to the 1960's for model boating - hence its popular name - but subsequently the pond fell into a state of disrepair, did not retain water and become more of an eyesore than an amenity.

    wf myp opening 1908artOpening of new Model Yacht Lake, Wanstead Flats, May 30th 1908An Ordnance Survey Map (resurveyed 1893) shows a small pond (photo) with its more northerly end opposite Ramsey Road. Works were undertaken in 1905-6 to improve drainage on Wanstead Flats which included laying surface drains from Leytonstone to this pond. Unemployed labour mainly from West Ham was used to enlarge the pond to its present size, extending it both to the north and south. Surface water using drains in Cann Hall Road and Sidney Road fed into the enlarged pond, which opened in 1908 (photos). Water was also supplied to the pond by means of a ditch from the Cat and Dog Pond just to the north on the Lake House Section of Wanstead Flats and then by pipes beneath Lake House Road. An overflow pipe at the SE corner is shown on later maps with a flow in the direction of Angel Pond (Angell's Pond), across Woodford Road, on the corner of Capel Road. Drainage ditches appear to have become blocked or broken, and the Model Yacht Pond Pond was dredged in the 1980's which may have damaged the pond's lining. These problems led to the very poor condition of the pond until late in 2002 when major renovation work had been completed. This followed a meeting that took place at Cann Hall School when local people were asked what they would like to happen to the pond. It seems that most favoured some form of wildlife lake, with provisions for educating youngsters. Other options included re-establishing it as a model-boating lake or filling it in.

    The Lakehouse Lake Project

    In August 2000, concerned residents of the area set up the Lakehouse Lake Project, the aim of which was to ensure that the Model Yacht Pond on Wanstead Flats was restored as an amenity. The Conservators of Epping Forest, local boroughs and other interested parties were asked what their plans were for the pond. The Conservators, as managers of the pond on behalf of the Corporation of London, replied that the future of the pond would be decided at a meeting of the Epping Forest and Open Spaces Committee on November 13th 2000.

    A petition presented to that committee had over 750 signatures, and was read out at the start of the agenda item. After just 20 minutes the committee voted unanimously to restore the pond as a conservation/education resource, perhaps with islands and viewing stages. The Finance Committee of the Corporation of London met on 28th November 2000 and agreed to finance the restoration. The cost was estimated to be in the region of £442,000. Finally, the Court of Common Council was required to confirm the project, and this was passed on 4th January 2001.

    A public meeting was held on 25th January 2001 at the Lord Rookwood public house in Cann Hall Road, E11, with Jeremy Wisenfeld, the Superintendent of Epping Forest at the time, and Sally Hayns, the newly appointed Public Affairs Manager present. Mr Wisenfeld spoke for some time about the Conservators proposals for the future of the pond. Work on the pond was intended to start in March 2002 with completion in the Autumn. Before final decisions were made, however, there would be public consultation on plans and consultation would be ongoing.

    Model Yacht PondThe former Model Yacht Pond in February 2001- uncharacteristically with water after heavy rain

    At the January meeting, other issues that were raised included what sort of lining the pond should have to retain water. It was thought that puddled clay was preferable to a butyl liner or concrete. Water supply is another important issue - being part of the reason that the lake is often empty. A borehole or mains water supply were the two major options mentioned. Further discussion included car parking, litter, fly tipping, the fairground (which is nearby), toilet facilities and a new name for the lake. It was suggested that there might be some elevated landscaping using the waste broken concrete from the existing pond to shield it from the fair and as an attractive feature, although some felt that it was important to retain the open and low aspect of the pond and Wanstead Flats. A suggestion was made that it should be retained as a model yacht pond, but Mr Wisenfeld said that the Corporation of London did not want a sterile pond such as would be necessary for sailing boats. The problem of pollution caused by the overfeeding of geese and ducks was under consideration, and the provision of advisory and warning notice-boards was mentioned.

    A further public meeting was held on 13th September 2001 at the Lord Rookwood, with Sally Hayns representing the Conservators of Epping Forest. She confirmed that it was proposed to start work on the pond, with completion expected in the autumn of 2002. However, a further public consultation to finalise the details (including a name for the pond - see below) would take place on 6th October. In general, the pond would be for wildlife and education, would have a puddled clay lining, and would be fed by preferably a borehole or if that were not possible, from the mains water supply.

    A name for the pond

    The pond has for long been known as either Dames Road Pond or the Model Yacht Pond. Suggestions that it could be called Lakehouse Lake were rejected. Nearby Lake House Road gets its name from a lake that once existed where now stands the Lake House estate. The "Lake House" (called the Russian Farm) was a building on an island of this lake where at one time the poet Thomas Hood lived. To transfer the name to Dames Road Pond would, then, have been historically incorrect and confusing.

    In February 2002, Jeremy Wisenfeld announced that it had been decided to call the pond "Jubilee Pond", to mark the Golden Jubilee of Queen Elizabeth II, and in the late spring extensive work was begun to transform the pond into its new form. This work was completed by the spring of 2003, save for the tree and shrub planting. The old car parking area adjacent to Lake House Road was re-positioned slightly to the east, and an Epping Forest notice board with information about the pond and its wildlife was erected nearby.

    The pond was officially opened by the Chairman of the Epping Forest and Open Spaces Committee, Christine Cohen and Harry Cohen MP, on Saturday 12 June 2003, with a gathering of about 100 local residents.

    Jubilee Pond - layout

    Jubilee Pond is fed by ground water extracted from a borehole descending 65m into the underlying chalk. It has a puddle clay liner to encourage aquatic plant life. Lying in a NW/SE direction it is approximately 212m long by 66m wide with a maximum depth of 1.2m. Near the south-eastern corner of the pond is a sluice to prevent it overflowing.

    The pond has three islands, a large peninsular and two outlying, low mounds. For convenience the islands have been unofficially named: from north to south, Pigeon Island, Centre Island and South Island.

