Inspired by Amanda’s lovely walk along the Thames from Hammersmith Bridge to Chiswick Mall, I thought I’d take you on my favourite weekend walk.
As Amanda said, walking is absoloutley the best way to get around London as one discovers so many interesting things. Since getting a dog I have explored parts of my local borough I didn’t know existed and discovered that despite its urban image, Hackney is one of the greenest areas of London.
My favourite walk starts at Abney Park Cemetery, one of the oldest cemeteries in London. It was built in 1840, to cater for the over vastly over crowded, small, London Parish Church grave yards and the first non-denominational garden cemetery in London. A strange and wonderful place, filled with rare birds and plants, dog walkers, street drinkers and cruising men, it continues to it’s reputation for attracting dissidents.
Up through Stamford Hill, home to the Hasidic Jewish community (no pictures, it was Saturday and everyone was in the synagogue) and onto Springfield Park in Upper Clapton.
The park was formed in 1905 from the grounds of three private houses, one of which still survives as the cafe. A quick pit stop for coffee, a full English for MAD and a browse through the lovely messages attached to a wishing tree.
The park is situated next to the River Lea tow path and Springfield Marina, home to a large narrow boat community. It’s an idyllic, special place full of unexpected surprises, with the occasional book or herbal barge popping up.
We cross the river to Walthamstow Marshes, a wide open space, which feels a million miles away from Hackney and is home to several species of insect and birds unique, to the area. We end up at Lee Valley Ice Rink and the edge of Hackney Marshes – if we kept going, we’d eventually end up at the Olympic Park.
We turn off and walk past Homerton and through Lower Clapton – known as Murder Mile in the 90’s – this area has become increasingly fashionable since Hackney become the official “home of the hipster”.
We eventually end up on Stoke Newington High Street and pop into the weekly farmers market to stock up on wholesome goodies, before heading home, past the eclectic array of local shops.