Bedfont Lakes Country Park is a 72.5 hectare nature reserve and Site of Metropolitan Importance to Nature Conservation in the London Borough of Hounslow. The land the park now occupies what was once part of the vast Hounslow Heath which saw activity from the Romans, Oliver Cromwell and the notorious highwaymen. From the 18th century the site was part of Fawn’s Manor Farm and served as one of the many market gardens for London. Previously owned by the Duke of St Albans, remnants of the large orchard that supplied fruit to Covent Garden Market can still be found at The Chattern Hill Community Orchard in the south of the site. From the 1860’s, the land experienced huge ecological transformations as it was worked for gravel and sand, playing an important role in the construction of new homes, schools and roads. It is these excavation works that created the ponds and lakes that can be found and enjoyed in the Nature Reserve today.
From 1950-1973, the site was used as landfill for domestic and industrial waste which polluted and contaminated the local environment – it even gained some notoriety as ‘the largest pile of rubbish in Europe’ at that time. In 1988, as part of a planning condition for development of the surrounding area, Hounslow Council secured its status as a country park which later opened in 1995. Less than five years from its opening, Bedfont Lakes Country Park earned its status as a Nature Reserve comprising lakes, wetlands, wildflower meadows and woodland. Now, more than 720 species of plants, birds, moths, fungi and mammals have been recorded at the site, with the park receiving nineteen Green Flag awards so far. Habitats & Heritage work closely with rangers at the reserve to help manage the site for wildlife through practical conservation events and corporate volunteering.
(Photo from Park Summary Details (greenflagaward.org)