• 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

  • Reptiles in Aldersbrook Exchange Lands

    Reptiles in the Exchange Lands

    by Tim Harris

    During 2015, a group of Wren Group members, with support from the City of London Corporation, set out to find which reptile species were present in the Exchange Lands (Old Sewage Works) between the Empress Avenue allotments and the River Roding. At the beginning of September, some 40 roofing felt refugia were laid in the area. The felts were about 60 x 60 cm in size. Most (30) were placed on open grassland or at the margin of grass and hawthorn or brambles in the western section of the Exchange Lands, with the other 10 in the lower part of the area, closer to the River Roding. Some of the latter were in some very long grass though others were sited on shorter grass close to the cycle way running to the bridge over the river.

    The rationale of using dark-coloured felts that absorb the sun’s heat is a tried-and-tested method. Once warmed by sunshine the felts become attractive to reptiles needing to increase their body temperature, since they are ectotherms (cold blooded). However, this method assumes that there is someone on hand to check the felts as they get warm – rarely the case with only a small team of volunteers doing the checking. Occasionally reptiles may be found under a refuge early in the morning, having spent the night there, or at dusk. It is worth noting for the future that the felts in the longer grass rarely became warm because of the shading effect of the grass, and this was reflected in there being no observations in that area.

    The felts were checked from 4 September to 30 October. During September they were checked, on average every other day when conditions were mostly dry. There were some wet spells during the month when it wasn’t felt to be productive to check. In October the refugia were checked, on average two or three times per week. If more volunteers had been available, the checking could have been more regular.


    Despite anecdotal evidence of Slowworms from people working the adjacent allotments, none were found. Neither were any Common Lizards seen. However, a good number of Grass Snakes, both juveniles and older animals, were noted between 4 September and 15 October. Grass Snakes were seen under six different refugia, with three juveniles under a single felt on 6 September being the most found on any one date. Breaking the observations down week by week, the following pattern emerges:

    Sept week 1: 4 juvenilesGrass snake OSW GJ 3776Young adult Grass Snake in the Exchange Lands, 15 October. Photo: Gill James

    Sept week 2: 7 juveniles

    Sept week 3: 1 young adult

    Sept week 4: 1 young adult

    Oct week 1: none

    Oct week 2: none

    Oct week 3: 1 young adult

    Oct week 4: none


    Grass Snakes are apparently thriving in the Exchange Lands and, since juveniles were found under four felts (in two clusters of two, which were some distance apart), it is safe to assume that they bred in the area. It is hoped to have more refugia set out in the area in spring 2016, with the aim of getting more information on the status of Grass Snakes and – who knows – find a Slowworm or two.

    Thanks to all those who helped with the checking, especially Gill James, and also to Barry Chapman, Nick Croft, Kathy Hartnett, James Heal, Thibaud Madelin, Sharon Payne, Rose Stevens, Alison Tapply, and Bob Vaughan.

    Tim Harris, November 2015

  • St. Mary's, Wanstead

    St. Mary's Church and Churchyard, Wanstead

    St. Mary's, WansteadSt. Mary's, Wanstead

    The Church

    St Mary's Church in Wanstead was designed by Thomas Hardwick and built at a cost of £9000, some of the cost and the site being provided by Sir James Tylney-Long. The first stone was laid on July 13th 1787 by Sir James Tylney Long, and it was completed in 1790. Built in a classical style, with two pairs of Tuscan columns at the porch, it would have complemented the style of Wanstead House itself. It is of brick, faced with Portland stone.

    One of the show-pieces of the interior is the monument to Sir Josiah Child, a chairman of the East India Company. As owner of the estate of Wanstead House, it was he who had the grounds of Wanstead House laid out in the form in which we see them today.

    The seating is provided in box pews, and there is a gallery around three sides.

    Beneath the church there is a crypt consisting of 15 vaults off a passage some 25 metres in length, the entrance to which is via a passage of some 10 metres in length originating outside the church itself.

    The Church is a Grade 1 listed building - the only one in Redbridge.


    The graveyard - Plant Life

    The plant-life of the graveyard was surveyed some 60 years ago by Gulielma Lister, niece of Lord Lister, famous as the pioneer of vaccination. The report was published in the Essex Naturalist (Vol. 27) as "THE FLORA OF WANSTEAD PARK DISTRICT by GULIELMA LISTER, F.L.S." (Read on 29th November, 1941). A copy of the species list is available HERE.

    As the graveyard was very much within the Wren Group's study area, situated as it is to the north of Wanstead Park and adjacent to Wanstead Golf Course, I made a cursory survey of the plants to be found there in 1981. 102 species of plants were found. The list also includes those plants noted by Lister, so that comparisons could be made with the past and present flora. It could be seen that many of the more unusual species still persisted, although 28 species were not noted. The list is available HERE.

    In early February 2016 another survey was done by members of the Wren Wildlife and Conservation Group and results of that are to be added to the listing.

    Paul Ferris

  • St. Mary's, Wanstead - Plant List

    St. Mary's Churchyard - Plants

    The plant-life of the graveyard was surveyed some 60 years ago by Gulielma Lister, niece of Lord Lister, famous as the pioneer of vaccination. The report was published in the Essex Naturalist (Vol. 27) as "THE FLORA OF WANSTEAD PARK DISTRICT by GULIELMA LISTER, F.L.S." (Read on 29th November, 1941). A copy of the species list is available HERE.

    As the graveyard was very much within the Wren Group's study area, situated as it is to the north of Wanstead Park and adjacent to Wanstead Golf Course, I made a cursory survey of the plants to be found there in 1981. 102 species of plants were found. The list also includes those plants noted by Lister, so that comparisons could be made with the past and present flora. It could be seen that many of the more unusual species still persisted, although 28 species were not noted. The list is available below.

    In early February 2016 (07/02/2016) another survey was done by members of the Wren Wildlife and Conservation Group. Results from that have been added to the listing below, and in addition to the higher (flowering) plants, other organisms - including animals - are appended. 

    The reference "(L. 1941)" in the third column indicate that the plant was noted by Gulielma Lister in 1941

    The 1981 date relates to the 1981 survey.

    "Stace" refers to the page no. in Stace 2nd Edition

    (for information about the church and churchyard, click here)


    Stace Species Name Date (and location)
    33 Dryopteris filix-mas Male Fern 1981; 2016
    41 Picea abies(P. excelsa Link)
    Norway Spruce (L.1941)
    44 Cedrus deodora Deodar (L.1941) 1981, one tree W. of church. One tree S. of Church.
    49 Chamaecyparis pisifera Sawara Cypress (L.1941) 1981, south of church by path; 2016
    50 Thuja orientalis Thuja (L.1941) 1981, three trees
    51 Taxus baccata Yew (L. 1941) 1981; 2016
    72 Laurus nobilis Bay Laurel 2016
    80 Eranthis hyemalis Winter Aconite 2016
    88 Ranunculus acris Meadow Buttercup (L.1941) 1981
    88 Ranunculus repens Creeping Buttercup (L.1941) 19811; 2016
    88 Ranunculus bulbosus Bulbous Buttercup 1981
    91 Ranunculus ficaria Lesser Celandine 2016
    101 Mahonia aquifolium Oregon Grape 1981; 2016
    117 Urtica dioica Nettle (L.1941) 1981; 2016
    123 Quercus robur English Oak 1981; 2016
    124 Betula pendula Silver Birch 1981
    127 Carpinus betulus Hornbeam 2016
    140 Chenopodium album Fat Hen 1981 
    162 Stellaria media Common Chickweed 1981
    165 Cerastium holosteoides Common Mouse-ear 1981; 2016
    168 Sagina procumbens Procumbent Pearlwort (L.1941) 1981; 2016
    183 Persicaria maculosa(Polygonum persicaria) Redshank (L.1941) 1981
    195 Rumex obtusifolius Broad-Leaved Dock 1981
    210 Tila x europaea Common Lime 2016
    220 Viola riviniana Common Dog-violet 1981; 2016
    223 Bryonia dioica White Bryony (L.1941) 1981
    250 Alliaria petiolata Garlic Mustard 1981
    267 Capsella bursa-pastoris Shepherd's Purse (L.1941) 1981
    263 Lobularia maritima Sweet Alison 1981 
    285 Rhododendron ponticum Purple Rhododendron 1981
    296 Primulasp.
    Primrose 2016
    297 Cyclamen sp. Winter Cyclamen 2016
    312 Sedum reflexum Reflexed Stonecrop 2016
    313 Sedum album White Stonecrop 2016
    317 Saxifraga spathularisx umbrosa London Pride 1981
    334 Rubus idaeus Raspberry (L.1941) 1981
    335 Rubus fruticosusagg. Bramble 1981; 2016
    344 Potentilla reptans Creeping Cinquefoil 1981; 2016
    346 Geum urbanum Herb Bennett 2016
    370 Sorbus aucuparia Rowan (L.1941)
    391 Cotoneaster simonsii Cotoneaster 1981, N.E. corner, near fence, 2 bushes 13/02/81
    397 Crataegus monogyna Hawthorn (L.1941) 1981; 2016
    406 Lotus corniculatus Bird's-foot-trefoil (L.1941) 1981
    412 Vicia sativa Common Vetch 1981 
    414 Lathyrus pratensis Meadow Vetchling 1981 
    415 Lathyrus latifolius Broad-Leaved Pea 1981
    420 Medicago lupulina Black Medick (L.1941) 1981
    425 Trifolium repens White Clover (L.1941) 1981
    435 Sarothamnus scoparius Broom 1981
    437 Eleagnus pungensvar. 'Maculata' Wood Olive 1981
    446 Epilobium montanumagg. Broad-Leaved Willow-herb 1981
    447 Epilobium ciliatum (adenocaulon) American Willow-herb 1981
    448 Chamaenerion angustifolium Rosebay Willow-herb (L.1941) 1981
    452 Circaea lutetiana Enchanter's Nightshade 1981
    454 Aucuba japonica Spotted Laurel (L.1941) 1981; 2016
    456 Ilex x altaclerensisvar. 'Wilsonii' Highclere Holly 26/01/81 1981
    456 Ilex aquifolium Holly (L.1941) 1981; 2016
    456 Ilex aquifolium var. 'Handsworth New Silver'? Holly 1981; 2016
    456 Euonymus japonicus Evergreen Spindle-tree L.1941) 1981, numerous shrubs
    457 Mercurialis perennis Dog's Mercury 2016
    461 Euphorbia peplus Petty Spurge 1981; 2016
    468 Aesculus hippocastanum Horse Chestnut (L.1941) 1981
    470 Acer pseudoplatanus Sycamore (L.1941) 1981; 2016
    470 Acer platanoides Norway Maple 1981
    475 Oxalis europaea Upright Yellow Sorrel 1981 by fence on west side
    475 Oxalis articulata Pink Oxalis 1981 in rough ground amongst graves near west fence
    482 Geranium robertianum Herb Robert (L.1941) 1981; 2016
    490 Hedera helix Ivy (L.1941) 1981; 2016
    501 Anthriscus sylvestris Cow Parsley 1981; 2016
    502 Conopodium majus Pignut 1981
    515 Heracleum sphondylium Hogweed 1981
    525 Vinca major Greater Periwinkle 2016
    551 Myosotis sylvatica Wood Forget-me-not 1981
    534 Convolvulus arvensis Field Bindweed 1981
    535 Calystegia sepium silvatica Great Bindweed 1981
    531 Solanum dulcamara Bittersweet (L.1941) 1981
    531 Solanum nigrum Black Nightshade (L.1941) 1981
    548 Pentaglottis sempervirens Green Alkanet 2016
    560 Lamium album White Dead-nettle 1981; 2016
    562 Lamium purpureum Red Dead-Nettle 1981; 2016
    566 Glechoma hederacea Ground Ivy 1981
    567 Prunella vulgaris Self Heal (L.1941) 1981; 2016
    583 Plantago major Great Plantain (L.1941) 1981
    584 Plantago lanceolata Ribwort Plantain 1981; 2016
    586 Fraxinus excelsior Ash (L.1941) 1981
    586 Forsythiax intermedia Common Forsythia 1981; 2016
    587 Ligustrum ovalifolium Japanese Privet 1981; 2016
    600 Digitalis purpurea Foxglove (L.1941) 1981; 2016
    603 Veronica chamaedrys Germander Speedwell 1981
    605 Veronica hederifolia Ivy Speedwell 1981; 2016
    605 Veronica persica Buxbaum's Speedwell (L.1941) 1981
    647 Galium verum Lady's Bedstraw (L.1941) 1981
    649 Galium aparine Cleavers (L.1941) 1981; 2016
    651 Sambucus nigra Elder (L.1941) 1981; 2016
    678 Cirsium arvense Creeping Thistle (L.1941) 1981
    683 Centaurea nigra Black Knapweed (L.1941) 1981
    686 Lapsana communis Nipplewort (L.1941) 1981; 2016
    686 Hypochoeris radicata Common Cat's-ear (L.1941) 1981; 2016
    690 Sonchus oleraceus Smooth Sow-thistle (L.1941) 1981
    690 Lactuca serriola Prickly Lettuce 2016
    698 Taraxacum officinale Dandelion 1981; 2016
    699 Crepis capillaris Smooth Hawk's-beard (L.1941) 1981
    702 Hieracium pilosella Mouse-ear Hawkweed 2016
    725 Conyza canadensis Canadian Fleabane (L.1941) 1981
    725 Conyza sumatrensis Guernsey Fleabane 2016
    728 Bellis perennis Daisy (L.1941) 1981; 2016
    729 Artemisia vulgaris Mugwort 1981
    732 Achillea millefolium Yarrow (L.1941) 1981
    735 Chrysanthemum leucanthemum Ox-eye Daisy (L.1941) 1981
    740 Senecio vulgaris Groundsel 1981; 2016
    778 Arum maculatum Lord's and Ladies 2016
    858 Poa annua Annual Meadow Grass (L.1941) 1981; 2016
    868 Holcus lanatus Yorkshire Fog (L.1941) 1981
    895 Hordeum murinum Wall Barley (L.1941) 1981
    934 Endymion non-scripta Bluebell 1981
    934 Endymion hispanica Spanish Bluebell 2016
    940 Allium vineale Crow Garlic 1981
    943 Galanthus nivalis Snowdrop 2016
    945 Narcissus spp. Hybrid Daffodils 1981; 2016
    958 Crocus vernus Spring Crocus 2016
    958 Crocus tommasinianus Early Crocus 2016
    958 Crocus vernus x C. tommasinianus Hybrid Crocus 2016
    958 Crocus nudiflorus Autumn Crocus 1981 a few plants near (sunken) gravestones near west edge.
    961 Yuccagloriosa Yucca (L.1941) 1981; 2016

