Set out below is detailed information for anyone planning to visit Brent Reservoir, including a comprehensive map of the area. Information about the site can also be found on the Brent Reservoir page of the London Bird Club wiki.
Brent Reservoir is easy to reach by car or by public transport. It is to be found in the angle between the North Circular Road (A406), which runs parallel with the reservoir’s south bank, and the Edgware Road (A5), which passes close to its eastern end.
By car — The main point of access by car is off the A5 at West Hendon Broadway NW9. If arriving via the M1, continue to the end (Junction 1) and follow “A406 West (A5)”; then, after passing under a railway bridge, take the third exit from a roundabout (“Harrow / West Hendon A5”) onto West Hendon Broadway. At traffic lights, turn off the Broadway into Cool Oak Lane. Just before the narrow bridge across the reservoir’s north arm, turn left into Woolmead Avenue to park. Note that on weekdays street parking in the whole area is restricted to resident permit holders between 10.00 and 11.00.
There is also a small free car park further along Cool Oak Lane at the top of Woodfield Park — on the left just before the road bends sharply right — and a larger car park at the north end of the site off the sharp bend in Goldsmith Avenue. At the western end of the site, near the dam, a car park can be found at the end of Birchen Grove. In this area there is also street parking in Kinloch Drive and Townsend Lane.
By rail — The nearest railway station to the WHCG hides is Hendon (Thameslink), which is a 10-minute walk away. Turn right out of station and walk down Station Road to West Hendon. Turn left and cross over at traffic lights to go down Cool Oak Lane. (A new station is planned to serve Brent Cross Shopping Centre, and it might be a fraction closer to the reservoir.)
By tube — If arriving by London Underground, head for Hendon Central on the Northern Line and on exiting the station turn left and cross Queens Road to catch bus 83 to West Hendon Broadway. (Or it’s a healthy walk of about a mile via Vivian Avenue, Station Road, West Hendon Broadway and Cool Oak Lane.) Alternatively, take the Metropolitan or Jubilee Line to Wembley Park, turn left out of the station to bus stop O and take bus 297 or 182 to Blackbird Hill, getting off at the stop opposite Lidl and walking along Birchen Grove to the western end of the reservoir.
By bus — West Hendon Broadway is served by buses 32 (Edgware–Kilburn Park), 82 (Golders Green–Ealing Hospital), 142 (Brent Cross–Watford Junction) and 183 (Golders Green–Pinner). Blackbird Hill is served by routes 182 (Brent Cross–Harrow Weald), 245 (Golders Green–Alperton), 297 (Willesden–Ealing Broadway) and 302 (Mill Hill Broadway–Kensal Rise). Route 112 (Brent Cross–Ealing Broadway) follows the North Circular Road (A406) past the south side of the reservoir.
There is 24-hour open access to all the open spaces surrounding the reservoir, with numerous access points. Access to the two hides overlooking East Marsh (Main Hide; Heron Hide) requires a key (obtainable through the WHCG), although anyone is welcome in the hides while a keyholder is present. You are most likely to find the hides open early on Saturday and Sunday mornings. To reach the hides walk south along the footpath that starts just east of the bridge on Cool Oak Lane. The North Marsh has a permanently open public hide and a nearby raised viewing platform. To reach these, follow a footpath north from the west side of Cool Oak Lane bridge.
Disabled access — Wheelchair access to the main WHCG hide is no longer possible because of deterioration to the approach footpath and the access ramp. However, wheelchairs can still reach a viewing platform overlooking the main reservoir just west of Cool Oak Bridge.
There are no toilet or refreshment facilities on the site. The nearest are at Birchen Grove Garden Centre (NW9 8RY) and the Hendon branch of Sainsbury’s (NW9 6JX), both within a short walk of the site.
Birchen Grove Garden Centre To reach the garden centre (which is the largest in Greater London), leave the site at its western end along Birchen Grove and at the bend in the road turn right through the Welsh Harp Environmental Education Centre (marked “Field Studies Centre” on the map below). The garden centre’s hours are 9am to 5.30pm (Sundays 11am to 5pm). Its cafe is normally open whenever the store is open but on Sundays it opens early at 10.30am. On sale are hot and cold drinks, light meals and snack foods such as sandwiches and filled jacket potatoes.
Sainsbury’s To reach the large Sainsbury’s store, leave the site at the far end of the northern marsh, beyond the bowling green, and turn right along Goldsmith Avenue to The Hyde. Across the road you will see Sainsbury’s, open from 7am to 10pm (Sundays 10.30am to 4.30pm). Plenty of snack foods and cold drinks are on sale, and if you have no shame you could even patronise the in-store Starsucks outlet.