On a cold Sunday afternoon, a group from the Friends of Seething Wells met with members of the advisory committee for the Leg o' Mutton Reservoir, Lonsdale Road at Barnes. This site has site a similar history to the Portsmouth Road Filter Beds, in as much as it was originally owned by Thames Water and is situated alongside the river Thames. After the reservoir was made redundant in the 1960’s, housing was planned for the site, but was fiercely opposed by local residents at several public inquiries.
The council purchased the reservoir in the 1970’s and it was managed as a public space until the 1990’s, when it was designated as a Local Nature Reserve. A boundary line of imposing hybrid black poplar trees are thought to be about 170 years old and bat boxes have been erected at a height suitable for noctule bats, which are regularly recorded there along with Pipistrelles and Daubenton’s bats. Herons nest in a large plane tree as well as on ‘tern rafts’ and several species of duck are recorded including teal, shoveler, pochard and tufted duck.
We discussed the role of the council and the advisory group, the various groups involved in management tasks, the costs of managing the site as well as aspects of Health and Safety.
Management is carried out by the Trust for Conservation Volunteers and council contractors and includes: removal of the self-sown sycamore and ash, management of the reed bed and regular coppicing to maintain vistas.