The cold fingers of winter might be touching us as we head into November, but as local naturalist PETER ALFREY observes, the wildlife sanctuary at Beddington Farmlands is full of life
Following lots of rain and the recent habitat improvements carried out by Viridor, Beddington Farmlands has been transformed into a huge wetland with more than 200 teal on 100 acre lake this week.
There were at least 60 bird species counted, including robins, stonechats, green woodpecker, reed bunting, and the teal.
There’s also the ringed parakeets that flock together and come in to roost overnight.
Also, at least five foxes.
Beddington Farmlands is a 400-acre site in the coreland of the wider Wandle Valley Regional Park.
Together with the adjacent green spaces of Beddington Park and Mitcham Common, Beddington Farmlands forms one of the largest contiguous green spaces in south London.
“It’s the ‘sleeping giant’ of London’s natural history world,” according to David Lindo, the BBC wildlife broadcaster.
Much of the area was previously used for landfill but slowly, the habitat is being improved and made more attractive for birds and other wildlife.
The site is being restored into a mosaic of important habitats for wildlife ahead of the development of a flagship nature reserve for people and nature.
A bird group keeps a record of the sightings that they make, and now, gradually, the site is opening up for public access.
A permitted footpath runs south from Mitcham Common along the western edge of Beddington Farmlands to Beddington Park to the south, and allows restricted viewing over the North Lake.
The footpath can be accessed in the north from the A237 just south of the Mitcham Junction Tram stop, in the south at Beddington Park in Hackbridge (near the park entrance, opposite Elmwood Close), and also from Mile Road Bridge in Hackbridge (near Furlong Close).
The closest entrance to the North Lake is Mile Road Bridge. To view the North Lake, walk northwards from the bridge until the lake appears on your right.
Parking at Hackbridge is limited but available at Hackbridge railway station.
Trains runs between London Victoria and Sutton every 30 mins, stopping at Hackbridge. The London Tramlink runs from Wimbledon to New Addington.
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