The mammal population of the area is probably relatively small, due to human disturbance, traffic and predation. I don't know of any live-trapping programmes that have been carried out prior to one in August 2014 (see here), so our knowledge of the smaller mammals is lacking. Some of the records of smaller mammals have been in chance finds of dead specimens. Larger mammals have only been recorded by chance observations.
Red Foxes are very common, though as with most places it is now more usual to see them in the vicinity of houses than in "the wild". In fact, in the City of London Cemetery they have been known to take food from the hands of visitors to the cemetery cafeteria. Foxes are often observed crossing from the vicinity of the cemetery to Wanstead Flats, where the wild-fowl of Alexandra Lake doubtless acts as a food-source. They also cross onto the Flats from the houses in Capel Road - often using my side-entrance to get from Manor Park Cemetery - thus being commonly sighted patrolling along Capel Road or indeed along the Manor Park Cemetery wall or in adjacent gardens.
There are plenty of Grey Squirrels, particularly in Wanstead Park, but they are found along the edge of Wanstead Flats as well as in the wooded areas there, and Bush Wood. There are reports of this species in Wanstead Park from as early as 1917 although this population did not last long. It wasn't until after 1933 that Grey Squirrels again began to spread into Epping Forest. The actual date of the subsequent arrivals in Wanstead Park isn't known, but the last positive report of a Red Squirrel in the Park was in 1947 when a Red Squirrel was seen fighting with a Grey. (Essex Field Club archives)
Wanstead Park had a population of Rabbits; however signs of these were scarce in 2008, and by 2010 there was no longer any indication of their presence.
Brown Rats can be easily seen, particularly near Alexandra Lake on Wanstead Flats and by Heronry Pond and the Perch Pond in Wanstead Park, where food from the area around the kiosk probably adds an incentive. Culling procedures are sometimes undertaken to reduce the numbers.
House Mice are of course found in houses in the area, and Wood Mice are present in gardens adjacent to Wanstead Park, and in 2014 were proved to be present in the Aldersbrook Exchange Lands. At that time it was also suggested that this area might be an appropriate habitat to find Harvest Mice, although there is no evidence of these.
Hedgehogs have not been so common in recent years (up to 2009), but one was reported from Manor Park Cemetery and adjacent gardens in June 2009 and a young one of about 4 weeks was found in Wanstead Park in July 2009. Subsequently, there have been a few reports from the general area, and in 2014 a number were reported from various sites.
Mole hills are a common sight in parts of Wanstead Park and the adjacent areas such as Aldersbrook Exchange Lands, particularly so on the banks of the River Roding. They have not been seen, however, on Wanstead Flats.
Common Shrews can often be heard (by people with hearing capable of this - mine isn't, any longer!), but those that have been seen are more usually dead ones. It has been suggested that the site of the old Redbridge Sewage Works may also harbour Pygmy Shrews and the nearby River Roding Water Shrews. These suggestions were made by Darren Tansley, Water for Wildlife Officer for the Essex Wildlife Trust, at a mammal-trapping exrecise in August 2014. (see here)
Water Voles were once a common sight on the Roding, but they had become scarce by the early 1990s. However, one was seen in 1998 and another in mid July, 2004, both sightings being from the banks of the Aldersbrook Exchange Lands.
We have had few reports of Bank Voles - one was seen at the west edge of Chalet Wood perhaps in the early 80s. One was found freshly dead on the north side of the Roding near the Coronation Bridge on 15th April during a Wren Group bird-walk.
A Short-tailed Field Vole was found dead and mauled near Northumberland Avenue on 4th April 2012. Another was seen by Tim Harris swimming in Alexandra Lake and then using a run on the west side, on 6th April 2013
During the winter of 1998/99, three American Mink, Mustela vison were seen in Wanstead Park, by the Ornamental Water. One was seen by the River Roding in Wanstead Park on 14th April 2006 and again on 31 July 2007. In 2011, four were seen at one time by the Ornamental Waters, which may indicate breeding. A capturing programme was instigated late in 2011 and continued into 2012. At least four were known to have been trapped.
Signs of Otters were reported on the Roding during 2009 from as far south as Ilford, and occasionally - and unconfirmed - in subsequent years.
