Places to see birds

Wandle Park, Croydon

Wandle Park, Croydon
John Birkett

Wandle Park in Croydon lies close to the town centre and is bounded on two sides by the tram line and on another by the Factory Lane industrial estate.
There is a very small car park accessible from Cornwall Road and pedestrian access from Wandle Park tram stop and also over a footbridge from Waddon New Road. Travelling by public transport is best achieved by tram and several buses stop along Waddon New Road.
The park was formed on 21 acres (8.5 hectares) of marshy land, formerly Frog Mead and Stubbs Mead, and was originally opened in 1890. It had a boating lake (with an artificial island) that was to have been fed by the River Wandle from which the park gets its name, but became filled naturally with ground water while under construction. The lake was extended subsequently although it was subject to drying out from time to time. In the 1960s the river was diverted into an underground culvert and the lake and river course were filled in.
In 2010 work began to reinstate the river above ground and to form a new pond (albeit much smaller than the original lake) and the new park was reopened in 2012. As well as the pond and river, there is a large grassy area with some trees, shrubs and a small formal garden providing a mix of habitats.
The river and pond have attracted various water birds with moorhens and grey wagtails now breeding and various wildfowl visiting. Recent visitors (especially during the 'Beast from the East' in early 2018) have included snipe, jack snipe, green sandpiper, lapwing, skylark, whinchat and stonechat.