    Plants recorded by Lister in 1941, but not noted in 1981

    (Lister's species names in brackets)

    45 Pinus sylvestris L. Scots Pine  
    49 Chamaecyparis lawsoniana (Cedrus lawsoniana Murr.) Lawson's Cypress  
    49 Chamaecyparis nootkatensis (Cedrus Cupressa nootkatensis DON.) Nootka Cypress  
    50 Juniperus sabina Savin  
    72 Laurus nobilis Bay Laurel present in 2016
    165 Cerastium glomeratum Sticky Mouse-ear  
    187 Fallopia convolvulus (Polygonum convolvulus) Black Bindweed  
    203 Armeria vulgaris Thrift  
    234 Salix fragilis Crack Willow  
    287 Arbutus unedo Strawberry Tree  
    340 Rubus caesius Dewberry  
    411 Vicia cracca Tufted Vetch  
    457 Buxus sempervirens Box  
    563 Galeopsis tetrahit Common Hemp-nettle  
    652 Viburnum tinus Lauristinus  
    660 Dipsacus fullonum (D. sylvestris) Wild Teasel  
    673 Arctium minus (A. Lappa sub-sp. minus Small Burdock  
    676 Cirsium lanceolatus (Cnicus lanceolatus) Spear Thistle  
    690 Sonchus asper (Sonchus oleaceus sub-sp. Hoffm.) Prickly Sow-thistle  
    702 Pilosella officinarum (Hieracium pilosella) Mouse-ear Hawkweed present in 2016
    715 Gnaphalium uliginosum Marsh Cudweed  
    736 Matricaria discoidea Pineapple Weed  
    740 Senecio vulgaris Stinking Groundsel  
    849 Festuca ovina Sheep's Fescue  
    852 Lolium perenne Rye Grass  
    858 Poa pratensis Smooth Meadow Grass  
    874 Agrostis stolonifera (A. alba L.) Creeping Bent (Fiorin Grass)  
    883 Phleum pratense Timothy  


    Additional plant or plant-like species

    Type Species Name Notes
      Xanthoria parietina    
      Coprinellus micaceus Glistening Ink Cap  
      Dacrymyces stillatus    
      Ganoderma australe    
      Parasola plicatilis? Pleated Inkcap?  
      Puccinia lagenophorae Groundsel Rust  
      Lunularia cruciata Crescent-cup Liverwort  
      Brachythecium rutabulum Rough-stalked Feather-moss  
      Bryum capillare Capillary thread-moss  
      Grimmia pulvinata Grey Cushion-moss  
      Rhytidiadelphus squarrosus Springy Turf-moss  
      Tortula muralis Wall Screw-moss  


     Some additional species found in the graveyard:

    Type Species Name Notes
    springtail Orchesella cincta   07/02/2016 (RSt)
    leafhopper Idiocerussp. (vitreus?)   07/02/2016 (RSt)
    leafhopper Empoasca vitis   07/02/2016 (RSt)
    gnat Sylvicola fenestralis Window Gnat 07/02/2016 (RSt)
    midge Chironomus plumosus   07/02/2016 (RSt)
    fly Drosophila suzukii Spotted-wing Drosophila 07/02/2016 (KH)
    bee Apis mellifera Honey Bee 07/02/2016 (RSt)
    bumblebee Bombus lapidarius Red-tailed Bumblebee 07/02/2016 (RSt)
    beetle Exochomus quadripustulatus Pine Ladybird 07/02/2016 (RSt)
    beetle Halyzia sedecimguttata Orange Ladybird 07/02/2016 (RSt)
    moth Luffia ferchaultella Virgin Smoke 07/02/2016 (RSt)
    moth Agriopis marginaria Dotted Border (F.) 07/02/2016 (RSt)





  • Stuart Monro - Filmmaker, Campaigner and Friend

    Stuart Monro

    On 7th September, Stuart Monro, filmmaker and founder of the campaign for Wanstead Park, died at his home in Wanstead. His funeral was held at the City of London Crematorium in Manor Park on 22nd September 2017, and was attended by more than 160 people.

    After the funeral many of those who had come to pay their repects made their way to Wanstead Park, a place that Stuart loved and where much of his filming of historical, social and ecological issues was done. It struck me, as we stood quietly for a short while and the Sun grew lower in the sky, that the Autumn Equinox was a fitting time for a funeral - and that Stuart may also have appreciated and even been amused by that!

    There is a fitting tribute to Stuart on the Friends of Wanstead Parkland's website at  http://www.wansteadpark.org.uk/news/large-gathering-in-farewell-to-stuart-monro/

