Another unpopulated ait (another word for river island), this nine acre isle is located in a stretch of the Thames with old Isleworth on one bank and the Kew towpath on the other.

The tidal island, which regularly floods, was once, like other arts in the Thames, used for the production of osiers, a type of willow used to make baskets to carry produce from Middlesex to London. There were once said to be five neighbouring islands, all of which have now disappeared.

Once the property of the Duke of Northumberland (it formed part Syon Park estate, his London property, which is located nearby), the island was purchased by the Metropolitan Water Board and is now owned by Thames Water.

Covered in trees, the ait provides a sanctuary for birds – including everything from kingfishers to swifts and herons – and rare snails like the two-lipped door snail. Officially declared a Local Nature Reserve, it has been under the management of the London Wildlife Trust since 1995.

The ait cannot be accessed without permission from the trust.

PICTURE: John McLinden (image cropped; licensed under CC BY-ND 2.0)

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This weekend London is once again taking part in the Museums at Night event (yes, this is the first year it’s being held over two weekends – the first was back in May). In honour of that milestone, we thought we’d take the time to list five of the quirkier places that are taking part this time around, either tonight or on Halloween itself…

The Marvellous Mysteries of Hackney Museum at Night. An interactive and “creative making” tour of the museum and local surroundings (be prepared for some walking!).

The Monument, City. Ascend the spiral staircase of 360 degree views of the City and hear stories about the Great Fire and its aftermath and Hookes’ telescopic column.

Osterley After DarkOsterley Park, Isleworth (pictured). Explore the Georgian house and discover some of the darker bits of Osterley’s 400-year-old history.

The Fan Museum, Greenwich. Take a look at its latest exhibition ‘Made in China’ which features a display of 8o fans and “traces the evolution of Chinese export fan design from its emergence toward the end of the seventeenth century to its eventual decline in the latter part of the nineteenth century”.

Severndroog Castle, Castle Wood. Take a candlelit tour on Halloween including the chance to take in the vistas from the viewing platform. The tearooms are also opening.

For details of all London events – some of which are free – check out www.museumsatnight.org.uk and search under ‘London’.