Middlesex Filter Beds 

 

Middlesex Filter Beds is a ten acre haven for wildlife and a short walk from the WaterWorks nature reserve. Just off the Lea Bridge Road it as suffered from drying out and a new project seeks to restore the wetland site to a biodiversity hot spot once again. 

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History of the site 

Middlesex Filter Beds were built by the East London Water Works Company in the mid 1800’s they demonstrate how previously industrial areas can become valuable habitats for wildlife. 

 

The filter beds also boast Paula Haughney’s monumental Nature’s Throne, made from huge granite blocks salvaged from an old engine house. 

 

With a variety of habitats the filter beds provide interesting wildlife throughout the year. The brickwork of the old bed walls provides shelter for a range of wildlife. There are good bird populations and more than 200 plant species have been recorded. 

 

The site has suffered from vandalism and theft including the generators which kept water in the beds to create the wetland habitat. This has been detrimental to the habitat which has dried out over the last ten years. 

 

A project has been developed to provide a solution to get water into the filter beds by drawing water from the river through a valve system which will be able to be controlled and keep the site wet without the use of generators. 

Proposals 

The project will undertake the following: 

  • Install a system to draw water from the River Lea 

  • Through valves installed in the centre of the site provide water to the filter beds. 

  • Clear scrub and invasive vegetation to enable regeneration of the reedbed habitat. 

  • Some extra tree planting around the edge of the site to protect the restored filter beds. 

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Funding for this project will come from Capital Reserves of the Authority and should be delivered over the winter or 2022/23. 

  

Head of Projects and Funding Delivery Lee Valley Regional Park Authority said: 

We are delighted that a solution has at long last been found to bring water back onto the filter beds which will bring the site back to its full biodiversity potential.” 

If you would like any further information or would like to comment on this project you can contact the Head of Projects on lvprojects@leevalleypark.org.uk.

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