Lower Lea Valley

The Lower Lea Valley is the southern end of the Lea Valley which surrounds the River Lea. It is part of the Thames Gateway redevelopment area and was the location of the 2012 Summer Olympics.

A 2005 documentary What Have You Done Today, Mervyn Day? focused on the history and landscape of the Lower Lea Valley. The film was made by Paul Kelly in conjunction with British pop group Saint Etienne.[1]


The Lower Lea Valley can be described as the part to the south of the long chain of reservoirs which end with the East and West Warwick Reservoirs. The Lea changes course at this point, changing from a SSW to a SSE direction for the last five miles before it's confluence with the Thames at Blackwall and Canning Town.

The north-west of the area is in the London Borough of Hackney, the south-east is in the London Borough of Newham, the south-west is in the London Borough of Tower Hamlets, and the north-east is in the London Borough of Waltham Forest.


The Lower Lea includes Hackney Marshes and the Lea River Park, a collection of six parks which connect Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park to the Royal Docks and the River Thames; linked by the Leaway.

The redevelopment of the Lea River Park opens up 45 acres of new space creating walkways and cycle paths. The project completes the 26-mile long Lee Valley Regional Park which connects Ware in Hertfordshire to the River Thames.

It takes an hour to walk the entire Lea River Park with the opportunity to stop off and learn about some of the area's rich history, including:

  • Dane's Yard – the first phase of Vastint's 26-acre Sugar House Island project. Dane's Yard is a Conservation Area sensitively being refurbished into a business hub for creative industries. The Sugar House, a Victorian warehouse on site, is one of the development's buildings being refurbished.
  • Three Mills – a beautiful and historic area which is home to the world's biggest tide mill (which was listed in the Domesday Book). The mills were originally used to grind grain for flour (Stratford bakers were renowned and mentioned by Chaucer). Later the mills ground grain to make gin, and a large distillery was set up on Three Mills Island. Owned at the time by Nicholson, it fuelled the gin graze in London. The distillery is now 3 Mills Studio, an independent film studio, home of MasterChef and many British-made films.
  • Bow Ecology Park – a thriving wildlife sanctuary with newts, water scorpions and flocks of wading birds.
  • Trinity Buoy Wharf – home to London's only lighthouse.
  • Cody Dock – a formerly derelict dock which is being transformed into a thriving creative community space.
  • The banks of the Lea at the Bow Brewery where India Pale Ale was first brewed.

Redevelopment areas

Responsibility for the redevelopment of most of the area was under the remit of the London Thames Gateway Development Corporation until 2012. The area around the Olympic site is now under the control of the London Legacy Development Corporation. It forms part of the Green Enterprise District. Part of the area is an enterprise zone including Silvertown Quays, Royal Albert Dock and Royal Albert Basin.[2] Current areas identified for redevelopment are:


  1. Saints of the screen Retrieved 26 November 2011
  2. "Archived copy". Archived from the original on 9 October 2012. Retrieved 11 October 2012.CS1 maint: archived copy as title (link)
  3. "Tesco Bromley-by-Bow scheme gets go-ahead".
  4. "Archived copy". Archived from the original on 23 October 2012. Retrieved 11 October 2012.CS1 maint: archived copy as title (link)
  5. "Chobham Manor". Archived from the original on 4 November 2012.
  6. Dyckhoff, Tom (27 July 2012). "Let's move to Stratford and the Olympic Park, east London". The Guardian. London.
  7. "East Wick". Archived from the original on 28 May 2013.
  8. "Marshgate Wharf". Archived from the original on 28 May 2013.
  9. "London 2012 Olympic Park suburb names unveiled". The Guardian. 2 August 2011.
  10. http://www.silvertown-quays.com/
  11. "Stratford City". Archived from the original on 24 October 2012.
  12. "New 'cut price' office space seeks to lure start-ups from Shoreditch". Evening Standard. Retrieved 4 June 2018.
  13. "Where young Londoners should look for new waterside homes without paying a Thames-side premium". Homes and Property. 1 May 2018. Retrieved 4 June 2018.

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