    Recent issues

    In 2005 the pond was found to be loosing water at what seemed an excessive rate. In order to ascertain the cause of this and to plan for a repair - if this was required - it was regrettably decided to allow the pond's water level to drop. Just as the pond was begin to develop into an attractive and good wildlife habitat, local people and visitors once again had the prospect of a muddy hollow. Much of the work by Corporation staff and members of the Lakehouse Lake Project in establishing reed-beds had been wasted.

    wf jubilee pond 080105 1214artJubilee Pond in January 2005By November 2006, it still remained uncertain whether the pond was actually leaking, or whether the loss of water was due to evaporation and lack of rainfall. It was certain that the edges of the pond had deteriorated, and it seemed likely that water was being lost here. During 2013 and 2014 a lot of work was undertaken to remedy this. The pond was re-lined and pipes were installed on the fairground site to drain surface water into the pond, helping to maintain water levels without additional extraction from the aquifer. (source: City of London website) More mesh was laid in the spring of 2014 to reinforce the banks of the pond following heavy rain. (source: City of London website). This work meant that almost all of the vegetation that had become established was lost, and - with the help of seeding and planting by volunteers - the process began again.

    For a review of the wildlife of the pond and its surrounds, click here

    For a background to the Jubilee Pond project by the Lakhouse Lake Group, click here



  • Wanstead Flats - Plant List - Part 1

    Wanstead Flats - Plant List - Part 1

    • for Part 2 - click here

    • for Part 3 - click here

    for a Map showing recording grid, click here

    Note : "Stace" indicates the page number of the plant in Stace 2nd Edition

    p = Previous (Historical) record; COL = City of London Cemetery; EF = Essex Flora

    after Part 3 is a list of plants that I have not personally found or seen.