    Paul Ferris, 25th September 2017

     Stuart Monro

  • 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


  • Wanstead Flats - Plant List - Part 3

    Wanstead Flats - Plant List - Part 3

    • for Part 1 - click here

    • for Part 2 - 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
    Butomus umbellatus Flowering Rush H1, Some patches in Angel Pond 12/09/00
    Elodea canadensis Canadian Pondweed F2/3, Dames Road Pond 05/07/76; H1 Angel Pond 21/08/79; Jubilee Pond, 22/06/10; Alexandra Lake, 30/06/10
    Potamogeton crispus Curled Pondweed F2/3, Dames Road pond, abundant 21/08/79; Jubilee Pond, 22/06/10
    Lemna minor Common Duckweed L2/3 in Alexandra Lake, 17/08/2016 (Wanless 2003, F2 or F3 in Jubilee Pond)
    Juncus squarossus Heath Rush I3, by track south of plantation (EF: 48 Wanstead Flats)
    Juncus tenuis Slender Rush L2 by south side of Alexandra Lake on sandhills 24/08/04
    Juncus bufonius Toad Rush F4, Cat and Dog Pond 21/08/79; H1, dried edge of Angel Pond, 02/10/80; H4 in marshy area, 21/08/79; K3 north edge of lake, 28/09/80; L2 at edge of lake
    Juncus acutiflorus Sharp-flowered Rush H5 Marsh, 21/08/79
    Juncus articulatus Jointed Rush F4, in Cat and Dog Pond; H5, marsh area, 21/08/79; L2, small amount on dried up south edge of Alexandra Lake, 29/09/80
    Juncus conglomeratus Compact Rush F3/4 marsh; G3 ditch
    Juncus inflexus Hard Rush H5, marsh, 21/08/79; ; K3 two large patches at west end of Alexandra Lake, 29/12/04; F2 at south end of Jubilee Pond, 27/07/08
    Juncus effusus Soft Rush F4 H1, plentiful over much of muddy Angel Pond, 01/09/93; H5 K3 L2 L3; F2 or F3 bank of Model Yacht Pond, August 2000; F2, F3 edge of Jubilee Pond 17/09/04
    Luzula campestris Field Wood-rush I4, one clump by Long Wood, on path between wood and pitches; M2 one clump in rough grass, 10/04/81; N2, rough grass north of bandstand site
    Eleocharis palustris Common Spike-rush H1 two or three plants in south-west corner of Angel Pond, 21/08/79; many plants by the pond in 2008; plentiful 2016
    Scirpus maritimus Sea Club-rush F2/3 Jubilee Pond 16/08/05
    Cyperus longus Galingale L2 One patch on south bank of Alexandra Lake below sandhills 20/08/04; present 2007; not seen in 2016
    Cyperus eragrostis Pale Galingale F2 by east edge of Jubilee Pond on 26/07/2008
    Carex otrubae False Fox-sedge F2/3 a patch at east edge of Jubilee Pond, 1 August 2008
    Carex spicata Spiked Sedge F2 by south end of Jubilee Pond, amongst Pendulous Sedge, on 26/07/2008
    Carex divulsa Grey Sedge H4/5 a single patch at bottom of slope, known for some years by Roger Snook; present 11/04/2007
    814 Carex remota Remote Sedge K1/2, in the hedge between Capel Road and the Flats, 31/05/2017
    Carex ovalis Oval Sedge I/J3, just south of plantation, 14/06/1987
    Carex hirta Hairy Sedge G5 near Lake House Road, 03/06/79; L/M2 opposite Golden Fleece P.H., 17/05/1992
    Carex pseudocyperus Cyperus Sedge F2 south edge of Jubilee Pond 17/09/04 (planted)
    Carex pendula Pendulous Sedge F2 south edge of Jubilee Pond 17/09/04 (planted)
    Carex nigra Common Sedge M8 marsh area
    Nardus stricta Mat Grass H3 H4 (EF: 39-86, 40-86)
    Festuca pratensis Meadow Fescue On the bank by Aldersbrook Road, 17/04/1977
    Festuca rubra Red Fescue K/L2, abundant south of Alexandra Lake
    Festuca ovina Sheep's Fescue K2 south of Lake, 02/07/1979
    Festuca filiformis Fine-leaved Sheep's Fescue F6 K/L2 I3 I4
    Festuca [longifolia] Hard Fescue L2, south east of Alexandra Lake, 08/06/77
    Lolium perenne Perennial Rye-Grass L1 by Capel Road; by Jubilee Pond, 27/07/08
    853 Vulpia bromoides Squirreltail Fescue G/H5, NE corner of Aldersbrook Flats
    Cynosurus cristatus Crested Dog's-tail F6 south of Bush Wood; H4 spring area; L2
    Poa annua Annual Meadow-grass Common on track edges, etc.
    Poa pratensis Smooth Meadow-grass K2/3, south east of lake, 13/06/77
    Poa trivialis Rough Meadow-grass K2/3, rough grassland south-east of lake, 08/06/77
    Poa nemoralis Wood Meadow-grass M2, by trees east of Alexandra Lake, 11/05/77
    Dactylis glomerata Cock's-foot Common
    Glyceria maxima Reed sweet-grass N6 marsh area, 19/06/77; F2 or F3 bank of Model Yacht Pond, August 2000; F2 or F3 bank of Model Yacht Pond, August 2000;
    Glyceria fluitans Floating Sweet-grass H1 edge of Angel Pond, 21/08/79
    Arrhenatherum elatius Tall or False Oat-grass M1, by Capel Road-side
    Avena fatua Wild Oat I1 Capel Road ditch outcast, opposite No. 37, 05/08/79
    Avena sativa Common Oat I1, outcast in ditch opposite 37 Capel Road, 50/08/79
    Trisetum flavescens Yellow Oat-grass H5 below gorse bushes near spring, 10/7/79
    Deschampsia cespitosa Tufted Hair Grass Common
    Holcus lanatus Yorkshire Fog Common
    Holcus mollis Creeping Soft-grass K2 K3
    Deschampsia flexuosa Wavy Hair-grass J3, south of 1953 plantation, common, 10/06/77
    Aira praecox Early Hair-grass H5, on gravelly path leading west from spring; K/L,2/3 gravel south-east of sandhills
    Agrostis gigantea Black Bent L1 ditch, 08/07/79
    Agrostis capillaris Common or Fine bent K2 L2 south of lake, dominant.
    Agrostis stolonifera Creeping Bent H5 marsh, 10/07/79
    Alopecurus pratensis Meadow Foxtail L2, and common elsewhere
    Phleum pratense Timothy L2, common.
    Phleum bertolonii Smaller Cat's-tail H4/5 near spring; L1 north of Capel Road ditch
    Bromus hordeaceus ssp. hordeaceus Soft Brome M6
    Zerna erecta Upright Brome H5 near spring; J2/3 grassland; L1 ditch of Capel Road, 30/06/79; G/H5 in rough grassland, 22/06/09
    Anisantha sterilis Barren Brome M1, abundant by Capel Road-side; N2 by COL wall and roadsides
    Elytrigia repens ssp. repens Couch K/L1 scattered along edge of Flats, 20/06/79
    Hordeum murinum Wall Barley I4 Long Wood; scattered, particularly by roadsides; F2 or F3 bank of Model Yacht Pond, August 2000
    Hordeum secalinum Meadow Barley  
    Hordeum distichon Two-rowed Barley I1, outcast opposite 37 Capel Road, 05/08/79
    Hordeum vulgare Six-rowed barley K2, outcast in ditch by Capel Road, 3/7/77
    Triticum aestivum Bread Wheat G4, by Centre Road pavement, west side, 13/07/81; I1, ditch opposite 37 Capel Road on 05/08/79
    Danthonia decumbens Heath Grass I4 (409-866) a few clumps near Genista anglica, 16/07/81 (EF: 40-86)
    Phragmites australis Common Reed Jubilee Pond, 11/08/07
    Molinia caeulea subsp. caerulea Purple Moor-grass K2/3 south of Alexandra Lake; G4 (EF: 40-86 Wanstead Flats)
    Zea mays Maize K2/3 south of Alexandra Lake; G4, a single plant on 02/11/06
    Typha angustifolia Lesser Reedmace F2/3, By Jubilee Pond
    Typha latifolia Great Reedmace E3, in Cat and Dog Pond, 2015 (Wanless 2003, E3, small stands grow around the margin of Cat and Dog Pond)
    926 Kniphofia sp. Red-hot Poker In ditch by Capel Road, opp. No. 197, 26/05/2017
    Ornithogalum angustifolium Star-of-Bethlehem H5, bank at east edge of Centre Road, 05/05/80; in the same area, but apparently many more plants, on 23/04/2014
    Hyacinthus orientalis Hyacinth N2, by Aldersbrook Road, 27/04/79
    934 Hyacinthoides non-scripta Bluebell M2, corner of Manor Park Flats, 06/05/2021
    Hyacinthoides hispanica Spanish Bluebell K2 opposite 118 Capel Road, 19/05/77; Scattered in various locations, from roadsides to more central parts.
    Chionodoxa forbesii Glory-of-the-snow H5, one plant only in grass beneath trees in the woody area of the N.W. corner of the square, by the left-hand side of the path leading from blackthorn bush to Aldersbrook Road.
    Allium triquetrum Three-cornered Garlic F4, a large clump by house fence at north edge of Lake House Road, Garden outcast, 03/06/79; K2 by Capel Road, 24/03/06
    Allium vineale Crow Garlic G5, 1980's; H2 H3 H5, large areas on 30/04/92; K2, two clumps in rough grassland
    Tristagma uniflorum Spring Starflower G/H4, two adjacent clumps by Centre Roadside and in ditch, 14/04/07; still present 2009
    Galanthus nivalis Snowdrop F5, five or six flowers near Lake House Rd at back of houses, 01/04/78; E3 in wood near changing rooms 03/02/05
    Narcissus spp. Hybrid Daffodils F8; G4/5, "broomfields" area, some scattered plants; G7; J2/3 north-west corner of East Copse in ditch, looks like N. pseudonarcissus, 02/04/81; N2 by roadside
    Iris pseudacorus Yellow Iris L2, S.W. corner of the east island on Alexander Lake. Two adjacent patches, one distinctly taller than the other.
    Iris foetidissima Stinking Iris F4, a single plant very close to the Crataegus pedicellata shrub at west corner of junction of Lake House Road and Belgrave Wayleave, found in 2003 by Fred Wanless; with fruit 26/10/04
    Crocus sp. (nudiflorus) Autumn Crocus I2; L3, well established patch of about six flowers in wood north of lake, 31/10/79; Twelve flowers in same position 14/10/80 (possibly C. speciosus?) Thirty plus flowers on 08/10/95. Not seen in 2007
    Crocus tommasinianus Early Crocus H5, in grass east side of Centre Road near "onion patch", 03/03/78;18/03/79; G2, Sidney Road Copse near bend 17/02/02
    Crocus vernus / C. purpureus Spring Crocus H5, in grass east side of Centre Road near "onion patch", 03/03/78;18/03/79; by Sidney Road
    Crocus spp. (C. x stellaris) (C.aureus) Yellow Garden Crocus I1, one flower by west edge of tree opposite. 37 Capel Road, 18/03/78 - 17/03/79, still present (3 flowers) 11/02/05; E3, two clumps by Harrow Road 03/02/05
    Cordyline australis Cabbage-palm p. J4, a specimen planted about 2006/2007 by Aldersbrook Road-side was flourishing in 2008, but was destroyed by a car in 2009

    for Part 1 - click here

    for Part 2 - 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.

     G = Gibson's Flora of Essex, 1862; EF = Flora of Essex, Jermyn ST; CC = Epping Forest Conservation Centre record.

    Common Name
    Chenopodium rubrum Red Goosefoot Wanless 2003, F2, F3, scattered plants around margins of Jubilee Pond
    268 Teesdalia nudicaulis Shepherd's Cress Foster; The Flora of Essex, 1862. "In an old gravel pit on Epping Forest, not far from Ilford near the gate opposite East Ham Lane."
    301 Anagallis arvensis Scarlet Pimpernel Wanless 2003, F2 two plants by S. edge of Jubilee Pond
    451 Oenothera (glazioviana) Large-flowered Evening Primrose Wanless 2003, L2 one plant in pond dipping area of Jubilee Pond
    605 Veronica agrestis Field Speedwell Wanless 2003, F2 pond dipping area of Jubilee Pond
    641 Jasione montana Sheep's-bit J. Freeman 1862, The Stratford Flora Forest. "Bog"
    869 Aira caryophyllea Silver Hair-grass Snook,pre 2010,unknown location (personal correspondence)
    Apera spica-venti Loose Silky Bent EF: 40-86 Wanstead Flats; BEC.,1945 rep, 73
    882 Alopecurus aequalis Orange Foxtail Wanless 2003, F2 and F3 between peninsular and pond dipping area of Jubilee Pond


  • Wanstead Flats - Plants

    The Plants of Wanstead Flats


    The following is based on 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 introduction to the plants to be found on Wanstead Flats.


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

    For a map showing the recording grid, click here



    Playing Fields

    Large areas of Wanstead Flats are maintained as playing fields, mostly for football and comprising about 66 pitches. Because of the particularly unnatural constitution of this grassland, no account has been taken of the grasses used by the City of London Corporation in seeding and re-seeding the worn patches. However, some of the seeds used may find their way into adjacent rough grassland and so increase the number of species to be found there. Plants that occur spontaneously on the playing fields include an abundance of daisy Bellis perennis and dandelionTaraxacum officinale, both of which can make a beautiful show if not mown too soon. Other plants here include birdsfoot trefoil Lotus corniculatus, white clover Trifolium repens, black medick Medicago lupulina and where the soil has become bare, knotgrass Polygonum aviculare. Sand spurrey Spergularia rubra is plentiful on a football pitch to the west of the '1953' plantation and is also found on the Fairground site and by Jubilee Pond.

    Rough Grassland

    Much of Wanstead Flats that is not used for football pitches is rough grassland. Though basically untended, it used to be grazed by cattle until the BSE crisis which began in the late 1980s stopped that. The last cattle were grazed on the Flats in 1996. During dry weather, the Flats are somewhat prone to fires, either accidental or maliciously deliberate. Some of the most abundant grasses appear to be common bent Agrostis tenuis and red fescue Festuca rubra rubra, with much meadow foxtail Alopecurus pratensis. Wavy hair-grass Deschampsia flexuosa may be found mixed with these and is also in some areas the dominant grass, forming extensive patches. Yorkshire fog Holcus lanatus is locally common across the whole area, as is cocksfoot Dactylis glomerata. Timothy Phleum pratense and smaller cat's-tail P. bertolonii are widely spread and common, but crested dog's-tail Cynosurus cristatus is much less so. Another grass which is widespread but not abundant is mat grass Nardus stricta. Wall barley Hordeum murinum is found in disturbed locations such as that on the edge of the Aldersbrook changing rooms, by the car parking area. It is also found by roadsides. Tufted hair-grass Deschampsia caespitosa is perhaps most common to the south of the '1953' or Coronation plantation.

    Creeping willow Salix repens grows in a few widely scattered patches across the Flats. An example of this are the two patches that grow to the south-west of Alexandra Lake. It should be noted that one of these patches is adjacent to the area mown as playing fields, and suffers from that mowing infringing onto the rough grassland. Heath bedstraw Galium saxatile occurs mainly on the Fairground Section of the Flats, where there is also a small amount of lady's bedstraw Galium verum. White campion Silene alba is scattered in patches over much of the Flats, as too are numerous brambles Rubus fruticosus agg. These include the cut-leaved bramble, Rubus laciniatus. Other plants which are quite common in the rough grassland include curled dock Rumex crispus, sheep's sorrel R. acetosella, patches of stinging nettle Urtica dioica, and common vetch Vicia sativa. In the 'Garlic Patch' area, so called because of the amount of crow garlic Allium vineale, one of the less common species is tansy Chrysanthemum vulgare. Just to the south of Alexandra Lake there was a small but well-established patch of heather Calluna vulgaris, but the laying of a drainage ditch destroyed this. To the east of the lake were some plants of harebell Campanula rotundifolia, otherwise recorded only from the vicinity of Long Wood, although these have not been seen in recent years as bramble scrub has invaded. Similarly, some wood sage Teucrium scorodonia near the bus stop opposite St Gabriel's Church in 1992 has also been invaded by bramble, but was still present in 2016. This is probably of natural occurence, although a small amount found in July 2016 on the slope that leads down to the playing-field area known as the Brickfields or the Dell may have been accidentally introduced by way of the machines used to clear the gorse there. It is not known elsewhere on Wanstead Flats, although there was a patch at the edge of Bush Wood by the north end of Belgrave Road wayleave, although this could not be found in 2014 and subsequently.

