Beddington Farmlands come alive as wildlife winter wonderland

Teal flying over the wetlands at Beddington. Photos by Peter Alfrey

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.

It’s beginning to feel a lot like Christmas at Beddington Farmlands. One of the many robins spotted by Peter Alfrey this week

A green woodpecker

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.

Reed buntings enjoy the food provided by sun flowers and reeds planted in the Farmlands

“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.

Beddington Farmlands is an important area for wildlife and is classified a Site of Importance for Nature Conservation and Metropolitan Open Land (equivalent of Green Belt within an urban area).

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.

The Beddington incinerator towers over one of the lakes at the Farmlands

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).

Foxes are active in broad daylight around Beddington Farmlands

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.

For more information about Beddington Farmlands, visit the website here.

And check out Peter Alfrey’s Non-Stop Birding blog here.

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1 Response to Beddington Farmlands come alive as wildlife winter wonderland

  1. Lewis White says:

    The photo in the article of a wetalnd with the incinerator behind reminds me of a hope that all the political parties come together in the new Parliament to pledge to maximise the UK’s capacity to recycle, reduce production of waste , particularly non recyclable plastics and composites, and within 25 years, get rid of incinerators in London and within close proximity to other conurbations in the UK.

    I really wish that instead of an incinerator, each of the the SW London boroughs had been forced by Government to have their own rail siding and waste sorting and recycling site, with the residue of burnable waste going off by train to Drax or another power station away from major towns.

    Air quality is key to health. Having got rid of smog in the 60’s , got rid of lead in petrol in Jan 2000, after a decision to ban it in the 80’s, it is unforgiveable that governmental denial about the true nature of the pollution from incineration has led to the Beddington Incinerator being built.
    Let’s hope that it is a dinosaur heading for extinction within our lifetimes.

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