    Common Name
    14 Osmunda regalis Royal Fern South edge of Alexandra Lake, just east of a group of birches, growing with Soft Rush and Bramble, 25/05/2017
    Phyllitus scolopendrium Hart's-tongue Fern J4 on east wall of Heatherwood Close, 01/02/05; same area on 25/04/14
    Asplenium trichomanes Maidenhair Spleenwort J4 on east wall of Heatherwood Close, 01/02/05
    Dryopteris filix-mas Male Fern J4 on east wall of Heatherwood Close and in soil below, 01/02/05
    Azolla filiculoides Water Fern L3 4186 east edge of Alexandra Lake, first seen in Sept 1996; not present 2007
    Pinus nigra ssp. laricio Corsican Pine L3 a tree in wood north of Alexandra Lake. Still present 2015
    Taxus baccata Yew Increasing, particularly beside roadside trees in Aldersbrook Road; also near Sidney Road Copse.
    Laurus nobilis Sweet Bay F6, one tree and several shrubs by Belgrave Wayleave in 2005
    Ceratophyllum demersum Rigid Hornwort p F3 Model Yacht Pond 02/10/80
    Nigella damascena Love-in-a-mist F6 on bank by Bushwood roadside 05/05/09 (Wanless 2003, F2 pond-dipping area of Jubilee Pond; by Centre Road and by Lake House Road)
    Consolida ajacis Larkspur G2 very close to houses by Centre Road, 11/07/05
    Anemone appenina Blue Anemone by Bushwood, Wanstead Flats 08/04/06
    Ranunculus acris Meadow Buttercup Grassland
    Ranunculus repens Creeping Buttercup Ditch by Capel Road
    88 Ranunculus bulbosus Bulbous Buttercup Capel Road ditch; grassland
    Ranunculus sceleratus Celery-leaved Buttercup H5 marshy area - no longer present since area dried up; F2 by Jubilee Pond 17/09/2004; F2 30/10/04
    Ranunculus ficaria Lesser Celandine Very few plants on Flats. I5, a patch by Hawthorns opposite church; J5 ditch near Aldersbrook Road and in wooded area. A few beneath trees at rear of Belgrave Road. N2 in grass 06/05/81
    93 Ranunculus sp. Water Crowfoot Alexandra Lake, 03/07/2010
    Aquilegia sp. Columbine O1 by COL fence beneath Hawthorns
    Mahonia aquifolium Oregon Grape By Bushwood roadside 06/04/06; L1/2 by Capel Roadside 17/03/09
    Papaver somniferum Opium Poppy I1 occasional in ditch
    Papaver rhoeas Common Poppy K2 opposite 117 Capel Road, 19/06/77
    Chelidonium majus Greater Celandine F/G/6/7 by house fence 05/05/09
    Macleaya (x kewensis) Plume Poppy F5/6 one tall 8ft. plant growing right by garden fence 29/07/79
    Pseudofumaria lutea Yellow Corydalis G2 in lane from Sidney Road, 05/02/05
    Fumaria officinalis Common Fumitory J4/5 near Aldersbrook changing rooms, 26/04/07
    Platanus x hispanica London Plane A common road-side planting (EF "48 Wanstead Flats")
    Ulmus glabra Wych Elm G3 by Centre Road, one tree
    Ulmus procera English Elm In many roadside locations, commonly as suckers
    Ulmus minor ssp. minor Smooth-leaved or East Anglian Elm p Two trees by Belgrave Wayleave, one of which was in an adjacent garden, on 05/05/09. No longer present in 2015 (Hanson 1990 TQ 405858,402867);
    Urtica dioica Nettle various locations; F2 or F3 bank of Model Yacht Pond, August 2000; F2 west bank of Jubilee Pond 30/10/04
    Juglans regia Common Walnut K1/2 a small tree on ditch-side by Capel Road, opp. about 100, 13/09/2008- still present, much bigger, in 2014
    Castanea sativa Sweet Chestnut I2 one specimen in South Copse;
    Fagus sylvatica Beech Common as planted specimens in woods and copses.
    Quercus cerris Turkey Oak H4 two trees in west end of Long Wood; I3 copse; L3 one tree by lake; small tree in Monkey's Parade
    Quercus ilex Holm Oak Not found during 1981 survey, but since increasing - particularly near roadsides and where sheltered by mature trees of other species
    Quercus petraea Sessile Oak L2, a tree by Capel Road opposite 150, Aug 2007
    Quercus robur English Oak Common, particularly lining roadsides (eg east end of Capel Road)
    Quercus rubra Red Oak G3, five specimens.; H4 I2 I3 I4 J2 L3
    Betula pendula Silver Birch F5 back of houses 20/09/92; G4, a line of mature trees running NE-SE. In 1993 seedlings, presumably from these, were numerous in grassland to SE; L3 on islands of Alexandra Lake.
    Alnus glutinosa Alder p. one tree in L3, north of Alexandra Lake, was gone by 1991
    Carpinus betulus Hornbeam Present in some copses
    Corylus avellana Hazel A small tree growing by Aldersbrook Road, 22/03/11
    Mirabilis jalapa Marvel-of-Peru F2/3, a single plant on east edge of Jubilee Pond on 17/09/04
    Chenopodium album Fat Hen F2 near ditch by Sidney Rd, 05/11/04; G3 west side of Centre Road, flowering following fire, 16/10/2018
    Atriplex prostrata Spear-leaved Orache Capel Road ditch 04/08/76
    Atriplex patula Common Orache Capel Road ditch 11/08/75; 04/08/76; (Wanless 2003, a single plant on the margin of Jubilee Pond)
    Amaranthus hybridus Green Amaranth L3 one plant at north edge of Alexandra Lake 09/09/05; K2 many plants on introduced soil, September 2010
    Stellaria media Common Chickweed Common
    Stellaria graminea Lesser Stitchwort G5 and G2 west of Centre Road 24/06/77; H4 south of Long Wood 04/06/79; I3 S.E. of Long Wood 24/05/81; also south of 1953 plantation; I/J3/4 1953 plantation; I5 near Genista; M2; Scattered patches throughout grassland, 2016
