Save the Lapwings

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Northern Lapwing

Lapwings are an increasingly rare and charismatic species and provides one of the main attractions to the nature reserve along with other exciting wildlife. Other nature reserves in London provide huge economic benefits to local communities. The London Wetland Centre attracts 250,000 visitors a year, provides jobs and brings in huge health and well being nature based solutions to local communities through providing an escape from urban stresses, nature watching, photography, walking, cycling and all kinds of outdoor activities – all of that provides jobs and builds community.

The Lapwings are the last of the rare and charismatic species left at Beddington Farmlands after delays in restoration and building an incinerator in the nature reserve have caused the local extinction of our other local special wildlife such at the Tree Sparrows, Yellow Wagtails, Redshanks and other species. 90% of all our special willdife has been destroyed by Viridor and Sutton Council.

If the Lapwings go, our final star attraction will be lost and we will have no special species left to attract visitors from far and wide.

Don’t let multi-billion pound company Viridor and rather useless Sutton Council (who let them get away literally with murder (of wildlife) get away with destroying the chance of a premier urban nature reserve in the Hackbridge/Beddington area for the wider London Borough of Sutton and Wandle Valley Regional Park. Wildlife, jobs and local community is at stake.

This is our last chance!

Northern Lapwing

The brief story of Lapwings at Beddington Farmlands

The background

  • Large congregations of Lapwings have been present at Beddington in living memory. Counts of 600 birds were not uncommon in the 1960’s.
  • The Lapwing population at Beddington is a relic farmland population that has managed to survive in relative isolation, despite the development of surrounding agricultural fields where nesting habitat was lost.
  • Nationally, Lapwings are a ‘Red List’ species, meaning that the bird has suffered severe declines of both the breeding population and breeding range. Astoundingly, Lapwing numbers have decreased by 80% in the last 50 years.

The problem

  • In the last 2 years, artificial wetland habitat at Beddington Farmlands has been decommissioned by Thames Water and is being left to begin drying out. This is leading to a crash of resident lapwing numbers as the birds struggle to keep their ground nests safe from predators, as small waterside islands that formerly provided safety become dry and exposed.
  • The Lapwing flock at the farm was reduced to a total of 25 birds in 2019. This is down from 141 in 2008. The population is now in grave danger of becoming locally extinct.


The solution

  • Site managers (Viridor and Thames Water) must continue to manage decommissioned areas of the site (100 Acre & SE Corner) for Lapwings. If they do not, the species will be lost forever. Important Lapwing breeding areas were not maintained during the spring and summer of 2020 and population numbers are falling further.
  • A Lapwing conservation and management plan must urgently be devised and implemented to maintain a) suitable water levels for Lapwings, and b) suitable protection from predators.

Save the Lapwings campaign objectives

  1. Complete the restoration particularly Stages 1-3 of Wet Grassland habitat development aimed specifically at Lapwings. Timescale: within 12 months.
  2. Develop and implement a Lapwing habitat management plan for 100 acre and south east corner of Beddington Farmlands. Timescale: within 6 months.
  3. Develop and implement a lake water level plan to provide the correct water levels for breeding birds on the lakes to stop fox predation and provide habitat for post breeding flocks. Timescale: within three months.

Free public walk Saturday 29 August

Join us in a walk to look for the local Lapwings and other birds and wildlife, and talk about the future of the Lapwings and the nature reserve.

Meet at 10am at Beddington Park, London Road, Car Park.

Walk will last approx 1.5 hours.

Please book by emailing

*Covid Guidelines will be followed. Event Capacity 30 people, access to hides 6 people at a time, social distancing throughout, masks recommended