Woodberry Wetlands Blog

December 2019

Down at the Reservoir

The latest news and upcoming events from Woodberry Wetlands.

Welcome to the brand new monthly newsletter & blog from the Woodberry Wetlands team.

Expect reservoir updates on events, wildlife, outdoor learning, volunteering and general chit chat from the wonderful place that is Woodberry Wetlands.


Winter opening times

The site opening times are now:

East entrance (New River Studio gate): 9am-4pm

Green gate: 9am – 4pm

West entrance (Coal House gate) and boardwalk: 9am – 4:30pm

Coal House Cafe: 9am-4pm (kitchen closes 3:30pm)

Christmas opening times

24th Dec: Open (3pm close)

25th and 26th: Closed

27th, 28th, 29th, 30th, 31st Dec and 1st Jan: Open (10am opening)

The Coal House Cafe will be running a reduced menu during this time.

2nd Jan onwards: Open usual time.



For all the latest updates on wildlife at Woodberry Wetlands please click here.

For a more general overview of Woodberry Wetlands’ diverse species, please click here.


Woodberry Wetlands: introducing our new insect hotel!

Written by Bonnie Hilton

Woodberry Wetlands provides sanctuary for a great diversity of wildlife species including important pollinating species such as bees, butterflies and many other insects, as well as six species of bat. The wellbeing of pollinators and humans are very closely linked. We rely on bees for many things, from crops, medicine, biofuels and water quality, to climate regulation and the quality of natural open spaces which we all love to enjoy! There are many ways to attract beneficial insects to the area such as planting a range of flowering plants, or even more exciting, building your very own insect hotel.

Solitary bees are incredibly important as they are responsible for roughly one third of the food we eat. Impressively, they can also perform the work of 100 honey bees! However, solitary bee populations have been declining due to the loss of suitable habitats. The good news is the volunteers at Woodberry Wetlands have recently built a rather large insect hotel on site, with an aim to encourage the growth of many beneficial insect populations, including solitary bees by providing great nesting sites. An artificial nesting site like this can be made easily at home to any level of design by anyone including you!  Watch Chris Packham pay a visit to our insect hotel here.

The good news is we can make our own artificial nesting sites known as insect hotels, which can encourage the growth of many beneficial insect populations as well as solitary bees. The volunteers at Woodberry Wetlands have recently built a rather large insect hotel on site, with an aim to encourage these pollinating insects.

Insect hotels can be made by anyone and can be as easy or as difficult as you mean them to be. But overall, they are a fun task for everybody, adults and children included. All you need is a trip to the local garden center, or even a browse on amazon, to get a few key components for your insect hotel.

You will need;

  1. Off cut pieces of wood/pallets
  2. Nails
  3. Drill
  4. Saw
  5. Bamboo sticks
  6. Sticks/straw/hay
  7. Chunks of untreated hardwood or logs

How to construct your insect hotel;

  1. Build a sturdy structure, with a strong base and a waterproof top, use the off-cut pieces of wood/pallets, saw nails and drill to make your perfect shape and size.
  2. Use your drill to part way drill into your chunks of hardwood or logs.
  3. Fill up your structure with these logs, and surround them with hollow bamboo sticks, to keep this in place fill the gaps with sticks/straw/hay, or any other natural objects you can find in your garden or local outside areas.
  4. Place you very own insect hotel in the best south facing, wind protected spot you can find in your garden, and enjoy watching your bees and other insects thrive the home you have made.

Alternatively, you can opt for the slightly less labor-intensive option, and use a plastic bottle for the structure. The bottle top can be cut away, and the sharp edges secured with duct tape, before filling the bottle with hollow bamboo canes and sticks, which have been cut to size with a saw/knife. To complete thread some string through the bottle, to hang the insect hotel in your chosen spot in the garden.



Our volunteers are the force that helps us achieve the essential conservation work needed to manage our nature reserve; hardworking, committed, reliable and passionate about wildlife and nature are all things that can be said about the volunteers. Since the opening of Woodberry Wetlands in 2016, and even before, a lot of them have been offering their time and effort while away from their homes to help in the maintenance of the site and preservation of London’s wildlife. The time spent working together creates bonds and allows for sharing ideas and life experiences with each other which in many cases blossomed into strong friendships. As a charity, London Wildlife Trust would not be able to achieve the bulk of the practical conservation work without the help offered by the volunteers, so, to every single one of them, we say thank you very much. As well as practical conservation volunteers, we’re also looking for outdoor learning volunteers to help with any of the sessions listed in the Outdoor Learning section of the newsletter. No experience needed, just lots of enthusiasm! If you are interested in volunteering at Woodberry Wetland please email: volunteering@woodberrywetlands.org.uk


Outdoor Learning

At Woodberry Wetlands we engage with younger members of the community and their families through our Outdoor Learning programme. We offer curriculum linked school visits throughout the year; even in the colder months pupils can enjoy exploring in nature and observe the change of seasons. To encourage school groups to get outside in winter we’re offering 30% off school visits in November-January. For more information click here.

We cater for under 5’s with our weekly Nature Tots Forest School programme where younger children explore the nature reserve every week with their parents/carers. Children have hands-on experiences with wildlife, holding minibeasts such as worms, slugs and snails and looking in the pond to see what they can discover. Children develop their confidence and connection with nature. Nature Tots runs on Wednesday and Thursday mornings during term time. For more information click here.

We also hold free fun family learning activities throughout the year for all the community. Our Wonderful Wildlife Weekend sessions happen every Saturday. From 10.00am-12.00pm, join us by the Education Ponds to explore different habitats to discover the smaller wildlife living at Woodberry Wetlands. From 1.00pm-3.00pm, meet by the Coal House café for an afternoon of nature themed crafts. These sessions are drop-in and suitable for all ages. Children must be accompanied by an adult at all times.

In the school holidays we also have a variety of weekday activities for families. Sessions will be displayed on our notice boards around the Wetlands and in the Coal House café. Over the Christmas period we’ll have drop-in Wildlife Discovery activities on Friday 27th and Tuesday 31stDecember and Wednesday 1st January, all 11.00am-1.00pm and 2.00pm-3.30pm by the Education Ponds. For more information on all our family learning activities see here.



The Coal House

Our Spring season of ticketed events will begin again in February 2020, including our live music event Sunset Sounds.
Check back on our here early in the new year!

All profits from the events we run at Woodberry Wetlands are invested into London Wildlife Trust’s conservation work and the ongoing care of its nature reserves.

The New River Studio

Located at the East Gate entrance to Woodberry Wetlands, the New River Studio is a completely private and self-contained facility which may be hired during the day during the reserve’s opening hours. Featuring reconfigurable tables and chairs, A/V facilities, WiFi, kitchenette, toilets and a sizable private garden, the studio makes the perfect location for a conference or team meeting. It also serves as an excellent base for children’s birthday and wildlife activity parties.

To book the New River Studio please go to our online booking page here.


Christmas Gifting

The Coal House stocks a selection of items available for purchase, products inspired by wildlife, making perfect Christmas gifts for nature lovers.
Browse for unique presents next time you visit, such a local honey and handcrafted jewellery, supporting London Wildlife Trust with each purchase.