The Walthamstow Marshes have always been a place for Londoners to go and pretend they live in the actual countryside, and now the illusion is about to get even better. Walthamstow Reservoir has been undergoing a £8.7M redevelopment project since 2012, and now it finally has a launch date. Drum roll, please: Walthamstow Wetlands will be open to the public on Friday October 20.
Made up of ten reservoirs, the 211 hectare site will form the largest urban wetland in Europe. It's going to be a prime wildlife-spotting site, particularly for swans, kestrels and geese – though it should be noted that dogs are not permitted on the site in order to protect the wildlife. E17's industrial history gives the area an unusual aesthetic, with old metal works and gunpowder mills that sit against backdrop of fecund green spaces.
As part of the redevelopment, the onsite Marine Engine House (built in 1894) has been completely restored, chimney and all, to serve as a visitor centre, café and education space. Extensive planting work means there will be a lot more to look at too: goodbye untamed grass, hello rare flower breeds. It'll be a place to fish, spy, walk, and go on smug couple runs. No need to escape to the countryside, it's all here.
See it for yourself from Friday October 20
Need another escape? Try these 21 places in London that look nothing like London.