    Cerastium tomentosum Snow-in-Summer G5 by Lake House Road
    Cerastium fontanum ssp. holosteoides Common Mouse-ear H3 grassland 30/04/92; I1 ditch opposite Latimer Road, 11/05/77; I4 1953 plantation, 07/04/81
    Sagina procumbens Procumbent Pearlwort H5 path leading west from spring 09/06/81
    Spergula arvensis Corn Spurrey L2/3 on spoil heap created by dredging of Alexandra Lake 05/06/98
    Spergularia rubra Sand-spurrey F2 or F3 bank of Model Yacht Pond, August 2000; J5 car park gravel area. (Baker: F2 or F3 Dames Road Pond bank 17/06/79)
    Agrostemma githago Corn Cockle K2 opposite 120 Capel Road on bank of ditch, a garden outcast. 23/07/79
    Silene latifolia White Campion N2 by Aldersbrook Road, east side. By cemetery wall 06/07/75 and 13/05/77; (Wanless 2003. F2 by pond dipping area of Jubilee Pond); G3 west side of Centre Road, flowering following fire, 16/10/2018
    Saponaria officinalis Soapwort G5 near Lake House Road 10/08/79; K2 opposite 127 Capel Road, 26/08/71979; N2, abundant by Rabbits Road, double-flowered form, 06/08/1979 - 18/08/2016
    Silene dioica Red Campion G5 Broomfields 15/07/75; G3 west side of Centre Road, 16/10/2018
    Persicaria maculosa Redshank In roadside ditches; L2 21/08/04; K3,L3, by Alexandra Lake, 28/09/04; (Wanless 2003: by Jubilee Pond)
    Persicaria hydropiper Water-Pepper K2 grassland south of Alexandra Lake 1975
    Fallopia japonica Japanese Knotweed F5 by house fence 03/06/79
    Polygonum arenastrum Small-leaved Knotgrass J5 muddy edge of car park area
    Polygonum aviculare Knotgrass  
    Convolvulus arvensis Black Bindweed Disturbed ground due to pipe-laying near Rabbits Road bridge 30 August 2008
    Rumex acetosella subsp. Acetosella Sheep's Sorrel H4 rough grassland
    192 Rumex cristatus Greek Dock J4/4 by Aldersbrook Road 13/05/2015. Increasing along Aldersbrook Road by 2021
    Rumex crispus Curled Dock H5 marsh area 16/07/81; (Wanless 2003, F2/3, scattered plants around Jubilee Pond)
    Rumex obtusifolius Broad-Leaved Dock Various locations; (Wanless 2003, F2/3, north side of Jubilee Pond)
    Rumex palustris Marsh Dock F2/3, in the peninsular bay and in the pond dipping area of Jubilee Pond (also Wanless, 2003)
    Hypericum calycinum Rose of Sharon F4 by houses in Belgrave Road wayleave
    Hypericum perforatum Perforate St. John's-wort M/N2 by cemetery wall 23/08/76; 24/07/77; near Jubilee Pond car park 01/08/08
    Tilia x europaea (vulgaris) Common Lime In a number of the copses on the Flats
    Tilia cordata Small-leaved Lime N2, A single tree by roadside near cemetery, 01/06/2008
    Malva sylvestris Mallow Widely scattered
    Malva moschata Musk Mallow F2/3 at west edge of Jubilee Pond, 26/10/2004
    Lavatera (arborea) Tree Mallow H1, by roadside opp. Chestnut Avenue, 2007/8; K1 by roadside opp. 100 Capel Rd. 2008 -2016; F2/3 Dames Road-side, 24/01/2016
    Alcea rosea Hollyhock J1, a group of plants against the east wall of the Capel Road changing rooms, 14/07/98; H3, two plants at edge of track parallel to E. side of Centre Road, 18/07/2016; N1, two plants on roadside bank, Station Road cnr. of Forest View Rd., 09/07/2019
    Viola sp. Garden Pansy N2 ditch bottom by Aldersbrook Rd. (Hybrid garden pansy) 03/04/77
    Viola odorata Sweet Violet G2 near bend of Sidney Road, many at pavement edge and in wood, 17/02/05; on bank by Capel Road near Golden Fleece, 17/03/09
    Viola tricolor Wild Pansy G4, a single flower on scraped area 26/07/08. (Wanless 2003, F2, a single clump on the bank of the pond dipping area of Jubilee Pond)
    Bryonia dioica White Bryony N2 by COL wall
    Populus tremula Aspen H4 one tree to east of Centre Road In 1992 there had been much regeneration in the form of suckers from this tree; G5, one small tree west of Centre Road.
    Populus nigra var. "Italica" Lombardy Poplar D4, by houses; F3, one tree on site of old toilets near road junction
    Populus x canadensis Hybrid Black Poplar H2, one tree by Woodford Road, var. "Serotina"; H3 H4, six trees lining Centre Road; E6, a large tree by Bushwood roadside
    Salix fragilis Crack Willow L3 on east island of Alex Lake, 05/09/09
    Salix caprea ssp. caprea Goat Willow L3 on west island of Alexandra Lake. 1981; L3 banks of Alexandra Lake, 2016
    240 Salix cinerea Grey Willow L3 banks of Alexandra Lake, 2016
    Salix repens Creeping Willow I3, two or three patches south of plantation; J3, a patch in south west corner of plantation- not found in 2002; K3, 2 patches west of lake; J4 a patch N. of East Copse, near plaing fields 01/02/05; F4, N of and near Cat and Dog Pond 03/02/05
    Sisymbrium officinale Hedge Mustard Ditches; F2 or F3 bank of Model Yacht Pond, August 2000
    Alliaria petiolata Garlic Mustard N1 by Forest View Roadside 28/04/81; N2
    Arabidopsis thaliana Thale Cress G4 west side of Centre Road ditch bank 04/82; H4, east side of Centre Rd on bank, 10/04/09
    Rorippa palustris Marsh Yellow-cress F2 or F3 bank of Model Yacht Pond, August 2000; (Wanless 2003, around Jubilee Pond)
    Cardamine hirsuta Hairy Bitter-cress F5 one plant by houses 15/04/79; M2 Capel Road ditch 02/04/77
    Lunaria annua Honesty F5 N1 roadside June 1991
