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Wandle Meadow Nature Park – History, Wildlife and Map

Wandle Meadow Nature Park was once industrial land, but is now a nature reserve in Merton. The park is part of the flood plain of the River Wandle, and one of the points along the Wandle Trail.

The mixture of habitats within the park attract a wide variety of wildlife and plants. This post has everything you need to know about Wandle Meadow Nature Park including a map, and access information.

wandle meadow nature park  - sign leading into the park
Signpost at the start of Wandle Meadow Nature Park. Photograph by Olivia Herlihy

Wandle Meadow Nature Park

A photograph of Wandle Meadow Nature Park

History of Wandle Meadow Nature Park

A tithe map from 1847 showed that the area of Wandow Meadow Nature Park was once called Byegrove Mead. In the map below, which is from 1865, you can see the area which is just above Byegrove Cottage and Byegrove House.

Map of Byegrove Mead in 1865
Map of Byegrove Mead in 1865

The park went on to become a sewage works before being turned into a nature reserve in the late 1980s. In 1986 there had been plans to use the land to build a stadium for Wimbledon Football Club, but these plans were abolished after strong opposition from local residents.

The table below shows the history of Wandle Meadow Nature Park from 1847 until today.

Year History of Wandle Meadow Nature Park
1847 According to a tithe map, the area which is currently Wandle Meadow Nature Park was named “Byegrove Mead”. This land was most likely water meadows, which may have been deliberately flooded in the winter to provide the ideal land for grazing cattle and growing hay crops in the summer.
1877 The land was bought by a sewage company. Since it was right next to the river Wandle, it was the ideal location for a sewage works. The sewage works remained on the site until the 1970s.
1984 The land was sold for commercial and industrial development, but it quickly became used for motorbiking and general abuse.
1986 Merton Council approved plans to build a stadium for Wimbledon Football Club on the land, but these plans were abandoned in 1989 due to strong opposition from local residents.
1989 Merton Council designated the area as a nature reserve, and it now forms part of the Wandle Trail.
A photograph of Wandle Meadow Nature Park

Map of Wandle Meadow Nature Park

Wandle Meadow Nature park has North Road on its southern boundary, Chaucer Way on its eastern boundary, and the River Wandle on its western boundary. Its northern boundary is the railway line.

The access points to the park have kissing gates to prevent motorcyclists from entering the site. There is a cycle way along the eastern edge of the park which follows the river trail.

Footpaths with a hoggin surface were built in 1993 starting from North Road and leading northwards towards the wetland habitats. The map below shows the route across the park.

A photograph of Wandle Meadow Nature Park

Wildlife and Plants

The Wandle Meadow Nature Park is a local nature reserve in the London borough of Merton, and contains a wide variety of birds, animals, dragonflies and plants.

Plants

In 1993 sixteen trees and two thousand hedge plants were planted along the edges of the park next to North Road, Mead Path and the main entrances to the site. They included silver birch, ash, hazel, hawthorn, field maple, dog rose, blackthorn, guelder rose, dogwood, alder, buckthorn and whitebeam.

Birds

The mixture of habitats which includes woodland areas, water meadows, and drier grassland attract many different birds including kingfishers and grey wagtails. The Wandle Meadow Nature Park is a good place to spot a grey wagtail as they like wet marshland and fast flowing rivers.

Ponds

There are small, shallow ponds within the park where you may be able to see toads, frogs and newts. The water, however, is too shallow for a fish population.

A photograph of Wandle Meadow Nature Park

Following the Wandle Trail

Wandle Meadow Nature Park is part of the Wandle Trail. If you are following the river path upstream, the next point you will be heading to is Wandle Park.

Both Wandle Park and Wandle Meadow Nature Park contain bodies of water, and are rich in wetland plants.

A photograph of the river Wandle
River Wandle from Wandle Meadow Nature Park. Photograph by Olivia Herlihy

This post was about Wandle Meadow Nature Park

Thank you for reading my post about Wandle Meadow Nature Park. If you have visited the park please leave me a comment below and let me know your thoughts. The public park is a valuable oasis of abundant plant life, and place for the quiet enjoyment of nature. It’s also a popular place for dog walkers.

A photograph of Wandle Meadow Nature Park
Wandle Meadow Nature Park. Photograph by Olivia Herlihy