Stoats and Weasels are present, and occasionaly are reported from Wanstead Park.
The Pipistrelle is the most common Bat, and both Common and Soprano species are present and common. There had been tantalizing suspicions of Nathusius' Pipistrelle and these were confirmed in September 2013. Just one Serotine has been detected: near Whiskers Island, Wanstead Park, by Tim Harris on 22/08/2013. There are Noctule and Daubenton's as well, and a possible Leisler's was detected by Perch Pond on 17/07/2009. A positive detection was obtained by Perch Pond on 26/07/2009. The lakes of Wanstead Park - particularly Perch Pond - and Alexandra Lake on Wanstead Flats are good places to see bats. A summary of the Bats of the Wanstead area has been written by Tim Harris and is available here.
There have been occasional and increasing sightings of Muntjac Deer in the area although not often being seen south of the Green Man roundabout until about 2019 when increasing reports of sightings were received. In particular. perhaps, they had been seen in the City of London Cemetery (and indeed were likely the culprits that had chewed the bark of the newly-planted Wollemi Pine: see here). Vague reports also of sightings in Manor Park Cemetery, and one in Sebert Road, Forest Gate - a residential road.
Populations of feral Cat have been known in the City of London Cemetery, and of course domestic cats haunt both the Flats and Wanstead Park in search of prey.
Other mammals that have or had an impact on the ecology of the area are of course the Domestic Dog and Cat, and until the B.S.E crisis in 1996, Cattle. In 2020, three longhorn cows were brought to Wanstead Park on a trial basis for the summer. The trial seemed successful, and they were brought back in 2021. Although it it was intended that they should return in 2022, the severe lack of rain meant that the grazing would not have been sufficient for them.
It may be noted that in recent years, Horses from Aldersbrook Riding School have been permitted to use a route around and through the Aldersbrook Exchange Lands, and a September 2014 proposal to create paddocks in part of the old Sewage Works Site, of which the Exhange Lands are a part, was implemented. Horses of course also are permitted to use routes which pass through all parts of our area on Epping Forest.
|Few if any reports from even before 2006; in 2009 a few reports came in of hedgehogs: from a garden near Manor Park Cemetery and of one found in Wanstead Park (photo)
|Often found in the old Sewage Works site
|Signs mostly seen in the Sewage Works site.
|One detected near Whiskers Island, Wanstead Park, by Tim Harris on 22/08/2013
|In Wanstead Park and by Alexandra Lake on the Flats; Hollow Pond 17/06/08
|In Wanstead Park and by Alexandra Lake on the Flats; Alex 17/06/08
|Recorded by Tim Harris at Heronry Pond, Wanstead Park on 22/09/2013
|In Wanstead Park and particularly by Alexandra Lake on the Flats
|By Alexandra Lake and in Wanstead Park
|Wanstead Park, seen in the Ornamental Water and River Roding area since 2005; a culling programme was begun at the end of 2011; four known to have been trapped.
|Occasional reports from Wanstead Park and the Roding, the most recent in November 2009 (see here)
|Wanstead Park, in River Roding; Sewage Works site. Roding. Not seen in recent years - last known sighting in 2000
|One seen years ago at the west edge of Chalet Wood; one found freshly dead on Ilford side of Roding by Coronation Bridge on 15th April 2012
|Field Vole (Short-tailed Vole)
|One found dead near Northumberland Avenue on 04/04/2012; One seen by Tim Harris "swimming in Alexandra Lake and then using a run on the west side" on 06/04/2013
|In gardens in Northumberland Avenue, Aldersbrook
|In houses adjacent to Forest areas
|Wanstead Park, common by Heronry Pond. Wanstead Flats, by Alexandra Lake and by Jubilee Pond
|A long-established colony in Wanstead Park is no longer present; the last known photograph was in 2002 and by 2008 signs (scats) were scarce. None known since 2010
|Reported from Wanstead Flats and the adjacent area of Leytonstone in 2006. Also seen in Snaresbrook Crown Court grounds, having entered from Leyton Flats. By 2019, Muntjac were known to be living in the City of London Cemetery, and in 2020 one was reported in Sebert Road, Forest Gate. Unconfirmed reports of sightings in Manor Park Cemetery were also obtained.