    Various shrubs and bushes are distributed about the Flats; bramble has been mentioned, and gorse Ulex europaeus is quite common. One of the thickest scrub areas is near where the spring used to be (see below). Here gorse, hawthorn and bramble grow together, as well as some broom Sarothamnus scoparius. The slopes that lead down to the playing fields area knoawn as the Dell or Brickfields are noted for the insect-life there - particularly mining bees. As such attempts have been made to clear some of the gorse, but this quickly returns. In 2016, amongst newly-emerging gorse, five patches of heather were found, the only plants of that species known on the east side of Centre Road. Also present nearby were a few plants of wood sage and also one or two flowers of tormentil Potentilla erecta. This had never been found on Wanstead Flats before, the nearest known plants being within the graveyard of the Quaker Meeting House in Bush Wood. Along the lower edge of this slope a considerable amount of hare's-foot clover was also found. Previously, this species was only known from a small patch near Jubilee Pond. Is this too a result of machine-movements on the Forest? A large patch of blackthorn Prunus spinosa could be found near Aldersbrook Road, just north of the spring area, but this whole area has been cleared of scrub to a great extent in recent years, primarily to try to limit some nefarious activities which may take place here. Heath rush Juncus squarrosus is found in small quantities widely scattered about the grassland.  A few patches of petty whin Genista anglica were present, and one patch at least was known in 2002, but none have been found in recent years. The loss of this species seems to coincide with the cessation of cattle grazing on the Flats in 1996 following the BSE outbreak.

    Across Centre Road, to the west, some patches of heather Calluna vulgaris are also well established and some work was done in 2006/7 involving a shallow scraping of part of the area in an attempt to re-establish some of the finer grasses and enhance the heather. Broom is abundant here and can cover an extensive area, thus in 1981 I actually called this 'the Broomfields'. Another clearance of the area adjacent to the heather patches took place in 2014, partly to try to limit invasive birch growth that was taking place. This resulted in a small patch of yellow ratlle Rhinanthus minor being found. Here too are some buddleia Buddleja davidii and dog rose Rosa canina, and Hairy sedge Carex hirta has been found in the rather dry grassland near Lake House Road.

    Ponds and Wet Areas

    Angell's Pond, more commonly spelt Angel Pond nowadays but also known as the Bandstand Pond or Capel Road Pond, is the smallest of the permanent open waters on Wanstead Flats and has been colonised by comparatively few species of plants. Of these floating sweet-grass Glyceria fluitans and soft rush Juncus effusus are prominent. Also present on the mainly bare banks is common spike-rush Eleocharis palustris. In 2000 a considerable amount of New Zealand pigmyweed Crassula helmsii was noted as well as some of the other increasingly invasive aquarium plant, parrot's-feather Myriophyllum aquaticum. A more pleasing find at the same time was a very small amount of buttonweed Cotula coronopifolia. In August 2007, the first purple loosestrife Lythrum salicaria plant to be found on Wanstead Flats was discovered in the pond. The following year a patch was noted by Alexandra Lake. Angel Pond does suffer at times from a severe lack of water; in 2008, a seedling rowan Sorbus aucuparia was found growing considerably far into the pond from what should be the dry bank.

    Jubilee Pond was before 2002 stone edged and steep sided with no shallows, being some feet deep close to the edge, and known as the Model Yacht Pond. All around the pond the earth was well trodden and compacted and so supported little plant-life. For some years the pond had not retained water. When it did, Canadian pondweed Elodea canadensis as well as an abundance of curled pondweed Potamogeton crispus was present. In 2002 the lake was renovated and renamed Jubilee Pond. Some plants were introduced deliberately, others occurred spontaneously and a record of the changes were being made. For more information about this click here. However, subsequent to the renovation it was found that the new pond suffered from severe water loss, and so further work was done in 2013 and 2014 to try to rectify this. The result is that many of the plants - introduced and otherwise - that had begun to establish there were lost, and a new succession is taking place. (2016)

    Alexandra Lake, also known as the Sandhills Pond, is the largest of the waters and when this report was originally written in 1981 had relatively few plants around the edge except for numerous clumps of soft rush, a small amount of trifid bur-marigold Bidens tripartita, some grasses, and white clover Trifolium repens. In recent years many more plants have become established at the pond's margins, including silver birch and willows Salix sp. This may coincide with the loss of the cattle that once used the lake as a source of drinking water, but the aspect of the lake is changing rapidly. In some parts - particularly opposite the parade of shops on Aldersbrook Road - the lake is even becoming difficult to see. New Zealand pigmyweed Crassula helmsii has become established on the gently sloping banks, particularly on the south margin of the lake. In 2004 a patch of galingale Cyperus longus was found at the south edge of the lake, although this could not be found in 2014. The protection afforded by the two islands of the lake had even prior to 1981 enabled a greater variety of plants to exist here. Yellow flag Iris pseudacorus and great water-grass Glyceria maxima are present by the waterside on the higher (the eastern) island, and great willow Salix caprea on both of them. On the low island silver birch Betula pendula is numerous. In August 2008, a patch of purple loosestrife Lythrum salicaria was found by the lake, in the bay opposite Aldersbrook Parade.

    A smaller and lesser-known pond is the Cat and Dog Pond on Bush Wood Flats, quite near to Lake House Road. A youngster that I encountered there years ago explained to me that it was so-called because it is only there "when it has been raining cats and dogs". It probably never has much depth of water in it, but is probably always damp, and frogs find it attractive, as do dragonflies. There is a considerable amount of soft rush, and yellow flag is common. There is common reed Phragmites, too, and this increased significantly since the original survey was made, so much so that only a small amount of 'open' water (if water at all) was present. At some time - possibly during 2020 or early 2021, some quite major work was undertaken to remove much of the reed and - particularly after large amounts of rain during the winter of 2020/21 - the pond really did look like a pond, even large enough to reflect the images of the tower blocks to the west.

    In the north-west corner of the Aldersbrook Section where the ground level rises slightly used to be a spring. This gave rise to a small wet area on the edge of the area known as the Brickfields (or sometimes the Dell) which are used as playing fields. Because of the continuing outflow from the spring, it was usually the wettest of the 'marshes' to be found on the Flats. Great water-grass and soft rush were the dominant plants, and amongst these jointed rush Juncus articulatus and toad rush J. bufonius could be found. Celery-leaved crowfoot Ranunculus sceleratus was present and the plants that occur here had a more rounded fruit-head than is usual in this species. Possibly because of changing climatic conditions, but probably due to pipe-laying work along Centre Road, the spring now no longer exists and the marshy area is now dry. Another large area of 'marsh' was to be found across Centre Road on the Fairground Section, consisting predominantly of soft rush, but with some hard rush Juncus inflexus. However, this too is drying up leading to a loss of an important habitat which harboured an interesting collection of rushes, sedges, mosses and liverworts.


    Including the smaller species such as elder Sambucus nigra, holly Ilex aquifolium and hawthorn Crataegus spp., 35 species of trees have been found on Wanstead Flats. These can be growing singly in copses and woods, in lines along roadsides, or in avenues. The total number of trees is quite large for an area which could so easily be seen as 'just grassland'. One of the most widespread species is hawthorn Crataegus monogyna, which occurs as isolated specimens, with other species in woods or copses, or even forming something of a small wood itself, as in the area to the east of Alexandra Lake. A solitary tree growing near the south-east corner of this lake is a Midland hawthorn C. oxyacanthoides, in this case a variety with red flowers, although by 2020 this could not be found. Another of these grows by Capel Road and a few more on Manor Park Flats. Also in this area, near Forest View Road, are a number of specimens of flowering cherry Prunus serrulata and apple Malus sp. These are perhaps relics of gardens attached to wartime prefabricated houses that stood on this part of the Flats until about 1960. A specimen of mock orange Philadelphus coronarius here almost rates as a tree, and may also be such a relic. Elder and holly may be found growing wild almost anywhere on the Flats, they often appear as seedlings amongst other vegetation. Another small tree is laburnum Laburnum anagyroides; one specimen is known near Lake House Road and another by Aldersbrook Road. There are also some aspens Populus tremula, by the edge of the hawthorn wood near NW of the Brickfields. Two other species of poplar are present. There is a Lombardy poplar Populus nigra 'italica' close to a house near the western end of Evelyn's Avenue (see below), and thgere was another on a mound that is the site of the underground toilets which were near the junction of Dames Road and Lake House Road. This tree - prominent from distant parts of the Flats - had been felled by 2016. An impressive grove of hybrid black poplar Populusx canadensis finish the avenue of trees - Evelyn's Avenue - that crosses from Bush Wood to the western extremity of the Flats. Hybrid black poplars are also found spaced along Centre Road, particularly at the northern end.

    Evelyn's Avenue - although somewhat depleted particularly as it crosses Wanstead Flats - is a double avenue of common lime Tilia x europaea. Tree avenues such as these were a popular feature during the 17th century. John Evelyn recommended limes as 'most proper and beautiful for walks' and that they should be planted 'at a distance of eighteen to twenty foot'. What may remain of the original 'Evelyn's Avenue' are some impressive sweet chestnut trees within Bush Wood. (photo) The limes are clearly of a later date.

    Other trees that have been used for lining roadsides are English oak Quercus robur, London plane Platanus x hybrida and horse chestnut Aesculus hippocastanum. A specimen of sessile oak Quercus petraeais known from Capel Road, near the "Golden Fleece" pub, though this was only noticed in 2007! There is a red-flowered horse chestnut A.x carnea by Aldersbrook Road.

    The groups of trees that were planted on Wanstead Flats as an amenity feature often contain a variety of species, although in many oak species and beech Fagus sylvatica may outnumber the rest. The wood by the north side of Alexandra Lake, for example, contains about sixteen species of which beech is the most abundant. There are, however, almost as many English oak and just one red oak Q. borealis. A single alder Alnus glutinosa which was present in 1980 is now gone, though a Corsican pine Pinus nigra laricio is - apart from yews - the only conifer on the Flats. The yews, when mentioned in 1981, were stated as being "small and few"; in 2007, although there are no large trees, the numbers have risen substantially. Many of the more recent trees may be found adjacent to mature trees such as London planes growing by roadsides (photo). On the Fairground Section there is a copse that contains about equal numbers of the two species of oak just mentioned, plus a few hornbeam Carpinus betulus. In the 'East Copse' on the Aldersbrook Section, beech is the most abundant species, but with almost as many oaks comprising almost equal numbers of red oak and English oak. There were also two whitebeams Sorbus aria, although these are now dead (photo). There are a number of silver birch Betula pendula, although in 1979 only one of these was still alive. In the 'North Copse', there are three locust trees Robinia pseudoacacia; one of these has suckered badly, and these are now spreading south and east onto the rough grassland (photo). In the 'South Copse' is a specimen of sweet chestnut Castanea sativa. In 1979 the majority of birches all over the Flats were dead or dying. These trees were probably at the end of their natural life-span here, and the drought of 1976 may have helped to hasten their end. Only on the islands of Alexandra Lake were there many still living. However after the cessation of cattle grazing on Wanstead Flats in 1996, birches were able to re-establish themselves and by 2000 there was virtually a new wood of them on the Fairground Section, and in subsequent years they have been spreading to such an extent that this section - an SSSI - is threatened. The elms Ulmus spp. too, are mostly gone as large trees, although many persist as suckers from a dead tree or its stump, particularly at the west end of Capel Road. Exceptions to the missing large elm trees are two or possibly three East Anglian elms Ulmus minorssp. minor by Belgrave Road Wayleave. Mistletoe Viscum album has been found on a few trees, both hybrid black poplar and hawthorn, on the section of the Flats nearer to Bush Wood, and in 2016 two mistletoe plants were seen in trees on the Aldersbrook section, not far from the junctions of Aldersbrook Road, Centre Road and Blake Hall Road.

