Visitor guide

This four acre Local Nature Reserve (although on land owned by St Albans District Council) is leased, managed and maintained independently by the Watercress Wildlife Association, founded in 1991 by local residents and on an entirely voluntary basis. A management committee ensures that it is run in accordance with the current management plan. Volunteers help with practical work on site.

The Reserve is open for public access between 9am and dusk throughout the year and is best approached on foot or bicycle. There is no parking on or near the entrance and street parking is strictly regulated. The approach is from Riverside Road, via a steeply sloping entranceway. Dogs (other than guide dogs) are not allowed. Apart from the information hut/birdhide (accessible to members of the Association), there are no on-site facilities.

All visitors are welcome, but are expected to respect the wildlife, the peace and tranquillity of the area, and the diversity of habitat which makes the site so special.

There are natural hazards including uneven soft ground, water and stinging or poisonous plants. There is often maintenance work in progress, particularly at the regular working parties (the last Sunday of each month). Sensible footwear is essential. Young children should be supervised at all times.

Visitors should keep to the established paths. Under some conditions parts will not be suitable for casual access or for use by wheelchairs or buggies.

Schools, youth and community groups who wish to undertake educational or leisure visits are asked to give prior notice. Please email

For the benefit of the Reserve and other users, to protect the wildlife and the local environment, we ask that all visitors observe the following rules:

  • Dogs are not to be taken on site.
  • Picnics are not allowed.
  • Respect the tranquillity of the area. This is a small site, noise disturbs wildlife, other visitors and local residents.
  • Observe instructions and other notices provided on the Reserve.
  • Do not feed the water birds. We enforce a no feeding policy to prevent fouling of the water and local area, and to maintain a natural balance. The ducks in particular are not pets!

Otherwise enjoy your visit!