The Crane Valley Partnership

Lower Crane

River Crane

After leaving Minet Country Park , the following 17km of river channel becomes formally known as the River Crane. The Crane flows south through Hillingdon to Cranford Country Park , a historic countryside estate that was originally the grounds of Cranford House, offering public access to the Crane and surrounding open space and woodland. After leaving this area the river passes Avenue Park , Hounslow, and then flows on to the outskirts of Heathrow Airport.

At this point the river receives water from the Heathrow balancing reservoirs , a reservoir system designed to receive and treat runoff from the impermeable landscape of the country’s largest airport. The water the Crane receives at this point is much needed in terms of improving river depth and flow. During cold winters, more anti-icers and de-icers are used at the airport to protect planes and runways. If very cold weather coincides with heavy rainfall, the treatment capacity of the reservoirs may become overloaded and glycol in the discharges raises the river’s biological oxygen demand and reduces levels of dissolved oxygen. The airport is working with the Environment Agency to resolve this problem.

After leaving the outskirts of the airport the river continues south, flowing past Donkey Wood, Brazil Mill Wood and Hounslow Heath, to the east, and Feltham Marshalling Yards, to the west. Brazil Mill Wood was home to a dye works in the 16th-17th century, making pigment from the Brazil wood grown on site. The bridge, sluices and mill race associated with the mill still exist on this part of the river today. At this point the Crane is also joined by an artificial tributary flowing from the River Colne, the Duke of Northumberland’s River (DNR). The extra volume of water provided by the DNR helps maintain the main river’s flow.

The Crane next enters Pevensey Road Open Space, a local nature reserve that features areas of meadow, scrubland, woodland and newly created wetland habitats alongside the River Crane. This area borders Crane Park as the river flows underneath Hanworth Road. Crane Park provides a mosaic of woodland, scrub and reedbeds. There are a number of islands scattered throughout the river here, one of which is home to London Wildlife Trust’s Crane Park Island nature reserve. The island was created in the old mill pond that drove the once active mill race that can still be seen near the park’s historic Shot Tower and ruins. Water voles and kingfishers can often be seen on this stretch of the river and it is a favourite port of call  for many conservation groups, volunteers and school groups.

Upon leaving Crane Park the river takes an easterly direction and enters Kneller Gardens where it is bordered by allotments and residential housing. The Duke of Northumberland’s River leaves the Crane at Mereway Road, where the river is split, significantly reducing flow downstream of this feature. The main river continues through the heavily urbanised areas of Twickenham and St Margarets, where it is met by the Whitton Brook near the A316. Next it passes Isleworth, where it  is often forced into concrete channels and fish migration is impeded by a series of man-made barriers. Here the Crane becomes tidal before it converges with the River Thames at the southern end of Isleworth Ait Nature Reserve, in the middle of the Thames.

Lower Crane

WFD Status


2009 Ecological Potential

2012 Ecological Potential

River Crane
Poor Poor