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Central London is moving east, we are told by planners and politicians. And certainly the scale and pace of change in Canary Wharf and Stratford are unprecedented and seemingly unstoppable.
But the area between these two development ‘hubs’ is very different. The Lea Valley remains one of the least known, connections are hard to find and the urban area is seemingly impossible to navigate, certainly on foot.
This is an opportunity to join the dots between these two important locations in 21st century London, and to begin to understand how this new city does - and doesn’t - fit together. The walk follows the path of the lost Channelsea River out of Stratford, on past Bazalgette’s glorious ‘Cathedral of Sewage’ at Abbey Mills, and historic Three Mills, down the banks of the Lea to Bow Locks. Then, on through modest Poplar with its Festival of Britain Lansbury Estate and infamous Balfron Tower, before making the giant leap into the brave new world of Canary Wharf, ending at the new Crossrail station, which opens this year. Your guide is Ralph Ward, who has worked on the planning and development of the area for over twenty years, most recently as Olympic planning and regeneration advisor for the Department for Communities and Local Government. He is now visiting professor at the University of East London.