    The Coronation Plantation is a small area on the Aldersbrook Section of the Flats which was planted with trees in 1953 to commemorate the Coronation of Queen Elizabeth II. Many of the trees are oaks which are all very small, though interestingly they decrease in size from south to north. The northern part of the original plantation - which until 1979 had a wire fence surrounding it which gave some protection from grazing and trampling - is thus primarily grass.  A small patch of heath bedstraw Galium saxatile occurs here, a species which is known elsewhere on Wanstead Flats, but particularly on the Fairground Section. Other plants to be found in the plantation area include white campion Silene alba and numerous brambles Rubus fruticosus agg. These include the cut-leaved bramble, Rubus laciniatus.

    For more information on the trees of Wanstead Flats, click here.

    Roadside Verges and Houses

    Nearly all of Wanstead Flats is surrounded by either roads or by the back gardens of houses. The roadside verges often consist of a ditch, sometimes with a bank. All too often the ditches need to be cleared of dumped rubbish, creating a disturbed situation in which many plants are to be found. Creeping thistle Cirsium arvense and lesser burdock Arctium minus are common in this situation. Red dead-nettle Lamium purpureum and black horehound Ballota nigra are quite common along the banks, the latter particularly in stretches along Capel Road. Some less common plants also manage to survive in the ditches. There was for some years one tiny patch of ivy-leaved toadflax Cymbalaria muralis hanging on to the side of a ditch by Capel Road. Rather more prominent by the end of this road near Angel Pond was some wormwood Artemisia absinthum. Mugwort A. vulgaris is much commoner by the roadsides. Man's disturbance of the verges has resulted in more species of plants on Wanstead Flats than would otherwise occur. The rubbish deposited here includes outcast garden plants and seeds. The double-flowered forms of feverfew Chrysanthemum parthenium and soapwort Saponaria officinalis that are well established may be examples of species introduced in this way. There are a few species of shrubs that have become established, possibly by being cast out from houses, but the possibility of deliberate planting should not be excluded. By Capel Road, in the section nearer to the Golden Fleece pub which has more of a hedge than much of the rest of the Flats, there are specimens of Oregon grape Mahonia aquifolium, laurustinus Viburnum tinus and tree mallow Lavatera arborea. Many daffodils are planted along here, and probably also the sweet violets Viola odorata that are spreading across the bank near the Golden Fleece. There was for a time a mass of soapwort by Aldersbrook Road at the Manor Park end of the Flats.

    A patch of alexanders Smyrnium olusatrum was noted in Lake House Road not far from the junction of Dames Road in 1998. By 2005 this species had spread along the road-side almost to Centre Road. By 2006 there were patches along Centre Road on the Fairground side of the Flats, and in 2007 the first patch was noted on the Aldersbrook section at the side of Centre Road opposite Lakehouse Road. The species was also noted in scrub at the north end of the Belgrave Road Wayleave on the Bush Wood section of the Flats. In 2015 some alexanders was noticed at the wast end of Capel Road, and in 2016 a large patch was present in the wooded area just west of Aldersbrook changing rooms. Near the old wall that surrounds Aldersbrook petrol station and Heatherwood Close (a remnant of Aldersbrook Farm), there are a number of species which have probably been either cast out or deliberately planted. These include some snowdrops Galanthus sp., yellow archangel amiastrum galeobdolonssp. argentatum and large cuckoo-pint Arum italicum . The wall itself has harboured some ferns - maidenhair spleenwort Asplenium trichomanes and hart's-tongue Phylliyus scolopendrium.It is the wall itself that gives these the opportunity to survive - only one other hart's-tongue is known from Wanstead Flats and that was noticed in 2016 on the side of the ditch parallel to Centre Road, near Long Wood. Also by Centre Road in the vicinity of Long Wood, a patch of longleaf Falcaria vulgaris in 2008 was stretching along something like a 2 metre length of the roadside bank; unfortunately, half of the width of this was mowed away in August of the following year. However, in 2016 it is still present. The edge of the Flats by the back gardens of the houses in Belgrave Road is particularly rich in unusual plants, including balm Melissa officinalis, snowdrop Galanthus nivalis, three-cornered leek Allium triquetrum and spotted dead-nettle Lamium maculatum.

    Although more species surely still remain to be discovered on Wanstead Flats, and the distribution, particularly of the grasses, needs further investigation, an overall impression gained during the survey undertaken in the early 1980's was that of the 250 species recorded, many of these were few in number. It was found that something like 60 species are to be found on Wanstead Flats that are not present in Wanstead Park, and 105 species in the Park that do not occur on the Flats.


  • Wanstead Flats - Trees

    Wanstead Flats - Trees


    Wanstead Flats forms the southern-most extent of Epping Forest and comprises about 135 Hectares, mostly of open grassland and football pitches.

    The overall impression one gets of the area is just that - flat, open grassland. But in fact there are a large number of trees to be found here, hundreds of specimens of some 36 species. These are present typically in planted copses and as roadside plantings, or - in the case for example of Hawthorn - in either small groups or as isolated specimens.

    A survey of the trees of Wanstead Flats was made in 1979 as an addition to the general plant survey of Wanstead Flats (Ferris, 1981), and covers the same area.

    Each separate 0.25 x 0.25Km. square of the plant survey map (Map) was investigated and the species present therein listed (Table 1). The trees found in each square were listed alphabetically using the scientific name. The number of specimens of each species should generally be treated as approximate, especially in the larger groups of trees where counting precisely is more difficult.

    The term 'tree' should be taken to include some of the smaller types that may in fact be little more than shrubs. This is particularly true of elder (Sambucus nigra).

    36 species were recorded on 1979, although some of these - particularly Elm, Birch and the single Alder (Alnus glutinosa) - were in poor condition or dying.

    A list of the 36 species in alphabetical order is included in Appendix 1.

    P. R. Ferris

    TABLE 1.

    Trees recorded from Wanstead Flats listed alphabetically by species per grid square.

    (specs. = specimens)

    D3/D4 (Wood by Harrow Road)
    Acer campestre 2 specs.
    Acer pseudoplatanus 3 specs.
    Carpinus betulus 1 spec.
    Crataegus monogyna A few trees
    Populus x canadensis 1 spec.
    Quercus robur 2 specs.
    Sambucus nigra 1 spec.
    Ulmus sp. 4 specs.

    Populus nigra 'italica' 1 spec. by houses at edge of Flats

    D5 (Edge of Flats)
    Platanus x hybrida A line of trees

    (Wood opposite school)
    Crataegus monogyna The predominant species
    Sambucus nigra 1 spec.

    (Group of trees near Ferndale Rd.; inc. part of D6)
    Crataegus monogyna A few trees
    Populus x canadensis A number of fine trees
    Tilia x europaea 5 specs. amongst poplars

    (S.W. edge of tree avenue (Evelyn's Avenue) leading to Bush Wood)
    Platanus x hybrida Forming part of Evelyn's Avenue
    Populus x canadensis

    Populus tremula One tree at edge of Flats opp. Stanmore Road.

    Platanus x hybrida Lining Harrow Road

    E4 No trees except possibly two Crataegus monogyna in S.E. corner of square

    Platanus x hybrida Comprising tree avenue (Evelyn's Avenue)
    Populus x canadensis

    E6 (Avenue of trees)
    Crataegus monogyna A few trees
    Tilia x europaea Main avenue of trees

    (Lining Bushwood)
    Platanus x hybrida

    (Wood by Bushwood)
    Acer pseudoplatanus 1 spec.
    Crataegus monogyna Some in wood; a few elsewhere
    Fagus sylvatica 1 spec.
    Quercus robur Predominant species

    Platanus x hybrida Lining Dames Road and Sidney Road

    Acer pseudoplatanus A few specs. on old toilet site
    Crataegus monogyna Numerous specs.
    Fagus sylvatica 1 spec. on site of old toilets
    Platanus x hybrida Lining S. side of Lake House and Dames Roads
    Populus nigra 'italica' 1 spec on old toilet site.

    F4 (Lining Lake House Road; west side)
    Platanus x hybrida A number of trees
    Populus x canadensis 6 specs.
    Tilia x europaea 1 spec.

    (Edge of Flats by houses)
    Acer campestre 3 specs.
    Acer pseudoplatanus 1 spec.
    Betula sp. A few specs.
    Carpinus betulus 2 specs.
    Crataegus monogyna Abundant
    Ilex aquifolium Some bushes
    Platanus x hybrida Comprise most of tree avenue
    Populus x canadensis
    Quercus robur 2 specs.
    Tilia x europaea 2 specs.
    Ulmus sp. 2 trees; many suckers

    F4 (S.E. side of Lake House Road)
    Crataegus monogyna
    Platanus x hybrida Lining Lake House Road
    Tilia cordata A few specs. in copse
    Tilia x europaea Dominant species in copse

    Acer campestre 1 spec.
    Betula sp. 2 specs.
    Carpinus betulus 2 specs.
    Crataegus monogyna
    Platanus x hybrida Forming avenue of trees by houses
    Populus x canadensis
    Tilia x europaea

    This square includes part of Bush Wood, dealt with separately. Only those trees
    that are S.W. of the footpath between Belgrave Road and Bushwood are included here.

    Crataegus monogyna Abundant
    Ilex aquifolium Abundant
    Platanus x hybrida Lining Bushwood
    Quercus robur Abundant
    Tilia x europaea Tree avenue

    G2 (By houses in Woodford Road and Sidney Road)
    Aesculus hippocastanum
    Acer campestre
    Acer platanoides 1 spec.
    Acer pseudoplatanus
    Carpinus betulus
    Crataegus monogyna
    Fagus sylvatica
    Ilex aquifolium
    Quercus robur
    Tilia x europaea
    Ulmus sp. Unidentified elm
    Ulmus glabra

    (Lining Sydney Road)
    Platanus x hybrida

    G2 (By Centre Road)
    Crataegus monogyna 1 spec.
    Tilia x europaea 1 spec.

    G3 (By Centre Road)
    Acer pseudoplatanus 1 spec.
    Crataegus monogyna
    Tilia x europaea 2 specs

    G3 (Copse to W. of Centre Road)
    Carpinus betulus 3 specs
    Crataegus monogyna
    Quercus borealis 5 specs.
    Quercus robur 8 specs.

    Crataegus monogyna Scattered on Flats

    G4 (Roadside)
    Crataegus monogyna
    Malus sp. 1 spec. by Lake House Road
    Quercus robur 3 specs. by Lake House Road
    Sambucus nigra
    Tilia x europaea 2 specs. by Centre Road

    (Copse east edge of F4)
    Crataegus monogyna
    Tilia x europaea Dominant species

    Acer pseudoplatanus One small tree by Lake House Road
    Crataegus monogyna Plentiful
    Fagus sylvatica 1 spec. in dip E. side of Centre Road
    Ilex aquifolium 2 specs.
    Laburnum anagyroides 1 spec.
    Platanus x hybrida Lining E. side of Centre Road
    Populus tremula 1 spec.
    Sambucus nigra Approx. 3 specs.
    Sorbus aucuparia A sapling near Lake House Road
    Tilia cordata 1 spec.
    Ulmus glabra 1 spec.

