Almost opposite our Amberley Wildbrooks nature reserve, just across the river, lies the grazing marsh of Waltham Brooks. In winters of very heavy rainfall almost the entire reserve becomes a giant lake. Fortunately the river banks of the Arun floodplain have been built up for flood defence, creating a good elevated walkway to view the reserve from. Wildfowl such as Teal, Shoveler, Wigeon and Pintail take advantage of the sanctuary and the feeding opportunities the flood waters offer. In summer the lake can almost dry out, leaving muddy margins important for breeding waders such as Lapwing and Redshank and the occasional passage migrant such as Green and Wood Sandpiper.
There is a network of ditches throughout, and like Amberley, they support a variety of water plants and insects. The line of the old Wey and Arun Navigation canal can be made out, still retaining water in the southern part where it used to connect to the river itself. About half way along by the bridge, the remains of the old lock and lock keeper’s cottage can be seen.
The north side of the railway line is drier acid grassland with Tormentil and Heath Bedstraw, but still has some wetter areas where Southern Marsh-orchids thrive.
The whole of the reserve is grazed seasonally by cattle.
We have created a circular route around the reserve to improve visitor access and help with management. Although the reserve is also a Common with open access, please keep to the paths so as not to disturb the wildlife.