Did you know London only has one lighthouse located in Trinity Buoy Wharf? Or that Newham has more waterways than Venice?

A freshly launched walking route, the Leaway, and accompanying exhibition aims to show people the mix of wildlife and urban sites along the River Lea.

Stretching from the Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park all the way down to Royal Docks, the route was inaccessible for years but has recently been opened to the public.

Leaway walk and exhibition

Made possible by the development of the Lea River Park by the London Legacy Development Corporation and Newham and Tower Hamlets councils, the project marks the final section in the creation of a 26-mile long Lee Valley Regional Park.

First envisaged by Sir Patrick Abercrombie in 1944, the regional park connects Ware in Hertfordshire to the Thames, opening up 45 acres of space, linked by the Leaway route ,which can be traversed on foot in around two hours.

There are also a series of cycle paths.

Leaway walk and exhibition

Corporation spokesman Dr Paul Brickell said: “The Thames may be known as the lifeblood of London, but much less is known about the Lea and its rich history.

“Over the years much of the land along the river has been inaccessible, and I’m delighted more people will be able to explore this hidden and often-forgotten but fascinating part of east London.”

Landmarks along the Leaway route include Three Mills, the world’s biggest tidal mill, which was listed in the Domesay Book and is home to Master Chef as a film studio.

Other attractions include an ex Yardley soap factory, Cody Dock in Canning Town, the spot where India Pale Ale was first brewed at the Bow Brewery, Bow Ecology Park, where walkers can see newts, water scorpions and flocks of wading birds, and Trinity Buoy Wharf where the Lea joins the Thames.

Leaway walk and exhibition

A series of free Odd Guides exploring the contribution the Lea has made to Londoners have been created by teenagers from Lower Lea Valley with arts organisation Create and can be picked up at points along the route.

Chief executive of Lee Valley Regional Park Authority Shaun Dawson said: “It’s fitting this vital connection opens during the Regional Park’s 50th year.”

Leaway walk and exhibition

In addition to the Leaway, an exhibition charting the history and future plans for the Lea River Park has also opened at New London Architecture.

Tom Holbrook, director of 5th Studio which designed the Park, said: “We are delighted to exhibit a decade of design work to create the Lea River Park.

“The project transforms a former industrial backland into a new foreground space for London, in one of the fastest growing parts of the city.”

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