The study area covers the former extent of the Rye Meads Sewage Treatment Works and adjacent meadows, covering several hectares of sludge beds, lagoons and meadows, and these in turn are adjacent to abandoned gravel pits and marshes. In the 1990s, most of Thames Water’s land to the north of the Rye Road was passed to the RSPB for their management, and is now the bulk of the RSPB Rye Meads Nature Reserve. The Ringing Group continues to study the birds in this part of the site in active co-operation with the RSPB reserve management. The remaining meadows and former gravel workings north of the Rye Road form the HMWT Reserve. We also continue to study the southern area of the site, comprising the treatment works and settlement lagoons, by arrangement with the site owner, Thames Water.
Much of the site and the surrounds have been designated a Site of Special Scientific Interest (SSSI). In addition, it is a designated Special Protection Area (SPA) and also listed as a Wetland of International Importance under the "Ramsar convention".
Gallery of site views
(click on image to enlarge)