Added to your Itinerary Planner below
Get route gradient profileGenerate
This beautiful 72-hectare nature reserve lies in the bend of the River Thames between Richmond and Kingston. The site is a mix of habitats, mainly woodland, scrub, grassland and wetlands that contain a diversity of plants and animals, including numerous rare species that are hard to find in London. There are meadow wildflowers that attract bees and butterflies and the reserve is teaming with bird life.
All this was the unplanned but fortunate result of filling in the old gravel pits and topping them off with subsoil and topsoil brought in from all corners London and the South East England– carrying with it samples of the local seeds, pre-packed with the kind of soil they prefer. The result was a sort of spontaneous botanical garden, a microcosm of the native wild plants of England.
It is now something over 60 years old, and well matured. Ham Lands is designated as ‘Metropolitan Open Land’ which gives it the same protection as land in the Green Belt. It is also a ‘Site of Metropolitan Importance for Nature Conservation’ and has been declared a Local Nature Reserve by Richmond Borough Council. The Council’s Parks Department is responsible for managing the longer-term development and sustainability of the site. It’s also a wonderful oasis for people too, a place to relax and rejuvenate!