The Landscape Guide

Lee Valley Regional Park landscape

The 1984 London Landscape Guide entry on the Lea Valley was as follows " Abercrombie's 1944 Greater London Plan proposed a regional park in the Lee Valley and in 1968 an Authority was formed to make a 37km long park. It reaches from hackney in the East End of London to Ware in Hertfordshire. Progress has been slow but it is worth visiting Broxbourne Lido, Waltham Abbey Gardens, the Eastway Cycle Track and Springfield Marina. Abercrombie wrote that 'here is a magnificent opportunity for landscape treatment and tree planting' but few landscape architects have worked on the Park. One notable exception is the Markfield Action Playground designed by Mary Mitchell. A disused sewage works was transformed into an adventure playground by making the site a free tip until sufficient subsoil accumulated to create grassed hills, mounds and ridges. The filter beds provide spaces for roller skating, archery etc." The mistake in the early development of the park was the appointment of a sport-minded accountant as chief executive of the Park Authority. His undoubted preference was for spending money on sports facilities which would generate revenue. Landscape development had a very low priority. Another problem was that much of the best recreational land in the Lea Valley was, and is, controlled by the Thames Water Authority. Disregarding the excellent water treatment given to every drop of water, Thames Water saw its role as the discouragement of any recreational activity which might allow an extra grain of dirt get into the water before that drop of water experienced the authority's excellent water treatment facilities.

Between 1984 and 2005 there were significant improvements to the footpath network and a connection to Victoria Park was made. In 2005 the Lee Valley was chosen for the 2012 Olympic Games. See: commentary on development of the entire Lea Valley for the 2012 London Olympic Games. This development will transform the Park - and it is heartening that the landscape architects (EDAW) have emphasised the legacy of the Olympic Games to East London from the outset of the planning process.

(Note: Lee and Lea are alternative spellings of the name)

Access from Crowland Road N15, or from many other places - the park has a length of 23 miles.

HOMEPAGE - Landscape Architecture London List

The Lea Valley has a fascinating walkway network

The Lea Valley Park Authority prefered sporting development to landscape development.

As often in London, there is bureaucratic competition over the signposting of long-distance walks.

Lea Valley Park

Lea Valley Park (alternative spelling Lee Valley)

Lea Valley Park, London