    H1 (Avenue by Capel Road)
    Aesculus hippocastanum 1 spec.
    Fraxinus excelsior 2 specs.
    Platanus x hybrida Avenue by Flats plus 2 dead trees by road
    Tilia sp. 6 specs.
    Ulmus sp. One or two nearly dead trees; lots of regeneration in ditch

    (Bandstand circle)
    Platanus x hybrida

    H2 (An avenue of trees by Woodford Road)
    Acer pseudoplatanus 4 specs.
    Platanus x hybrida Comprise that side of tree avenue by pond
    Populus x canadensis 1 spec.
    Tilia sp. 1 spec.

    H3 (Lining Centre Road)
    Acer pseudoplatanus 1 spec.
    Aesculus hippocastanum 1 spec.
    Populus x canadensis 1 spec.
    Tilia sp. 4 specs.
    Ulmus sp. 2 specs; one nearly dead, but regenerating in ditch.

    H4 (By Centre Road)
    Acer pseudoplatanus 1 spec.
    Crataegus monogyna
    Platanus x hybrida 1 spec.
    Populus x canadensis 5 specs.
    Tilia sp. 3 specs.
    Ulmus sp. 1 spec.

    (Long Wood: western section)
    Aesculus hippocastanum 1 spec.
    Carpinus betulus 5 specs.
    Crataegus monogyna Plentiful. particularly at edge of wood.
    Fagus sylvatica 2 specs. , one with white bark.
    Ilex aquifolium Some bushes
    Platanus x hybrida
    Quercus sp. 2 unidentified oaks near Centre Road
    Quercus robur Predominant species..
    Sambucus nigra 1 or 2 bushes.
    Tilia sp. 5 specs. plus one isolated to N. of Long Wood.

    (Long Wood: middle section)
    Betula sp. 1 dead tree.
    Carpinus betulus 4 specs.
    Crataegus monogyna Plentiful around edges and at E. end.
    Fagus sylvatica Co-dominant species with Quercus robur.
    Quercus sp. One tree with large leaves.
    Quercus borealis 2 specs.
    Quercus robur Co-dominant species with Fagus sylvatica.
    Sambucus nigra

    (Long Wood: eastern section inc. part of I4)

    Betula sp. 3 specs. alive; 1 dead
    Crataegus monogyna
    Fagus sylvatica Co-dominant species with Quercus robur.
    Quercus sp. One unidentified tree.
    Quercus borealis 2 specs.
    Quercus robur Co-dominant species with Fagus sylvatica.
    Sambucus nigra
    Tilia sp. 3 specs.
    Ulmus glabra 1 spec.

    Carpinus betulus 2 specs.
    Crataegus monogyna
    Fagus sylvatica 1 spec.
    Ilex aquifolium 1 bush.
    Quercus robur 1 tree plus some seedlings in grass.
    Tilia sp. 1 spec. by track from spring to Centre Road.
    Tilia x europaea 4 specs. by Aldersbrook Road.
    Ulmus sp. 2 specs.

    I1 (Copse just west of changing rooms)
    Fagus sylvatica 9 specs.
    Quercus robur Dominant species.

    (Lining Capel Road)
    Aesculus hippocastanum

    I2 (South Copse)
    Carpinus betulus 1 spec.
    Castanea sativa 1 spec.
    Fagus sylvatica Dominant species in S. part of copse.
    Quercus robur Dominant in N. part of copse.
    Tilia x europaea 3 specs.

    (Lining Capel Road)
    Aesculus hippocastanum

    I2/3 (North Copse)
    Betula sp. Only one spec. still alive.
    Castanea sativa Approx. 9 specs.
    Fagus sylvatica Co-dominant with Q. robur.
    Quercus borealis Approx. 12 specs.
    Quercus robur Co-dominant with F. sylvatica
    Robinia pseudoacacia 3 specs.
    Tilia x europaea 5 specs. amongst poplars

    (For '1953' plantation see I4)

    I4 ('1953' plantation including part of I3)
    Betula sp. 1 spec.
    Carpinus betulus
    Crataegus monogyna
    Fagus sylvatica
    Quercus robur

    (For Long Wood see H4)

    I5 (Aldersbrook Road-side)
    Acer pseudoplatanus One sapling among hawthorns
    Crataegus monogyna Scattered along roadside
    Tilia x europaea 1 spec.
    ? Unidentified sapling planted by roadside opposite Brading Crescent.

    (By bus stop)
    Carpinus betulus Saplings
    Crataegus monogyna
    Fagus sylvatica Saplings
    Quercus robur Saplings

    Acer pseudoplatanus Three groups of young trees E. of changing rooms
    Aesculus hippocastanum Lining Capel Road
    Quercus robur One spec. opposite 86 Capel Road

    Aesculus hippocastanum Lining Capel Road

    Betula sp. Only 1 spec. alive
    Fagus sylvatica About 16 specs.
    Quercus borealis About 14 specs.
    Quercus robur About 10 specs.
    Sorbus sp. 2 specs.
    Tilia x europaea 1 spec.

    (No trees)

    Aesculus x carnea Isolated small tree opposite Park Rd.
    Crataegus monogyna Plentiful

    (West edge of walled area)
    Aesculus hippocastanum 2 specs.
    Acer campestre 2 specs.
    Acer pseudoplatanus 5 specs.
    Carpinus betulus 1 spec.
    Quercus robur 6 specs
    Tilia x europaea 11 specs.

    (South edge of walled area)
    Acer pseudoplatanus 4 specs.
    Aesculus hippocastanum 2 specs.
    Fagus sylvatica 10-20 specs.
    Fraxinus excelsior 1 spec.
    Quercus robur 10-20 specs.
    Tilia x europaea 10-20 specs.

    (East edge of walled area)
    Acer pseudoplatanus A few specs.
    Aesculus hippocastanum 2 specs.
    Carpinus betulus 1 spec.
    Fagus sylvatica Co-dominant species with Q. robur
    Quercus robur Co-dominant species with F. sylvatica
    Tilia sp. A few specs.
    Betula sp. In playing field building enclosure
    Platanus x hybrida Lining Aldersbrook Road

    K1/2 (Capel Road-side)
    Acer pseudoplatanus One sapling opposite 111 Capel Road
    Crataegus monogyna Roadside hedge
    Crataegus oxyacanthoides One specimen opposite 94 Capel Road
    Quercus robur Lining Road

    K3 (For islands of Alexandra Lake see I3)

    Platanus x hybrida Lining Aldersbrook Road

    Acer pseudoplatanus 2 small trees, opposite 152 and 159
    Crataegus monogyna Capel Road-side hedge
    Quercus robur Lining Capel Road

    L2 (By Capel Road-side)
    Crataegus monogyna A few specs.
    Ulmus sp. One tree stump regenerating

    (East of Alexandra Lake and elsewhere on Flats)
    Acer pseudoplatanus 2 specs.
    Betula pendula 1 spec. E. of Alexandra Lake
    Crataegus monogyna Predominant species
    Crataegus oxyacanthoides 1 spec. S.E. corner of Alexandra Lake
    Ilex aquifolium Some small bushes
    Sambucus nigra Some small trees

    (For islands of Alexandra Lake see L3)

    L3 (Alexandra Wood - north of lake)
    Acer campestre 2 specs.
    Acer platanoides
    Acer pseudoplatanus 5 specs.
    Aesculus hippocastanum 4 specs.
    Alnus glutinosa 1 spec.
    Betula sp. 2 spec. alive
    Carpinus betulus 10 specs.
    Crataegus monogyna Common
    Fagus sylvatica Most abundant species
    Ilex aquifolium A few specs.
    Pinus nigra laricio 1 spec.
    Platanus x hybrida 1 spec. in wood; rest lining road
    Quercus borealis 1 spec.
    Quercus robur 15 specs.
    Tilia x europaea 14 specs.
    Ulmus glabra 1 tree; 1 stump

    (Islands on Alexandra Lake; inc. K3 and L2)

    The islands have not been closely studied but the following species are thought to be present:
    Betula sp.
    Prunus sp.
    Quercus robur
    Salix caprea caprea

    M1 (West side of Forest Drive)
    Acer pseudoplatanus One small tree among hawthorns
    Crataegus monogyna Scattered

    M2 (West side of Forest Drive)
    Crataegus monogyna Scattered in rough grass and in wood
    Platanus x hybrida Lining Forest Drive

    (Wood west of Forest Drive)
    Acer pseudoplatanus 4 specs.
    Carpinus betulus 4 specs.
    Fagus sylvatica 1 spec.
    Pyrus communis 12 spec. by roadside
    Quercus borealis 1 specs
    Quercus robur Predominant species

    (East side of Forest Drive)
    Acer pseudoplatanus 3 specs. in W. part of wood
    Carpinus betulus 5 specs. in W. part of wood; 1 in E.
    Fagus sylvatica Co-dominant with Q. robur in wood
    Platanus x hybrida Lining Forest Drive
    Quercus borealis 1 spec. in W. part of wood
    Quercus robur Co-dominant with F. sylvatica
    Tilia x europaea 4 specs. in W. part of wood

    M3 (South side of Aldersbrook Road)
    Crataegus monogyna Scattered
    Platanus x hybrida Lining Aldersbrook Road

    Acer pseudoplatanus 2 specs.
    Crataegus monogyna Scattered
    Crataegus oxyacanthoides 2 specs.
    Malus sp. 1 or more specs.
    Platanus x hybrida Lining Forest Drive and Forest View Road; and surrounding the fenced area.
    Prunus avium 2 or 3 trees in S.W. corner of square; 2 trees in N. edge of square
    Prunus serrulata 8 specs.

    Acer pseudoplatanus Both sides of Aldersbrook Road
    Platanus x hybrida Both sides of Aldersbrook Road

    Acer pseudoplatanus 1 spec.
    Crataegus oxyacanthoides 3 specs.
    Platanus x hybrida Lining Forest View Road and Aldersbrook Road

    Appendix 1


    1 Acer campestre FIELD MAPLE
    2 Acer platanoides NORWAY MAPLE
    3 Acer pseudoplatanus SYCAMORE
    4 Aesculus x carnea RED HORSE CHESTNUT
    5 Aesculus hippocastanum HORSE CHESTNUT
    6 Betula sp. BIRCH
    7 Alnus glutinosa ALDER
    8 Carpinus betulus HORNBEAM
    9 Castanea sativa SWEET CHESTNUT
    10 Crataegus monogyna HAWTHORN
    11 Crataegus oxyacanthoides MIDLAND HAWTHORN
    12 Fagus sylvatica BEECH
    13 Fraxinus excelsior ASH
    14 Ilex aquifolium HOLLY
    15 Laburnum anagyroides LABURNUM
    16 Malus sp. APPLE
    17 Pinus nigra laricio CORSICAN PINE
    18 Platanus x hybrida LONDON PLANE
    19 Populus nigra 'Italica' LOMBARDY POPLAR
    20 Populus tremula ASPEN
    21 Populus x canadensis HYBRID POPLAR
    22 Pyrus communis PEAR
    23 Prunus avium WILD CHERRY
    24 Prunus serrulata JAPANESE CHERRY
    25 Quercus borealis RED OAK
    26 Quercus robur PEDUNCULATE OAK
    27 Quercus serrulata TURKEY OAK
    28 Robinia pseudoacacia LOCUST TREE
    29 Salix caprea caprea GREAT SALLOW
    30 Sambucus nigra ELDER
    31 Sorbus aria WHITEBEAM
    32 Sorbus aucuparia ROWAN
    33 Tilia cordata SMALL-LEAVED LIME
    34 Tilia x europaea COMMON LIME
    35 Ulmus glabra WYCH ELM
    36 Ulmus procera ENGLISH ELM


  • Wanstead Park - Plant List - Part 1

    Wanstead Park - Plant List - Part 1

    In "Stace" the numbers indicate the page number of the plant in Stace 2nd Edition

    In "Location", letters and figures relate to a grid used for recording purposes.

