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Springfield Park

The views from Springfield Park show how deep and wide the Lea Valley is.

Up above, the houses and blocks of flats of Clapton create a giant staircase, many of them with a view because they are stacked up the steep slope behind the park. And across the valley to the other side and beyond – a landscape of buildings and trees stretching out for miles.

Springfield Park may have been designed by landscape artists but it is in tune with nature.

It seems all the more natural because it is on a hillside so it would have been difficult to lay out a neat and symmetrical design.

The paths lead to intriguing places to explore and even to hide away because so many of its features are out of sight until you arrive at them.

It is easy to picture it as the meadowland that it once was with springs that are still there, the water finding its way to the surface between the London clay at its lower end and gravel towards the top of the hill.

But in between the tranquility of the meadows and the present day open space there was a time when there was industry here, with calico manufacturers and a varnish factory.

Imagine the noise, the pollution and the endless days of sweat and toil. There was even a road running across this park.

There is no hint of any of these past activities these days. The ground is now covered with grass and trees, a peaceful rural landscape.

It is always surprising to discover how rural becomes urban and then rural once more, a pattern throughout East London.

Walk across the river from Walthamstow Marshes or train to Clapton


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