    Lobularia maritima Sweet Alison J1 Capel Roadside 03/07/75; J5 earth tip by changing rooms numerous plants in September 1981
    Cochlearia danica Danish Scurvy Grass G4 by Centre Road on Fairground Flats.
    Capsella bursa-pastoris Shepherd's Purse Common
    Thlaspi arvense Common Field Pennycress L2 opposite 147-8 Capel Road on 05/05/77
    Lepidium draba Hoary Cress E6 west of Bush Wood in grassland; M2 in ditch 23/05/76. Patches in grass and by roads; (a large plant close to the old Sydney Road car park in 2003. Fred Wanless)
    273 Coronopus didymus Lesser Swine-cress F3 by W. side of Jubilee Pond, 18/07/2016
    Diplotaxis tenuifolia Perennial Wall Rocket Common casual particularly in ditches (L/M2)
    Diplotaxis muralis Annual Wall Rocket K2, on recently introduced sandy soil, 30/09/2010
    Brassica oleracea Cabbage G4/5 08/05/77
    Brassica rapa subsp. campestris Turnip J4, a large patch in flower 01/02/05 - check species
    Sinapis arvensis Charlock Near Aldersbrook changing rooms 02/04/07
    Hirschfeldia incana Hoary Mustard F3 by north and east sides of Jubilee Pond 26/10/04
    Raphanus raphanistrum ssp. raphanistrum Wild Radish M2 13/05/77; J4 a few plants in flower by mound S. of changing rooms 03/02/05
    Reseda luteola Weld F2 by south edge of Jubilee Pond 17/09/04
    Reseda lutea Wild Mignonette H2/3 edge of car park on Central Flats on 16/05/12
    Calluna vulgaris Heather K2, one tiny patch east edge of track running S.W. from lake. (Present in 1992 and nicely in flower on 31/08/93) - not seen in 2004; G4 visible from Centre Road - a few patches. These increased over the years (to 2016); H4, five small clumps amongst emergent gorse on slope leading down to Brickfield/Dell area, 23/07/2016
    290 Cyclamen hederifolium Sowbread L3, a patch of white-flowered form to north of Alexandra Lake, 12/10/2010
    Primula juliae x P. vulgaris Primula 'Wanda' F4 near backs of Belgrave Road houses near Lake House Road. 07/05/79
    Lysimachia nummmularia Creeping Jenny L2 opposite. 156 Capel Road 08/07/79; (Wanless 2003, H1 a single plant on drying mud of Angel Pond)
    Lysimachia punctata Dotted Loosestrife K2 ditch opposite 134 Capel Road
    Philadelphus coronarius Mock Orange N1 south-east of tree circle 20/06/82 - 1991; another west of tree circle 23/06/06
    305 Ribes sanquineum Flowering Currant H4 in Long Wood. A healthy plant 14/03/2021
    Crassula helmsii New Zealand Pigmyweed Plentiful in Angel Pond 12/09/00; K/L2/3 Plentiful around Alexandra Lake in August 2004
    Sedum rupestre Reflexed Stonecrop L2 opposite 137 Capel Road 04/07/79. Garden outcast; H4 some established clumps by Centre Road, near Long Wood, 08/07/98
    Rubus idaeus Raspberry F4 amongst brambles and Hawthorns 10/08/79; F6 near boundary with Bush Wood
    Rubus sect. Glandulosus Bramble Widespread
    Rubus laciniatus Cut-leaved Bramble F6 at corner of house fences, west of boundary of Bush Wood; H/I 3 a patch in rough grassland
    344 Potentilla erecta Tormentil H4, two flowers only seen amongst emergent gorse on slope leading down to Brickfields area, 23/07/2016
    Potentilla reptans Creeping Cinquefoil Playing fields
    354 Aphanes arvensis Parsley-piert I/J3, just off edge of playing fields, a few patches. 02/04/2020
    Rosa canina Dog Rose G5 behind bus stop in Lake House Rd 12/07/81; H4 two bushes east end of Long Wood; I4 in 1953 plantation, 14/06/76; K2 Capel Road-side hedge
    Prunus spinosa Blackthorn E6 near Bushwood (rd); H5 near spring; L2 on east island of Alexandra Lake; L3 by Aldersbrook Road-side
    Prunus cerasifera Cherry Plum var. pissardii near junction of Station Road/Aldersbrook Road
    Prunus avium Wild Cherry N1 two or three trees at south west corner of square; two trees north edge near buildings, 10/04/81
    Prunus serrulata Japanese Cherry N1 one tree flowers late April (28/04/81). Pink double-flowered. Nearby Prunus avium flower earlier (10/04/81); two trees in N1 but nearer O1. These are relicts of the pre-fab estate.
    Chaenomeles sp. Chinese Quince I5, Opposite Park Road in ditch 11/04/94; F2 in ditch by Sidney Road 05/11/04; L/M2, a shrub in grassland 01/04/11
    Pyrus sp. Pear 15,H5 near Aldersbrook Road
    Malus sp. Apple G5 one tree by Lake House Rd.; L3 on east island of Alexandra Lake
    Sorbus aucuparia Rowan G5 near Lake House Road; 1996 on east island of Alexandra Lake; seedling in Angel Pond, 20/05/08
    Sorbus aria Whitebeam J2 two trees in copse
    Cotoneaster sp. Cotoneaster spp. In various locations
    Cotoneaster lacteus Late Cotoneaster E3, established on Forest at N.edge of Harrow Road Wood, originating in adjacent gardens, 03/02/05
    Pyracantha coccinea Firethorn M3 with hawthorns opposite COL gate 13/10/80
    Crataegus persimilis Broad-leaved Cockspur Thorn F3 near the junction of Belgrave Wayleave and Blake Hall Road; K4 near Aldersbrook car-park
    Crataegus laevigata Midland Hawthorn I5 near. Aldersbrook Rd and bus shelter, at least one among many C. monogyna; J2 by Capel Road is a red-flowered form; L2 near lake is also red flowered, although this was not present by 2020.
    Crataegus monogyna Hawthorn L/M/2/3 particularly, where forms a small "wood"; common elsewhere.