    HP = Heronry Pond; OW = Ornamental Water; PP = Perch Pond; SOM = Shoulder of Mutton Pond

    Reords in brackets are historical records, as follows:

    CC = Epping Forest Conservation Centre

    EF = Flora of Essex (Jermyn)

    L1941 = Recorded by Gulielma Lister in her paper of 1941 (see here)

    PEM = Passmore Edwards Museum


    For Part 2 - click here

    For Part 3- click here

    For Map -   click here

    Stace Species Common Name Location
    Equisetum arvense
    N8, by  south bank of the Canal on 29/05/2010
    Pteridium aquilinum
    N8 Bund; I6, a small amount by house fence, rear of Woodlands Ave, 1997; by Ornamental Waters below Warren Wood, 2007
    Phyllitus scolopendrium
    M6 on the brickwork of the Dell Bridge, 27 June 2007; 2 plants in 2008; Rear wall of house in Woodlands Ave. Wayleave 08/12/2008
    24 Asplenum adiantum-nigrum Black Spleenwort (P) I6 Woodlands Ave. wayleave. On the damp garden wall of a house. 08/12/2008. Wall later renovated and plant no longer present.
    Dryopteris filix-mas
    K7/L7 Chalet Wood 27/07/96; K8 K9 L8 L9, M6 east side of Dell Bridge, 09/08/96
    Dryopteris dilatata
    K7; L7 Chalet Wood; M6 east side of Dell Bridge, and near the pump inlet 27/07/96 (CP: E2, two plants in Warren Wood by fence)
    Azolla filiculoides
    N8 M9 Ornamental Waters 01/01/85; Again in OW starting from a patch by the Dell Bridge in June 1995; not present in 1996; a small amount in OW on 21/5/2009
    Larix decidua
    K/L/8/9, east side of "loop" patch off gravel track in Warren Wood, 03/03/2013
    Cedrus libani
    M8 by OW; mature on Edwardian postcards; still present 2013
    Sequoiadendron giganteum
    L7 a small planted tree on The Plain. Still present 27/07/96 and in 2013
    Taxus baccata
    L7 L8; Notably in Warren Wood and by Grotto. About a dozen trees between the glade and the Temple. Present 27/07/96 (L.1941)
    Nymphaea alba
    N7 west side of OW southern arm, 09/08/81-2012 (L.1941)
    Nuphar lutea
    M8 opposite the Grotto and on opposite bank of Canal; OW in M7,N7,N8, in 1996; introduced into Perch Pond L6, M6 in April 1996. (L.1941)
    Ceratophyllum demersum
    L10 Ornamental Waters near the pump house 31/07/77; N6 OW 27/07/96, 2008 (L.1941)
    Anemone nemorosa
    K8 patches along S. edge of track to lodges; K/L9 at north end of Warren Wood; by 1996 had increased tremendously over the last ten years - now to be found either side of the main footpath, and east; L8/9 edge of Warren Wood (L.1941) (CC: 414875)
    Ranunculus bulbosus
    N7 Bund 1977; L7, 14/08/93 (L.1941)
    Ranunculus acris
    K8 (L.1941)
    Ranunculus repens
    N7 Bund 91; L8 in Glade 2008 (L.1941)
    Ranunculus lingua
    Greater Spearwort
    I7 J6 SOM 1980/1981
    Ranunculus sceleratus
    M6 east end Perch Pond, until 15/08/96; N7 W. bank of OW; (L.1941) (CP: Bund)
    Ranunculus ficaria
    Common in Park including N7 Bund, K9 top of Glade (L.1941)
    Ranunculus peltatus
    Covering much of Heronry Pond from 06/05/77. Again 04/05/78. L6, a small amount at west end of Perch Pond at south edge of the peninsular 01/06/81; J6/K6/L6 plentiful in June 1996 in HP; M6 a small amount at SE edge of Perch Pond 09/08/96; Plentiful in various ares of Heronry Pond in 2010
    Aquilegia spp.
    Particularly by southern arm of Ornamental Waters (2006)
    Mahonia aquifolium
    L7 planted as part of Temple hedge 08/04/77, now gone. M6 just outside park fence by Perch Pond 16/04/79; still present and stems intruding into Park in 1996-2010; I7 by golf-course fence 2009 (EF: 48 Wanstead Park)
    Papaver somniferum
    Opium Poppy
    L7 disturbed ground (trench) 19/07/81
    Papaver rhoeas
    Common Poppy
    L7 disturbed ground (trench) 19/07/81. L7 on disturbed ground, 14/08/93. (CP: by Northumberland Ave. in 1979)
    Fumaria officinalis
    L7 Disturbed ground (trench) 19/07/81; L7 west side of the path leading from the kiosk to keeper's Lodge 1995-96; L6 disturbed ground (flower beds) by kiosk - ssp. Wirtgenii on 27/07/96 (CC: Reservoir Wood area, E. Lloyd)
    Platanus x hispanica
    N7 Bund; seedling by OW 30/05/06; some mature specimens particularly by tracks parallel with the Roding. (L.1941)
    Ulmus glabra
    N6 a small tree 27/09/80; N7 just south of the Bund 04/07/76 - 08/06/91 (L.1941)
    Ulmus procera
    J6 & K6 by Northumberland Avenue; N7 south of the Bund 04/07/76
    Ulmus minor ssp. minor
    p. a small tree by park fence next to Warren Road track, 10/05/2010, severely pruned in 2012; N6 between OW and Sewage works (check species) (Hanson 1990, TQ413873 - this is probably the same tree)
    Cannabis sativa
    N7/8 Bund about 10 plants (probably planted) within pylon surround 23/10/79; N7/8 two planted specimens just east of pylon in Bund, July 1995
    Urtica dioica
    N7 N8 Bund (L.1941)
    Juglans regia
    I7 two trees in poor condition between SOM. and Heronry Pond in 1981; only one tree remained in January 1992; this was dead by 1995; L/M8 a young tree by OW 1995; L8/9 a young tree by OW opp cutting between Islands 1995
    Fagus sylvatica
    L6 a fine stand near park fence (L.1941)
    Castanea sativa
    J6, 22/03/93 first plantings of the new double avenue across the northern edge of the Plain towards the Temple (G.1862: "Near Wanstead Park", JF.) (L.1941)
    Quercus cerris
    N7 main track near east edge of Bund
    Quercus ilex
    M6 one small tree by edge of Perch Pond among other plants (CC: Near OW, E Lloyd)
    Quercus petraea
    L7 a tree at extreme west end of old tree avenue across eastern side of Plain, near the Temple gardens; by Perch Pond; M/N7 a small tree by woody track at edge of Plain and Grove near the Temple Gardens. N7 - The Repton Oak, in Reservoir Wood, actually a group of about ten oaks planted after 1812. (L.1941)
    Quercus robur
    Various locations throughout the Park (L.1941)
    123 Quercus rubra Red Oak
    (p: L7 a tree at west edge of Temple enclosure; cut down in 1996)
    Betula pendula
    N8 Bund 1991 (L.1941)
    Betula x aurata
    Hybrid Birch
    L6 peninsula at west end of Perch Pond
    Betula pubescens
    L6 peninsula at west end of Perch Pond; Reservoir Wood
    Alnus glutinosa
    M6 In Dell and by Perch Pond (L.1941)
    Carpinus betulus
    Scattered through the park (L.1941)
    Corylus avellana
    N6 north edge of OW (1994-96); I6 a shrubby sapling edge of wood south of SOM 27/10/96
    Chenopodium rubrum
    Red Goosefoot
    A record from "by the Ornamental Waters - not in flower, 24/07/76"; in dried bed of Heronry Pond, 04/09/97 (L.1941)
    Chenopodium polyspermum
    Many-seeded Goosefoot
    M9, In disturbed ground, River Wood area, 19/11/8?; L7, disturbed ground 14/08/93 (L.1941)
    Chenopodium album
    L7, disturbed ground, 14/08/93 (L.1941) (CP: bed of OW when dry)
    Atriplex prostrata
    Spear-leaved Orache
    Banks of Ornamental Water 24/07/76; I6 edge of Shoulder of Mutton; L7, disturbed ground, 14/08/93 (L.1941)
    Atriplex patula
    Amaranthus spp.
    N7 a number of plants in new soil laid to edge east bank of OW 13/09/98
    Arenaria serpyllifolia ssp. leptoclados
    Lesser Thyme-leaved Sandwort
    L7, on disturbed ground of path leading towards Temple from south gate, 08/81
    Moehringia trinervia
    K7 in S.W. corner of Chalet Wood; L7 In Chalet Wood, a few yards SW of Sweet Chestnut, 05/81; L/M8 in wood by path east of mount, May 1995; Chalet Wood 07/05/2000 (L.1941)
    Stellaria media
    Common (L.1941)
    Stellaria graminea
    K8 N7 I6 J6 (PEM: JF 1838) (L.1941)
    Cerastium glomeratum
    L/M7 in disturbed ground east of Keepers lodges, 05/05/2010 (L.1941)
    Cerastium fontanum ssp. holosteoides
    Common Mouse-ear
    L6; N7 south end of Bund 10/05/77 (L.1941) (CP:K9  common)
    Myosoton aquaticum
    Water Chickweed
    N7 West bank of Roding 27/09/80; N8 O8 ditch around Whiskers Island 14/08/77; casual introduction at base of Sweet Chestnut plantings on Plain, 05/08/93 (L.1941)
    Sagina procumbens
    Concrete banks of Heronry Pond 12/06/77; banks of Heronry Pond, 10/07/08 (L.1941)
    Spergula arvensis
    Corn Spurrey
    L7 on track from south gate to Temple, on disturbed ground, 19/07/81 (CP: Bund and O.W. areas)
    Spergularia rubra
    L6, bank of Heronry Pond near Kiosk; elsewhere on tracks around the Plain
    Silene vulgaris
    Bladder Campion
    H/I6 A small patch growing right by garage at rear of Woodlands Ave; 25/06/95
    Silene latifolia
    East edge of Bund 24/05/77; J6 by Northumberland Ave. 04/05/81
    Silene dioica
    Common in woodland. N8 Bund 1991; L8 near mound 1996 (L.1941)
    Silene x hampeana
    Pink Hybrid Campion
    Saponaria officinalis
    I6 by houses in Reservoir Wood 03/09/79; I6, rear of Woodlands Avenue, 31/07/08
    Persicaria amphibia
    K7 in Heronry Pond between Island and bank; and generally distributed round banks; M6 east bank of Perch Pond 27/07/96 (L.1941)
    Persicaria maculosa
    Plentiful around lake-sides; L7, disturbed ground, 14/08/93; I6, I7 at west end of SOM 15/08/96 (L.1941)
    Persicaria lapathifolia
    Pale Persicaria
    H6 Reservoir Wood stream; K8 Warren Wood 31/7/80; N7 Bund 12/6/79 (L.1941)
    Persicaria hydropiper
    I6,I7 plentiful by S.O.M., 15/08/96; N8 Bund; banks of O.W.; east end of Heronry Pond 31/07/08 (L.1941)
    Polygonum aviculare
    L7, disturbed ground, 14/08/93; common on pathways etc. (L.1941)
    Polygonum arenastrum
    Small-leaved Knotgrass
    O7 east bank of Roding
    Rumex acetosellasubsp. acetosella
    K8 K9 Plain; N7 Bund area 1977 (L.1941)
    Rumex acetosasubsp. acetosa
    K6 by Northumberland Ave; K7 park at bottom of Warren Road, east end of the Plain, 2008 (L.1941)
    Rumex conglomeratus
    Clustered Dock
