Greenwich Peninsula

We tried riding the Greenwich cable car yesterday, but the bridge to nowhere proved too popular. Queues of more than an hour long (presumably on both sides although we never crossed over to find out) forced a change of plan, so instead we enjoyed the peninsula river walk, which is fully reopened, following the cable car's completion and is at least one good reason for someone to take the sky ride, which looked spectacular.

The walk stretches between the yacht club at the south end and the O2 at the north. In between, the riverside is dotted with pocket parks ranging from carefully tended lawns to rocky playgrounds, long grasses and a radar station. Like the Thames Barrier Park on the north bank, it's one of the east's millennial treasures.
The developers responsible for the peninsula have been cash-strapped and spread themselves thinly between their interests in Greenwich and Wembley, so there is still very little housing in the area, which is also flanked by heavy industry downstream and across the water. Most passengers alighting at North Greenwich are funneled straight towards the dome. The effect is that the riverbank is normally very quiet - a manicured wilderness.

The highlight is undoubted the Ecology Park, 121 hectares of wetlands, rushy walkways and birdwatching hides. The peninsula is also the only place in London you can see giant metal sculptures by Anthony Gormley (Quantum Cloud - fantastic) and Anish Kapoor (The Orbit - tried really hard to like it, but can't)  in the same view.

5 comments:

Cuppicake said...

the london pleasure garden opened yesterday, so may have added to the queues.

16" East said...

Went on at 8 45pm tonight - no queues at all if you go early or late, and they are very happy to give you a carriage per couple/group too. It might not be going anywhere very useful (more of interest on the Greenwich side of course) but the views from a great height, from Thames barriers, O2, canary wharf, city, as well as industry and river bends are simply wonderful. Loved it. Oh and yes - USE OYSTER and go straight in - skip the ticket office/machine queue!!!

Anonymous said...

It has to be said that the first part of the walk, where it used to start at Ballast Quay, by the Cutty Sark pub, has been decimated, and because of stalled development looks set to continue as a piecemeal solution.

Personally I treasure the remnants of the old path that remain - and I used to walk it regularly in the 80s - then, and parts of it remain, an unreconstructed ramble through a largely lost heritage of the area - with cargo boats still having ballast craned off at various points - the Hanson aggregate yard still remains of course and presumably that still gets brought in by boat - and that quay is an ideal spot for a child to topple off the edge and into the Thames.

It's a pity that when it gets to the Dome it's a sanitised walk - still enjoyable for the views and pleasant to cycle along, but with little creativity of thought and a slightly dispiriting walk. Beyond the Dome the new developments make something of their waterside vantage point but all that area will be filled with blocks of flats in the usual manner all too soon.

Brockley Nick said...

Totally agree about the aggregate yard - really evocative and strangely beautiful.

Mb said...

I remeber the cast from The Bill drinking in the Cutty Sark one lunchtime, used to use the tatty parts there for location stuff...meeting villans for brown envelopes etc.

And don't forget Enderby Wharf, where the early subsea telephone cables were loaded onto the ships from the factory there, now Alcatel-Lucent. That's listed and does (or did?) have the cable winding gear still intact.

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