Welsh Harp Brent Reservoir open day attracts over 600 visitors

National canal charity Canal & River Trust held a public open day at the Welsh Harp Brent Reservoir on Saturday 3 February 2024, offering visitors the chance to speak to the project team and find out more about the structural and environmental improvement work that is underway at the reservoir.  The event is one of a series of events being held across England and Wales, offering a behind-the-scenes view of the work the charity does to care for its 2,000 mile historic canal network.

The Welsh Harp Brent Reservoir was built in 1835 to supply water to the Grand Union Canal.  As well as being a place for sailing, watersports and walking, the reservoir is protected as a Site of Special Scientific Interest (SSSI) for the rich diversity of wildlife found on site, including water birds and 16 protected plant species.

The reservoir works, which are required under the Reservoir Act 1975 and are supported by players of People’s Postcode Lottery, include: repairs to the chains and rods that operate the reservoir’s sluices; and repainting the Valve House Tower from where the sluice gates which control the water levels in the reservoir are operated.

The environmental works include rubbish removal, vegetation management, creating new nesting areas for wetland birds and a fish rescue, witnessed first-hand by our open day visitors on Saturday.

Charlotte Wood, the Canal & River Trust’s head of London & South East operations, says: “We were delighted to meet so many people wanting to find out more about what’s involved in managing this incredibly important place for people and wildlife in such a densely populated urban area.  This successful open day was made possible with the support of many partners, with special thanks to the Welsh Harp Sailing Club.

“The Welsh Harp Brent Reservoir is one of London’s most significant urban wild spaces and provides a much valued area of green and blue open space for people and wildlife.  To carry out our essential maintenance works at the reservoir, we’ve drained around 1,000 mega litres of water, enough to fill 400 Olympic sized pools. We’ve rescued around 100,000 fish, some weighing as much as 30lb. Our volunteers and contractors have spent 844 hours removing over 400 bags of rubbish, as well as tyres, e-bikes, safes, clothing and suitcases. 

“We’ve also been carrying out a series of environmental improvements at the Welsh Harp Brent Reservoir SSSI, including creating alcoves in the reed beds to provide more shelter for nesting birds.  And, with the support of the Welsh Harp Conservation Group, we plan to install 14 new island habitats for common terns, one of the species of water bird that lives on the reservoir.”

The reservoir will remain open to the public throughout the works, but signs are in place warning visitors not to walk on the reservoir’s drained area and mud for their own safety.

To donate to the Trust’s Welsh Harp (Brent) Reservoir clean-up crowd funding campaign, go to


To find out more about the plans for the Welsh Harp (Brent) Reservoir, go to https://canalrivertrust.org.uk/brent-reservoir-winter-maintenance call the Canal & River Trust on 03030 404040 or email [email protected].

Featured Photo by Huma Kabakci on Unsplash.

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