Saturday, November 17, 2012

Bow Riverside, River Lee Navigation, East London

The footbridge at Bow Riverside on the River Lee Navigation, near to the Bow Interchange.
It was on Saturday 20th October, a somewhat murky afternoon, that Jeannie, Alison and myself decided to walk the towpath of the Lee Navigation from Hackney Marshes to Limehouse Basin. The Lee Navigation itself is a canalised section of the River Lea and forms a part of a complicated network of rivers, cuttings, overflows channels and streams - one of which runs past the rear of my flat - that dominate the geography of the local area.

About 3½ miles into the walk, with the rain beginning to fall, we reached the point where the Lee Navigation meets Bow Back River. 

I immediately fell in love with the relatively new bridge that crosses the river at this point. I think what fascinated me about it wasn't so much the angular design of it, but more the way in which it blended perfectly into this strange urban-rural hinterland - or 'edgeland' as some have called such landscapes.

The navigable river, with its old trees and foliage on the banks, gives the walker a sense of seclusion from the urban environment around them, yet the warehouses and brownfield sites just a few metres further away on either side of them remind them that they're still in a built-up and industrialised area. A strange feeling indeed.

This crossing of wood and metal, with it's rusted looking fenders that protect not just the bridge, but the planted reed-beds in which wildlife can thrive, seems to bridge the gap between urban and rural perfectly.

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