Many of the former brownfield sites that can be found all over East London were not designated to become open spaces. But there were aspirations for the area that is now Mile End Park to be protected from development.
Stretching from Roman Road to Lime House, this patchwork of open spaces has been created from the edges of the canal where industry once lined its banks.
Warehouses, piled high with wood, were inevitable targets for bombing raids in the Second World War.
Amongst all the devastation there were hopes and plans for the creation of a linear park running alongside the Regents Canal with all the fragments of open spaces linked together in a continuous stretch of varied and natural habitats for wildlife.
Roads and railway lines dissected this open space, interrupting any attempt to enjoy a peaceful walk by people and preventing the potential spread and movement of flora and fauna.
Imaginative and ambitious developments were needed – and the most amazing one of these was the construction of The Green Bridge, taking the wide open space across the endlessly busy Mile End Road and creating a seamless link between the two main stretches of parkland.
Now this rural corridor cuts right across London’s East End and the landscape changes continually - timber walkways over reed beds, tracks across open grassland, woodland walks and hedgerows. There are forest glades where trees have been coppiced to allow light through so that wild flowers and butterflies can thrive.
Over 400 species of beetles, including the very rare streaked bombadier, have been identified as well as 170 types of spiders, of which two have never been recorded in the British Isles before.
The spread of this area of bio diversity has allowed and encouraged these tiny but essential creatures to live and breed.
Toads, bees and grasshoppers thrive in the different eco systems that have been created, making the aim to “Bring the countryside to the East End” one that has succeeded beyond all expectations.