    for Part 2 - click here

    for Part 3 - click here


  • Wanstead Flats - Plant List - Part 2

    Wanstead Flats - Plant List - Part 2

    • for Part 1 - click here

    • for Part 3 - click here

    for a Map showing recording grid, click here

    Note : "Stace" indicates the page number of the plant in Stace 2nd Edition

    p = Previous (Historical) record; COL = City of London Cemetery; EF = Essex Flora


    Common Name
    Robinia pseudoacacia Locust Tree I2/I3 in North Copse; suckering onto grassland in 2010
    Galega officinalis Goat's-rue J2 opposite 82 Capel Road 02/08/75; F2 by west edge of Jubilee Pond 17/09/04; F2 by south end of Jubilee Pond 26/10/04
    Lotus corniculatus Birdsfoot-trefoil Common; F2 or F3 bank of Model Yacht Pond, August 2000
    Vicia cracca Tufted Vetch G3, scattered in grass (01/09/93); F2 by SW. edge of Jubilee Pond 17/09/04; H4/5 on bank above brickfields, 21/06/2015
    Vicia hirsuta Hairy Tare Quite common scattered in rough grassland
    Vicia sepium Bush Vetch H4 near east side of Centre Road, on a bank near west end of Long Wood, 03/06/79
    Vicia sativa Common Vetch I4 in 1953 plantation; L2; common elsewhere
    414 Lathyrus pratensis Meadow Vetchling G/H5 north side of track from gate off Centre Road; 21/06/2015
    Lathyrus latifolius Broad-Leaved Pea I1 ditch 2/10/80; I4 02/07/77; I4 opposite. 65 Windsor Road, 03/06/79; G5 near Blake Hall Rd., 23/06/08
    Lathyrus nissolia Grass Vetchling G3 Fairground Flats 09/06/06; L1, opp Golden Fleece, 2007
    Melilotus albus White Melilot F2 pond dipping area of Jubilee Pond 2008 (Wanless 2003, same location)
    Medicago lupulina Black Medick E6 by Bushwood; I3 I4;
    Medicago arabica Spotted Medick F2 by SW. edge of Jubilee Pond 17/09/04
    Trifolium repens White Clover Common on playing fields I4
    Trifolium pratense Red Clover Playing fields; F2 by SW. edge of Jubilee Pond 17/09/04
    Trifolium arvense Haresfoot Clover One patch at west side of Jubilee Pond, 2007; present 18/07/2016
    Laburnum anagyroides Common Laburnum G5 by Lake House Road bus stop 04/06/79; G7 near Blake Hall Road, 2 saplings on 24/05/81
    Cytisus scoparius Broom I4
    Genista anglica Petty Whin G2/3 patches in grassland near Centre Road 30/04/92; I4 two well established patches in rough grass near NW corner of 1953 plantation, 05/05/81; Still present and possibly spreading in 1992; A t least three patches in May 1994. Not found from 2006
    Ulex europaeus Gorse Scattered
    Myriophyllum aquaticum Parrot's-feather H1, In Angel Pond, Wanstead Flats, 12/09/00
    Lythrum salicaria Purple Loosestrife H1, a single plant in the drying mud of Angel Pond, 17 August 2007 (Wanless 2003, a single plant in the drying mud of Angel Pond)
    Epilobium hirsutum Great Willow-herb I1 Capel Road ditch; F2 or F3 bank of Model Yacht Pond, August 2000; F2 by Jubilee Pond 17/09/04
    Epilobium montanum Broad-Leaved Willow-herb L2 opposite 153 Capel Road 04/07/79; (Wanless 2003, F2 by Jubilee Pond; H1 by Angel Pond)
    Epilobium tetragonum Square-stemmed Willow-herb Capel Road ditch 24/06/77
    Epilobium ciliatum American Willow-herb F6 by corner of house fences; I3 marsh area 04/08/80
    Chamerion angustifolium Rosebay Willow-herb L3 on west island of Alexandra Lake 1979 and scattered elsewhere in grassland. (Wanless 2003, F2 by Jubilee Pond)
    Circaea lutetiana Enchanter's Nightshade F6 by corner of house fences just west of Bush Wood "boundary" path
    453 Cornus sp. Dogwood K3 right by Alexandra Lake on the south side, 09/06/2010
    Viscum album Mistletoe F4, three plants on hawthorn (found by Pete Saunders in April 1988); E3 on Hawthorn 03/02/05
    Ilex aquifolium Holly Various locations
    Mercurialis annua Annual Mercury F5 back of Belgrave Road houses 29/07/79; H1 in ditch opposite Chestnut Avenue; I1 Capel Road-side ditch, seems to be increasing, 02/10/80; F3 entrance to car park, 08/01/05
    Euphorbia helioscopia Sun Spurge H3 north edge of car park by Lake House Road 03/02/05 (H1 Capel Road ditch; Richard Baker)
    461 Euphorbia peplus Petty Spurge I1 roadside ditch 02/10/80; M2/3 by COL wall; still present 15/05/2010 (Baker: G5 by Lake House Road); G3 west side of Centre Road, in bare area following fire, 16/10/2018
    Euphorbia cyparissias Cypress Spurge N1 side of ditch opposite 10 Forest Drive
    Linum usitatissimum
    Common Flax A single plant on the verge between Centre Road and the Flats ditch, which had been severely burnt earlier in the year.
    Aesculus hippocastanum Horse Chestnut Particularly lining some roadsides
    Aesculus carnea Red Horse-chestnut I5 opp. Park Road (poss. var. "Briottii")
    Acer platanoides Norway Maple  
    Acer campestre Field Maple F4 small tree by house fence; N2 sapling near COL wall
    Acer pseudoplatanus Sycamore Various locations
    Ailanthus altissima Tree of Heaven N2 sucker from COL 09/09/79; many small trees along Aldersbrook Road-side and between the cemetery and the road by 2007
    Oxalis (articulata) Pink-sorrel F5/6 west side of track behind houses, in grass near trees, 20/09/92; H1 Capel Road-side bank near Woodford Road. 26/10/04
    479 Geranium versicolor Pencilled Crane's-bill H2 in ditch around Centre Road car park. 2015; 05/06/16
    Geranium dissectum Cut-leaved Crane's-bill I4 east end of Long Wood; I7; N1 by Station Road, plentiful.
    Geranium robertianum Herb Robert G6 H5 I4 K1
    Geranium pyrenaicum Hedgerow Cranesbill E6 by Bushwood (Rd.) opposite no. 57; F2 near ditch by Sidney Road, 05/11/04; M2 west edge of Forest Drive, 22/4/2009
    Erodium cicutarium Common Storksbill I4 football pitch in N.E. corner of square (check this!)
    Hedera colchica Persian Ivy E5 Extensive patches by Belgrave Road wayleave TQ401868
    Hedera helix subsp. helix Ivy L3 and elsewhere
    500 Eryngium amethystinum Italian Eryngo F2 at SW edge of Jubilee Pond 02/08/2016
    Anthriscus sylvestris Cow Parsley H4, H5
    Conopodium majus Pignut I4 04/06/79
    Smyrnium olusatrum Alexanders F3, near Lake House Road, June 1996; G5 under hawthorns near bus shelter in Lake House Road.
    Aegopodium podagraria Ground Elder K2 ditch 1987; F5, F6 Belgrave Wayleave. 01/05/09
    Foeniculum vulgare Fennel H4 edge of Long Wood; F2 by S. edge of Jubilee Pond 17/09/2004
    507 Conium maculatum Hemlock H2, H3 on access track by Centre Road, east side 02/06/2010
    Apium nodiflorum Fool's Watercress F2/3 by Jubilee Pond 04/07/2005
    Sison amomum Stone Parsley N2 in hedge by path between COL cemetery wall and Aldersbrook Road 29/07/96; by Centre Road near Long Wood, 26/07/2008
