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Crane Park Island

A peaceful haven with an explosive past.

Once the site of the Hounslow Gunpowder Mills, Crane Park Island is a beautiful reserve where you could be lucky enough to spot a majestic kingfisher or the threatened water vole.

It is a mosaic of woodland, scrub and reedbed, which due to careful management provides a home for the increasingly scarce water vole.

The island welcomes visitors throughout the year and has good facilities for people with disabilities. School children on specially organised visits can investigate the rich aquatic life in the shallow stretches of the Crane.

The old Shot Tower was opened as a  nature and visitor centre in 2004. It is now open to the public every Sunday afternoon.

Habitats you'll see

River and riverbank, reedbed, woodland, scrub.

Species you might spot
Water vole, woodpeckers, kingfisher, dragonflies and damselflies.

If you spot these or any other species, please submit your wildlife sightings to Greenspace Information for Greater London (GiGL) to help build a picture of London's nature!

Short films

Watch Kingfisher and friends - a short film by wildlife film-maker David Andrew Heath.

This beautiful film is all about the kingfishers and other birds caught on camera at Crane Park Island.

And this short film, also by David Andrew Heath, focuses on the greater spotted woodpeckers that live on Crane Park Island.

The kingfisher is a legally protected bird under Schedule 1 of the Wildlife & Countryside Act 1981 (as amended), which means it is an offence to harm them, their eggs, or their nest (burrows) when in use or being built, or otherwise disturb them whilst in their breeding season (usually February to July).

Visit us

There are entrances by footpath via Ellerman Avenue or Great Chertsey Road.

The reserve is open at all times, while the Shot Tower is open on the first and last Sunday of each month, and for special events. Call 020 8755 2339 for details.

Crane Valley maps

We've put together a range of illustrated maps, showcasing the reserves we manage in the Crane Valley area:

Crane Park

Crane Valley

Gutteridge Wood and Meadows

Ten Acre Wood

Roxbourne Park and Roxbourne Rough

Yeading Brook Meadows (text)

Yeading Brook Meadows (map)

Yeading wildlife sites

Get involved

Find volunteering opportunities at Crane Park Island on our west London volunteering page.

Site status

Site of Metropolitan Importance; Local Nature Reserve

Family Learning

Crane Park Island Project runs a programme of Family Learning opportunities aimed at the local Richmond and Hounslow community. Courses include:
  • Archaeology, focusing on the amazing industrial archaeology of Crane Park, that was once part of Hounslow gunpowder Mills
  • Art Goes Wild - a chance to develop art skills including drawing, painting, printmaking 3D work mosaics and more.
  • Wildlife Discovery - exploring and understanding the natural world.
  • Tailored programmes for EAL Learners.
  • Tailored programmes for under-fives.

The courses are all based at the Shot tower and use the park and nature reserve as a stimulus. Contact Andy Willmore for more details -

School visits

Fancy arranging a school trip to this site? Our experienced staff can provide your class with a hands-on outdoor learning experience directly linked with the National Curriculum.

We run a programme of formal education, on sites throughout the Crane valley. The project is based at the Shot tower and many schools enjoy the opportunity for river dipping at Crane park, where the river is safe and shallow.

Other activities, including those for the London Wildlife Trust Green Schools pack, help explore the range of habitats in the park and on the reserve.

Other sites where we can offer school visits include: Yeading Brook meadows and Ten Acre Wood in Hillingdon and Roxbourne Park in Harrow.


Crane Park is the site of the once notorious Hounslow Gunpowder Mills. The site has been surveyed by English Heritage under a project aimed at discovering, recording and managing the archaeological remains left in the park.


Nearby nature reserves

Isleworth Ait
3 miles - London Wildlife Trust
Huckerby's Meadows
4 miles - London Wildlife Trust
Sheepwalk Lake
5 miles - Surrey Wildlife Trust

Nature reserve map

Reserve information

Ellerman Avenue
Greater London
TW13 5QT
Map reference
Great for...
a family day out
Best time to visit
Apr - Aug
Get directions
Find out here
Public transport
Plan your journey
Opening Times
The reserve is open at all times, while the Shot Tower is open on the first and last Sunday of each month, and for special events. Call 020 8755 2339 for details.
Visitor centre
1.93 hectares
Local Nature Reserve (LNR)

There are public footpaths around the reserve, but the terrain can be uneven in places. Wheelchair access is limited.
Walking information
Limited wheelchair access.
Parking available in surrounding streets.
Dogs allowed
Grazing animals
Reserve manager
Andy Willmore
Tel: 020 8894 2802