7TH JUNE 2021: LEE VALLEY REGIONAL PARK
This was a gentle and easy ramble, mostly on surfaced and level paths, on a very warm and rather humid summer’s day. Starting from the Lee Valley Animal Adventure Park, our fairly small group of 6 scooter riders and 3 walkers (including new members Graham and Suzanne) meandered through the 1,000 acre wetland park on the northern edge of London.
The Lee was London’s working river and was known as London’s ‘privy, workshop and backyard’. The valley was home to railway sidings, rubbish dumps, gravel pits, sewage works and factories producing explosives, furniture, chemicals, railway engines, electronics – among other things.
In his Greater London Plan of 1944, Sir Patrick Abercrombie suggested that ‘the Lee Valley gives the opportunity for a great piece of regenerative planning – every piece of land welded into a great regional reservation.’ This idea lay dormant until the early 1960s and finally the Lee Valley Regional Park Bill received royal assent in December 1966. The Lee Valley Regional Park Authority was constituted on 1 Jan 1967. Since then, rubbish dumps, gravel pits, scrap yards and industrial sites have been transformed into award winning open spaces and world class sports venues, including the 2012 Olympics White Water Centre.
The park covers 10,000 acres and stretches 26 miles from north to south.
Our route took us past lakes, alongside parts of the River Lee, through grassland and meadows; the Park is a haven for all manner of wildlife, including otters and especially birds.
At various points on our ramble we came upon interesting and unusual sculptures – the Boulders sculpture was of particular interest to some of our group, who found it to be reminiscent of something unmentionable here!!
Unfortunately we were not able to see the Lee Valley White Water Centre (home of the white water events in the 2012 Olympics), which was closed at the time of our ramble due to Covid restrictions.
Bee and Mark
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