    Falcaria vulgaris Longleaf H3/4 a long patch by east side of Centre Road; still present in 2014
    Heracleum sphondyleum Hogweed H2 by track parallel to east side of Centre Road, 26/04/2009
    Vinca minor Lesser Periwinkle G5, under hawthorns, probably outcast from nearby houses, 03/06/1979
    Lycium barbarum Duke of Argyll's Tea Plant H2, an isolated shrub in rough grassland. In June 2015 the plant was in a sorry state, fallen from the roots which appeared to have been undermined, possibly by foxes.
    Solanum nigrum Black Nightshade I1, ditches near changing rooms 27/07/75; disturbed ground (pipe-laying) Manor Park Flats, August 2008
    Solanum dulcamara Bittersweet H4, Long Wood; F2 or F3 bank of Model Yacht Pond, August 2000
    532 Datura stramonium Thorn Apple G4, in exposed ditch west side of Centre Road, 15/10/2018
    Convolvulus arvensis Field Bindweed M/N2 by C.O.L. wall; G/H5 by edge of E-W track, 21/06/2015
    Calystegia silvatica Great Bindweed N2 by Aldersbrook Road; G4 by Lake House Road 22/06/08
    Symphytum orientale White Comfrey E3, plentiful in Harrow Road Wood, 030205
    Pentaglottis sempervirens Green Alkanet by Capel Road on 31/03/09; F5, F6 by Belgrave Wayleave 01/04/2009
    548 Borago officinalis Borage L3, a single plant in grass north of hill by N. Alexandra Lake, 12/10/2010
    Myosotis scorpioides Water Forget-me-not K2, L2 on banks of Alexandra Lake usually amongst other vegetation 28/09/2004
    Myosotis sylvatica Wood Forget-me-not K2 ditch, 2/5/77; M2 ditch opposite the wall between Whitta and Gladding Roads, 06/05/1981; ditch by Capel Road, 20/05/08
    Ballota nigra ssp. foetida Black Horehound Capel Roadside, 07/07/77; F2 by Jubilee Pond 30/10/04
    Stachys sylvatica Hedge Woundwort I1 in ditch opposite Cranmer Road
    Lamium album White Dead-nettle particularly H4 and H5
    Lamium amplexicaule Henbit Capel Road ditch, 27/03/1977
    562 Lamium hybridum Cut-leaved Dead-nettle J4, rear of Heatherwood Close, 14/03/2021. This has white as well as reddish flowers.
    Lamium purpureum Red Dead-nettle Various locations; F2 in pond dipping area of Jubilee Pond 30/10/2004
    Lamium maculatum Spotted Dead-nettle F5, rear of houses, 15/04/79; J4, rear of Heatherwood Close, 14/03/2021
    Teucrium scorodonia Wood Sage I6 near bus stop 17/09/92; still present, although encroached by brambles, in June 2015
    Glechoma hederacea Ground Ivy Ditches 1975/1976; Not found 1978; N2, a small amount by COL wall, 15/05/2010
    Melissa officinalis Balm F5 by house fence 03/06/79
    Prunella vulgaris Self-Heal K2 two plants just on playing fields south of rough grass 29/07/79; F2 in pond dipping area of Jubilee Pond, 26/10/04
    Origanum vulgare Marjoram M2, a patch in rough grassland, 06/07/98; spread considerably by 2011, and an isolated patch south towards Gladding Road on 12/07/2011
    Lycopus europaeus Gypsywort L2 by Alexandra Lake, 21/08/04; F2/3 by W. edge of Jubilee Pond 17/09/04
    Mentha aquatica Water Mint by Jubilee Pond, 31/08/05
    Hippuris vulgaris Mare's-tail F2, F3 by W. and S. edge of Jubilee Pond 17/09/04 (introduced)
    Callitriche platycarpa Water Starwort F4 Cat and Dog Pond 21/08/79 (check sp.); H1 Angel Pond 02/10/80 (check species)
    Plantago coronopus Buck's-horn Plantain G2/3, fairground site; H5, near the spring on gravel track; L2, one tiny piece on dried ledge of lake; L2 and L3 on bed of drying lake - plentiful on 17/09/92; (Wanless 2003, a few plants by the side of Jubilee Pond)
    Plantago major Great Plantain various locations; F2 or F3 bank of Model Yacht Pond, August 2000; F2 by Jubilee Pond, 30/10/04
    Plantago lanceolata Ribwort Plantain Numerous locations; F2 or F3 bank of Model Yacht Pond, August 2000; (Wanless 2003, one of the first plants to grow around the new Jubilee Pond)
    Buddleja davidii Buddleia G4/5, a few bushes west of Centre Road; N1 small "tree" 05/06/79; F2 or F3 bank of Model Yacht Pond, August 2000; large shrub south end of Jubilee Pond car park 1 Aug 2008
    Fraxinus excelsior Ash H1 J5 N1
    Syringa vulgaris Lilac F5, sucker from garden of Belgrave Road; N1
    Ligustrum ovalifolium Garden Privet N1, bush by Forest View Road; E3, a large shrub by Harrow Road, 03/02/05
    Verbascum thapsus Great Mullein G4/5 a number of plants quite near Lake House Road, 20/09/92-2009; (Wanless 2003, F2, a single rather stunted plant in the pond dipping area of Jubilee Pond in 2003)
    Cymbalaria muralis subsp. muralis Ivy-leaved Toadflax J1 one plant in ditch opposite 82 Capel Road, 1975 - 24/06/77
    Linaria vulgaris Common Toadflax G3, G5 frequent near Lake House Road, lots in 1992; K2 a few plants in grass south and west of Alexandra Lake, 21/08/79; N1, a large patch in grass opposite no. 19 Forest Drive, 04/07/79; N2 by COL wall, 02/06/77
    Linaria purpurea Purple Toadflax F5/6 west edge of track behind houses 20/09/92
    Digitalis purpurea Foxglove F5 by houses; H4 near spring in Gorse; L3 by Aldersbrook Road; N2 by Aldersbrook Road - a white form in June 1991
    Veronica chamaedrys Germander Speedwell H4 ditch east side of Centre Road by end of Long Wood, 03/06/79
    Veronica beccabunga Brooklime F2 in pond dipping area, June 2010; (Wanless 2003, F2 pond dipping area of Jubilee Pond)
    Veronica persica Common Field-speedwell I1 in short length of ditch running N.-S. opposite Chestnut Ave, 02/10/80; K2 on playing fields, 10/04/81; N2 by COL
    Veronica hederifolia Ivy Speedwell F4 beneath hawthorns near Lake House Rd. and back of Belgrave Rd. houses, 15/04/79; J5 around wall of estate in 1979
    Hebe sp. Hebe A large shrub in Sidney Road Copse
    624 Rhinanthus minor Yellow Rattle G4, a small patch at S. edge of E-W track, 21/06/2015, found by Kathy Hartnett
    Campanula persicifolia Peach-leaved Bellflower F6 rear of houses, one plant in flower, white flowered 20/09/92
    Campanula poscharskyana Trailing Bellflower F4/5 Belgrave Wayleave, right by Belgrave Road houses 17/06/05
    Campanula rotundifolia Harebell H5 north edge of Long Wood (not found 01/09/93); L/M3 north east of Alexandra Lake (5-10 flowers on 31/08/93) 20 or so flowers in September 2004; present 2007; E3 a single plant with a couple of flowers at the edge of the ditch by Harrow Road 17/09/04
    Galium verum Lady's Bedstraw G1/2, a large patch close to Sydney Road Wood opposite Centre Road; quite common on Fairground Section in 2007 - 2010
    Galium saxatile Heath Bedstraw I3/4 in plantation; numerous patches on Fairground Section, 2007; less common but still widespread on Aldersbrook Section
