Site Reference: KiBI08
Site Name: Seething Wells Filter Beds
Summary: The remains of the old Surbiton Water Works, next to the Thames, frequented by
wintering wildfowl and other birds seeking refuge from the comparatively exposed
river. Plant species usually associated with the North Downs grow on the chalk
grassland on the concrete basin walls.
Grid ref: TQ 173 675
Area (ha): 5.36
Chalk grassland, Marsh/swamp, Pond/lake, Ruderal
The remains of the redundant Surbiton Water Works consist of seven rain-fed filter beds in a steep-sided
basin. Adjacent to the River Thames, these filter beds are important to wintering wildfowl and other birds
seeking refuge from the comparatively exposed river. There is a locally significant gull roost here, and other
common water birds breed. Sand martin has also bred here, a London Biodiversity Action Plan priority
species. The largest filter bed has an extensive emergent bed of the uncommon lesser reedmace (Typha
angustifolia), while other wetland plants include common spike-rush (Eleocharis palustris). Wetland
invertebrates include the banded demoiselle damselfly (Calopteryx splendens).
Species-rich grassland has developed over the concrete substrate lining the basin walls, consisting of
plants seen more often on the North Downs. These include upright brome (Bromopsis erectus), wild carrot
(Daucus carota), hoary plantain (Plantago media) and the London rarities small scabious (Scabiosa
columbaria), dropwort (Filipendula vulgaris), salad burnet (Sanguisorba minor), pyramidal orchid
(Anacamptis pyramidalis), fern-grass (Catapodium rigidum) and common broomrape (Orobanche minor).
The site is very important for its resident Daubenton's bats, which are protected and a London Biodiversity
Action Plan priority species.
Site first notified: 01/01/1992 Boundary last changed: 01/01/1992
Citation last edited: 05/05/2006
Last Updated: 09/03/2007