We entered the park by the Threes Mills tide mills and soon encountered the white elephant that is Three Mills Lock.
"The lock cuts off this section of the Bow Back Rivers from the tide, creating new opportunities for leisure boats, water taxis, trip boats and floating restaurants. It also helps freight traffic such as barges carrying construction materials to the sites of the 2012 Olympics and Stratford City".
The section in italics is utter tosh.Prescott Lock, as it is also known, was built in 2009 in preparation for the 2012 Olympics. and could handle two 350 ton barges at a time. But it never has.
British Waterways spent £20m in building a lock which has never been used as intended. The successor to BW - C&RT - now says it was built for flood control (The Bow Back Rivers are tidal) but a lock is not needed to control tides. Until the 1960s there was an operable sluice here doing the job adequately. It was removed in the 1980s. By whom? Why, BW of course. £20m represents a whole year's boat license income for BW.
|Abbey Mill Sewerage Pumping Station|
Not far from the lock is the Abbey Lane sewerage pumping station.. For such an unsavoury purpose this is a fairly elegantly executed design.
However I prefer the 19th century version nearby which was designed by Joseph Bazelgette. When we last visited this area it was impossible to get a clear view of this attractive building because of the trees. I think the view from the Greenway was cleared for the benefit of the Olympic tourists.
Alongside the Abbey Mill pumping station is an elevated pathway which is now called the East London Greenway. It houses the sewer that Bazelgette built and until twenty years ago was usually referred to as Sewerbank.
We walked along Sewerbank until we reached the Olympic Park.
We entered the park near to the pool. This is in use and must be a wonderful place to go swimming.
It did not look quite as tranquil during the Easter holidays.
Six-year-old Dominic was asked by one of the lady staff to count the steps on his way down, which he did. To save you the effort I will share that knowledge with you: there are 431 steps.
There were strange banging noises emanating from the athletics stadium which we learned was part of the work to prepare it for a non-Olympic life.
One which took my fancy is this wall of wooden blocks. they can be turned round to create a pattern or letters.
The one thing which will really make this park work is when canal boats are allowed to navigate the canals. This will guarantee a lasting interest for the visiting public.