    Galium aparine Cleavers Widespread
    Sambucus nigra Elder F2 or F3 bank of Model Yacht Pond, August 2000
    Viburnum tinus Laurustinus K/L1/2 Flats side of Capel Road opp. 125 16/03/09
    Symphoricarpos albus Snowberry F5 back of houses west edge of track 20/09/92; M3 among hawthorns opposite. COL gate; in ditch opp. 52 Capel Road, 31/07/08
    Lonicera japonica Japanese Honeysuckle I4 east end of Long Wood 20/09/92; G5 near Lake House Road
    Lonicera periclymenum Honeysuckle I5 near Aldersbrook Road bus-stop; F5 west edge of path behind houses, 20/09/92
    Centranthus ruber Red Valerian J4 by Aldersbrook Roadside, a strip of about 2 metres. 27/04/2014
    661 Dipascus fullonum Teasel In rough grassland SE of Alex Lake, 06/07/2015
    Arctium minus Lesser Burdock I1 roadside ditch; F2, F3 by edge of Jubilee Pond 17/09/04
    Cirsium vulgare Spear Thistle H4 east end of Long Wood; F2 or F3 bank of Model Yacht Pond, August 2000; (Wanless 2003, F2/3 on Centre Island of Jubilee Pond)
    Cirsium arvense Creeping Thistle F2 or F3 bank of Model Yacht Pond, August 2000; near Lake House Road, 22/06/08
    Onopordum acanthium Cotton Thistle D5 two large plants in ditch by Bushwood (Rd) 17/06/98 - still present in May 2009
    Centaurea scabiosa Greater Knapweed L2 in rough grassland; H5 on bank above brickfield, 21/06/2015
    Centaurea cyanus Cornflower N/O1/2 in disturbed (re-seeded?) soil near cemetery gate, 05/09
    Centaurea nigra Black Knapweed H4/5 near spring; N1 opposite. 15 Forest Drive, 04/07/79
    Lapsana communis subsp. communis Nipplewort By ditches; (Wanless 2003, F2 in pond dipping area of Jubilee Pond)
    Hypochaeris radicata Common Cat's-ear H3 Centre Road ditch; H4 south edge of Long Wood; By roadside, 02/06/77
    Leontodon autumnalis Autumn Hawkbit L2 opposite 172 Capel Road 10/08/75
    Tragopogan pratensis subsp. minor Goat's Beard F4 Lake House Road-side bank; G5 west side of Centre Road under Hawthorns; H5, some near blackthorn; M3 opposite COL gate; N2
    Picris echioides Bristly Ox-tongue F2 or F3 bank of Model Yacht Pond, August 2000; (Wanless 2003, F2 in pond dipping area of Jubilee Pond)
    Lactuca serriola Prickly Lettuce M2 by Capel Road 28/07/77; F2 or F3 bank of Model Yacht Pond, August 2000; often by road-sides (J5, 23/07/2016), sometimes in clumps of vegetation.
    Sonchus oleraceus Smooth Sow-thistle Rough grassland and by road-sides; G3 west side of Centre Road, flowering following fire, 16/10/2018
    Taraxacum sect. Erythrosperma Lesser Dandelion Scattered, (10/04/77)
    Taraxacum sect. Ruderalia Dandelion Common, particularly on playing-fields
    Crepis vesicaria Beaked Hawk's-beard Horse ride by Capel Road, one plant, 21/06/77; (Wanless 2003, F2 in pond dipping area of Jubilee Pond)
    Crepis capillaris Smooth Hawk's-beard Near Long Wood, 25/07/77
    Pilosella officinarum Mouse-ear Hawkweed M2/3 rough grassland 21/06/77
    Hieracium spp. Few-leaved Hawkweeds F2 or F3 bank of Model Yacht Pond, August 2000
    Hieracium umbellatum subsp. umbelattum Leafy Hawkweed  
    Gnaphalium uliginosum Marsh Cudweed L3, by Alexandra Lake, 28/09/04; (Wanless 2003, H1, Bandstand Pond)
    719 Solidago canadensis Canadian Golden-rod L/M2 one patch in rough grassland opposite Gladding Road, 12/07/2011
    Aster sp. Michaelmas Daisy G5, one plant near broom, large flowers, 20/09/92; L3 growing out of "ledge" at edge of lake, 17/09/92; F2 by S. edge of Jubilee Pond 17/09/04
    Conyza sumatrensis Sumatran or Guernsey Fleabane F2 or F3 bank of Model Yacht Pond, August 2000; F2 by Jubilee Pond, 28/08/2016
    Conyza canadensis Canadian Fleabane Ditch by Centre Road; K/L2 frequent on south bank of Alexandra Lake 24/08/04; F2/3 by Jubilee Pond 17/09/04
    Bellis perennis Daisy K2 L2; Common on playing fields
    Tanacetum parthenium Feverfew L2, By Capel Road, both sides of hedge. Garden outcast or deliberately planted, 21/06/77
    Tanacetum vulgare Tansy H5 a patch in rough grassland towards Aldersbrook Road, 10/08/79
    Artemisia vulgaris Mugwort M2 east of Golden Fleece by roadside; F2 or F3 bank of Model Yacht Pond, August 2000; F2/3 around Jubilee Pond 17/09/04
    729 Artemisia verlotiorum Chinese Mugwort H2/3 two large patches either side of track parallel to E. side of Centre Rd. 18/07/2016
    Artemisia absinthium Wormwood H1 one plant in ditch opposite Capel Point; H4 one plant in ditch on east side of Centre Road near end of Long Wood
    Achillea millefolium Yarrow Very common in many locations; F2 or F3 bank of Model Yacht Pond, August 2000; (Wanless 2003, F2, in the pond dipping area of Jubilee Pond)
    Achillea ptarmica Sneezewort G4 west of Centre Road, 20/08/79
    Leucanthemum vulgare Ox-eye Daisy G2 south east of Dames Road Pond; H/I1 in dich near Capel Road 05/11/04
    Matricaria recutita Scented Mayweed H3 in grass south of Long Wood; F5 near entrance to Belgrave Wayleave 22/06/08
    736 Matricaria discoidea Pineapple Mayweed Capel Roadside; L3 gravel edge of pond and roadside; F2, F3 around Jubilee Pond 17/09/04
    Tripleurospermum inodorum Scentless Mayweed K2 in rough strip separating north and south playing fields 09/11/2011 (Wanless 2003, F2 and F3 scattered plants around the margin of Jubilee Pond)
    Cotula coronopifolia Buttonweed H1 at south-east edge of Angel Pond 12/09/00; F2/3 common around Jubilee Pond 17/09/04; Jubilee Pond 30/10/04
    Senecio inaequidens Narrow-leaved Ragwort H/I3, first seen on 31st October 2009 in rough grassland
    Senecio jacobaea Common Ragwort G4, a couple of plants amongst patch of thistles near roadside track 05/08/79; N2 a largish patch between Aldersbrook Road and COL cemetery; M3, a large plant in grass opposite COL 17/09/92
    Senecio squalidus Oxford Ragwort

    M2 by Forest Drive on MP Flats, 15/05/2010; N2 by COL wall, 15/05/2010

    Senecio vulgaris Groundsel H5,I5,I4 east end of Long Wood; G3 west side of Centre Road, flowering following fire, 16/10/2018
    742 Senecio viscosus Sticky Groundsel K3, a very large patch within the site of the more southerly creeping willow patch here, on 16/08/2016; still present 09/07/2019
    Tussilago farfara Colt's-foot M2 roadside bank, Manor Park flats 18/05/80; F2 or F3 bank of Model Yacht Pond, August 2000
    754 Bidens cernua Nodding Bur-marigold F2 south edge of Jubilee Pond 17/09/04
    Bidens tripartita Trifid Bur-marigold K/L3 by Alexandra Lake, 21/08/79; K3, by Alexandra Lake 210804; F2 or F3 bank of Model Yacht Pond, August 2000; F2, F3 by Jubilee Pond 17/09/04

    for Part 1 - click here

    for Part 3 - click here