Monday, July 15

The Lea River Park: East London’s hidden gem celebrated


A new exhibition opens today (5 April) at New London Architecture (NLA) charting the history and future of the Lea River Park.

The redevelopment of the Lea River Park opens up 45 acres of new space creating walkways and cycle paths stretching from Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park to the historic Royal Docks.

It takes a couple of hours to walk the entire Lea River Park with the opportunity to stop off and learn about its rich history:

Indian Pale Ale was first brewed on the banks of the Lea at the Bow Brewery.

Three Mills is the world’s biggest tidal mill which was listed in the Domesday Book and is now a film studio home of Master Chef.

Bow Ecology Park is a thriving wildlife sanctuary with newts, water scorpions and flocks of wading birds.

Trinity Buoy Wharf is home to London’s only lighthouse.

The Lea River Park completes the vision of Sir Patrick Abercrombie’s Greater London Plan in 1944 to create a Park stretching along the River Lea from Hertfordshire to the Thames which is now the Lee Valley Regional Park.

John Biggs, Mayor of Tower Hamlets, said:

Looking back to Twelve Trees ramp

“We have ambitious, high quality housing plans in Poplar that will benefit from our development of the River Lea, and a series of works planned over the coming years will introduce new educational facilities, leisure and green spaces to our communities. The river itself flows through areas of Tower Hamlets that showcase the economic history of the east end – places such as Trinity Buoy Wharf and East India Dock Basin. The wildlife and area around the river also make it a perfect destination for leisure and tourism. I look forward to sharing further improvements to the area as development continues.”

Dr Paul Brickell, London Legacy Development Corporation, said:

“The Thames may be known as the ‘lifeblood of London,’ but much less is known about the Lea and its rich history. Over the years much of the land along the river has been inaccessible, and I’m delighted that more people will be able to explore this hidden and often-forgotten but fascinating part of east London. There are some fascinating areas to explore along the route, so pick up an Odd Guide, and start exploring!”

Sir Robin Wales, Mayor of Newham, said:

“The Leaway will provide a continuous walking and cycling route along the river Lea, linking Stratford and the Olympic Park to the Royal Docks and the Thames. The route will improve connections within the borough and across the river into Tower Hamlets and towards the City. With the scale of regeneration taking place across the borough, Newham is one of the most exciting places to live, work and stay in the UK. Our priority for any regeneration in Newham has always been that it benefits our residents – whether this is through job creation, more homes, better transport links or the creation of community spaces. I hope Newham residents enjoy everything the Leaway has to offer.”

Shaun Dawson, Chief Executive, Lee Valley Regional Park Authority said:

“This new route makes it much easier for people to discover the rewarding and ecologically important areas of Lee Valley Regional Park between Stratford and the Thames. It’s fitting that this vital connection opens during the Regional Park’s 50th year. It is one of the last key stretches of walkway linking up the 26 mile long park’s outstanding open spaces and world class sports venues.”

Tom Holbrook, Director at 5th Studio said:

“We are delighted to exhibit a decade of design work to create the Lea River Park. The project transforms a former industrial backland into a new foreground space for London, in one of the fastest growing parts of the city. The Lea River Park is a new landscape for London which draws on the valley’s extraordinary history. The central connecting linear park -the Leaway, – reconnects communities and neighbourhoods whilst creating a continuous and attractive walking and cycling route for visitors.”

Hadrian Garrard, Director of Create, said:

“Things are changing so fast in east London, it can be hard to keep up. The Odd Guides provide a unique perspective on the area from the point of view of teenagers who live near the Leaway. Made with local artists, you can pick these beautiful guides up from dispensers along the river, for free, and go on a walk which will totally change how you see this unusual and exciting part of the City. We’re also working on a Grime soundtrack to the Leaway, also made with local young people, which you will be able to download onto your phone. This will be launched later this autumn and we’re really excited about this.”

The Lea River Park is being delivered by the London Legacy Development Corporation, LB Newham and Tower Hamlets, in Partnership with TfL, the GLA and the Lea Valley Regional Park Authority. It was designed by architects 5th Studio.