    K8 Warren Road; K9 by side of path; N7 Bund 13/06/77 (L.1941)
    Rumex crispus
    N8 Bund, by Heronry Pond and elsewhere (L.1941)
    Rumex sanguineus
    Red-veined Dock
    M6 extreme S.W. corner of Perch Pond 05/07/81 (L.1941)
    Rumex obtusifolius
    N6/7 by Roding river-bank 10/05/77 (L.1941)
    Rumex palustris
    I7 edge of SOM pond; I7, J6, K6 around edge of Heronry Pond 09/08/80;M6 E. end of Perch Pond 27/07/96; in dried bed of Heronry Pond 04/09/97 (G.1862, "Basin in Wanstead Park", F.) (EF: 40-87 Wanstead Park, J.)
    Hypericum perforatum
    Perforate St. John's Wort
    M8/9 east bank of Roding near allotments
    Tilia x euchlora
    A few trees by the Ornamental Waters below Warren Wood
    Tilia x europaea(vulgaris)
    Uncommon, in various locations
    Malva sylvestris
    N8 Bund in 1991
    Alcea rosea
    J6 by Northumberland Ave. July 92; L6 in small flower bed south of kiosk, probably planted, May 1995
    Viola sp.
    Garden Pansy
    One plant found in grass at North edge of Perch Pond, 1/6/77; L7 inside main gate of keeper's lodge, 23/08/81
    Viola odorata
    L9/10 a small patch in open woodland near OW 04/04/94; two patches L9/10 on 20/03/97; a large patch in Chalet Wood 30/03/09
    Viola riviniana
    L8 North edge of Glade; L9/10, a small patch in open woodland near OW, 04/04/94
    Viola arvensis
    Field Pansy
    This record was included in published survey but may refer to Viola sp. (Garden Pansy) found on 23/08/81 - see Viola sp.; 05/08/93, casual intro. with chestnut plantings on Plain, L7. Many here on 06/06/98 (CP: L7 Keeper's Lodge gardens, 11/06/78).
    Bryonia dioica
    L6 Dell 27/5/80
    Populus x canescens
    L7 in Chalet Wood 27/07/96 (G.1862: Wanstead, F.)
    Populus x canadensis
    I7, a tree near Reservoir Wood at west edge of Shoulder of Mutton pond, var. "serotina"
    Populus x jackii
    I6 some trees near to the Woodlands Avenue track. Considerable damage to these occurred during the high winds of 1987 (EF: "48 Wanstead Park, also border edge by playing fields")
    Salix alba
    White Willow
    N7, Bund, one tree just north of pylon enclosure. (L.1941)
    Salix fragilis
    Crack Willow
    I6, J6 two by Heronry Pond; K6 by S.O.M.; L6 by Perch Pond (L.1941)
    Salix caprea ssp. caprea
    Great Sallow
    N7 N8 Bund 1980
    Salix cinerea subsp. atrocinerea
    Common Sallow
    J6 by Heronry Pond; L7 in hollow south of keepers lodges 19/07/81; N7, N8 many trees in Bund
    Sisymbrium officinale
    Hedge Mustard
    J6/K6 by Northumberland Ave 05/04/81; K8 Warren Wood (CP); L7 disturbed ground 19/07/81; Roding banks 18/06/76; N7 Bund 01/06/77 (L.1941)
    Alliaria petiolata
    Garlic Mustard
    Common, particularly on banks of Roding (L.1941)
    Barbarea vulgaris
    Common Winter Cress
    1975; Bund 02/05/77; L7 W. side of Chalet Wood near ditch 24/05/81 (L.1941)
    Rorippa nasturtium-aquaticum
    N6 east bank of Roding near bridge, still present 29/06/96
    Rorippa microphylla
    One-rowed Watercress
    At west end of Perch Pond on 21/04/09; may be the common watercress in Wanstead Park
    Rorippa amphibia
    Great Yellow-cress
    N6 bank of OW near the Dell 01/06/77; also in 1979; by western peninsular of Perch Pond, also along S. edge in July 1992 - seems to be flourishing (L.1941) (EF. 41-87/8 Wanstead Park, R. Roding; J. (CS);
    Rorippa palustris
    Marsh Yellow-cress
    J6 J7 west end of Heronry Pond 12/06/77 - 09/08/80 (L.1941)
    Rorippa sylvestris
    Creeping Yellow-cress
    J7 W. end of Heronry Pond 31/5/81; M6 east end of Perch Pond 27/07/77; N7 Bund; by OW.; (some plants from HP were transferred to SOM I6 on 23/03/81. Preceding the proposed re-lining of Heronry Pond (L.1941) (EF: 41-87, by lake CS)
    Armoracia rusticana
    L7 by rear of Temple enclosure 19/07/81
    Cardamine pratensis
    K9 Warren Wood near Golf course 29/04/91; N7 banks of OW 02/05/77 - 05/91, 05/95; L8/9 opposite the channel between Rook Island and Lincoln Island by OW, May 1995-1996 (L.1941)
    Cardamine flexuosa
    H6 by stream in Reservoir Wood 08/04/09
    Cardamine hirsuta
    Hairy Bitter-cress
    K9 near gate to Golf course 02/04/77; N8 Bund 1991
    Lunaria annua
    I6 near houses 08/05/79; J6 by Northumberland Ave. 08/04/77; M7 in the Grove near the Grotto 29/04/79
    Lobularia maritima
    Sweet Alison
    H6 by house fence 03/09/79
    Capsella bursa-pastoris
    N8 Bund; disturbed ground and path edges elsewhere. (L.1941)
    Thlaspi arvense
    Common Field Pennycress
    N7 a plant in new soil laid at east bank of OW 13/09/98
    Lepidium draba
    N7 or N8 Bund 16/05/77; K6 by Northumberland Avenue
    Coronopus didymus
    05/08/93, casual introduction at base of chestnut plantings on Plain, L7; Disturbed ground to east of keepers lodges 10/05/2010
    Brassica oleracea
    Roding bank 18/06/76; Dell 08/04/77
    Brassica rapa ssp. campestris
    L/M4 Roding Bank 01/06/81 var. sylvestris (Bargeman's Cabbage)
    Raphanus raphanistrum ssp. raphanistrum
    A plant in disturbed soil SE of Kiosk, 21/05/2008
    Reseda luteola
    L/M8, two plants at north edge of Glade 02/06/96; L6 one plant by track North of Perch Pond near kiosk 04/08/96
    Rhododendron ponticum
    L8, Warren Wood; M7 N7 the Grove (L.1941) (EF: Wanstead Park)
    296 Primula vulgaris Primrose One clump, with about 20 flowers, at the south edge of the Canal, on 14/04/2019
    Primula veris
    M/N8, a single plant near the canal on 08/05/2007 - still present on 14/04/ 2019
    Cyclamen hederifolium
    M8 in open woodland just N.E. of path, opp. Engine House Island 09/95 - in leaf and flower 05/10/95; N6 south side of the weir of the OW 13/09/98
    Lysimachia vulgaris
    L6 west end of Perch Pond, 09/08/80 - 09/08/96; M6 in Dell; south edge and east end of Perch Pond 09/08/96; M/N7 banks of lake near Grotto (G.1862: Wanstead, WL) (L.1941)
    Lysimachia punctata
    Dotted Loosestrife
    H6 in Reservoir Wood near to SOM 25/07/77 (EF: 48 Wanstead Park, naturalised by lake; J.)
    Anagallis arvensis
    L7 on freshly dug ground (pipe laying) S.W. of Temple 19/07/81; L7 disturbed ground 14/08/93; July 1996; June 1998 at base of sweet chestnuts; L/M7, east of Lodge grounds 19/07/07 (L.1941) (L8 or L9, by OW at edge of Warren Wood. CP)
    Philadelphus coronarius
    M7 a specimen near the Grotto 07/09/79, in flower 03/06/81; cut down in June 2002, but has since regenerated. In flower in 2007-2010
    Ribes sanguineum
    I6 by garden fence Woodlands Avenue wayleave, 13/04/2010
    Ribes alpinum?
    Mountain Currant?
    M8, M9 by path bordering OW, 18/04/93
    Crassula helmsii
    New Zealand Pigmyweed
    J6,K6,K7 in Heronry Pond July 1996
    Filipendula ulmaria
    M8/9 bank of O.W. 31/7/77; N7 Bund 05/07/81; N8 Bund (L.1941)
    Rubus idaeus
    K8 by track in Warren Wood; N8 Bund 12/08/79 + by track opp. Rook Island
    Rubus sect. Glandulosus
    N7 + N8 Bund 1980 (G.1862, R. rubiginosa F) (L.1941, R. caesius, R. ulmifolius)
    Rubus laciniatus
    G6 near Blake Hall Road; H6 bank of stream; H7 Reservoir Wood 27/1 0/96; K9 near Golf Course fence; L6 west end of Perch Pond, near kiosk; N8 in Bund; east bank of Roding 08/07/08
    Potentilla erecta
    K8 top of Glade 01/08/77 (L.1941)
    Potentilla reptans
    N7 Bund 19/07/81-1991; K8, top of Glade, 19/06/2010 (L.1941)
    Geum urbanum
    Bund N7 N8 91 (L.1941)
    Rosa sp.
    K/L8, long-established near top of Glade on south side
    Rosa arvensis
    Field Rose
    M9 Roding bank
    Rosa canina
    N7 Bund, N8 by canal 07/06/81 (L.1941)
    Prunus spinosa
    K7 on island of Heronry Pond (L.1941)
    Prunus domesticasubsp. domestica
    N6 at least two shrubby trees on either side of the bridge at west end of OW; M8 a tree by path by OW 18/04/93
    Prunus avium
    L9 by OW; M6 south side of Dell; M6 a few trees at E. end of Perch Pond; M8 a few trees on Rook Island; N7 by OW; N8 Bund 1991
    Prunus padus
    N8 a shrub near west end of Canal, slightly to the south by main track 29/04/81- cut down prior to 2004; two trees north of Canal on bank of Roding, 24/05/81 (CC: River Wood area, E. Lloyd)
    Prunus laurocerasus
    L6, planted, near Kiosk
    Chaenomeles speciosa
    K8/9, Warren Road track, west side. 20/03/93 in flower. Edge of River Wood near OW, 12/03/07
    Malus sp.
    J6 west end of Heronry Pond; K7 in Park near bottom of Warren Rd. track.; N6 on embankment near entrance to SW opp. Dell Bridge (Crab) 09/01/05
    Pyrus communis
    H6 a single twisted tree on a mound in Reservoir Wood; H/I7; N7 north edge of grass area in Bund 1991, 2004
    Sorbus aucuparia
    H7 an 18in. sapling near golf course fence in Reservoir Wood 18/08/80; L9 sapling in Warren Wood at edge of path above OW, 01/09/80; N6, O6
    Sorbus intermediaagg.
    N8 Bund, a sturdy sapling in N.E. corner of H7 in grassland; M6 north edge of Dell, 08/07/0; a mature tree at edge of copse in I7, Aug 2011
    Sorbus aria
    N6; N8 Bund 1991
    Cotoneaster integrifolius
    Small-Leaved Cotoneaster ?
    N7/8 In the Bund, well established and flowering on 23/05/81
    Cotoneaster horizontals
    L/M8 at the S. side of the Glade, 09/06/2008
    Crataegus coccinioides
    N7 two trees by edge of OW 19/11/80, since cut down; one regenerated well - in fruit 30/09/95; single tree north edge of east end of Canal in 1980 also cut down; M/N7, a good tree S. of the Dell Bridge 1992-2007. L10 S. of Pump House
    Crataegus monogyna
    Common, including N7 Bund 91 (L.1941)
    Crataegus x media
    N7/8, edge of Bund area, opposite Grotto
    Crataegus laevigata
    N8, a fine specimen near Bund, halfway along Canal, 2006 (L.1941)
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