An enticing nature trail between two babbling arms of the River Wandle.
Follow our enticing nature trail between two babbling arms of the River Wandle through fruit trees and crack willow to a vibrant meadow.
A fascinating variety of habitats can be seen in this site, ranging from ponds and wetlands to woods and wildflower meadows.
The woodlands provide a valuable habitat for many species of birds and invertebrates.
You can see all three species of woodpecker - but only great spotted breeds regularly. In summer, you may hear warblers such as blackcap and chiffchaff singing, and they often stay to breed.
A black poplar tree grows here, which supports a rare moth - the hornet clearwing. Several species of butterfly can also be seen, including speckled wood, holly blue and comma.
The ponds are an important feature of the island and they have been colonised by a wide variety of wetland plants, including water plantain, yellow flag, reedmace and water crowfoot. Frogs use the ponds to lay their spawn, and dragonflies and damselflies often hunt here in summer.
The river supports good numbers of waterway birds for an urban river, particularly moorhens. You may see little grebes hiding close to the bank while you may see grey wagtails near the weir where they have bred.
And if you're very lucky, you may see the blue flash of a kingfisher flying past.
The meadows are rich in both invertebrate and meadow flower species.
Here, you can see the small lilac flowers of vervain, a rare species to find in London.
If you look closely you may see the brightly coloured small copper butterfly among the more plentiful skippers and meadow brown.
You may also hear the crackle of Roesel's bush cricket, which has been likened to an electrical discharge.
Habitats you'll see
Woodland, river, pond and meadow
Species you might spot
Woodpeckers, kingfisher and grebes; black poplar; hornet clearwing moth, speckled wood butterfly, holly blue butterfly and comma butterfly; water-plantain, yellow flag, great reedmace and water crowfoot; Roesel's bush cricket.
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!
The entrance is at the junction of Mill Lane/River Gardens and Strawberry Lane in Carshalton.
Open at all times.
Search for volunteering sessions at Wilderness Island on the south London volunteering page.
Site of Metropolitan Importance; Local Nature Reserve
Nature reserve map