Bow Creek Ecology Park is a small linear park of about 2.6 hectares (6.4 acres) on a peninsula formed by a bend in the River Lea at Newham. The park features small streams, interlinked ponds and meadows, with the tidal River Lea always nearby. The site in linked by a riverside walkway to the nearby East India Dock Basin Nature Reserve. The site is part of the Lee Valley Regional Park, run by the Lee Valley Regional Park Authority. (A fenced off areas through the middle of the park is owned by Transport for London and carries the Dockland Light Railway between East India and Canning Town stations.) Address: Bow Creek Ecology Park, Bidder Street, London E16 4ST (Map:; OS grid reference TQ391811)
The site was originally osier beds but became an iron works in 1846 run by the Thames Iron Works & Shipbuilding Co. After the company closed in 1912, the site lay neglected until it was incorporated into the London Docklands Development Corporation plans in the 1990s, when it was converted into an ecology park (then called the Limmo Peninsula Ecological Park) after a survey identified a number of rare plants and grasses on the site including exotic “stow-away” species which had self-seeded after being carried into the area aboard cargo boats, along with a number of national rarities such as the Hairy Buttercup, Walthamstow Cress and Unreel’s Wormwood, found nowhere else but Docklands. When the LDDC was wound up in 1998, the site was transferred to the Lee Valley Regional Park Authority in 1998 but had to be closed because of health and safety issues relating to built infrastructure and the restriction of public access due to work on improving the A13, which crosses the head of the peninsula. After completion of a £1.2 million restoration project, the site was officially opened to the public on 21 June 2006 as a nature reserve and a site for environmental education.
The site has been landscaped to provide wildflower meadows and a series of interlinked ponds. The peninsula is surrounded by the tidal River Lea, with large areas of exposed mud at low tide.
Bow Creek forms an important part of the Lee Valley migration route, and is one of the last remaining seminatural areas left along the Lower Lea. The site attracts up to 40 roosting Redshank and the exposed mud at low tide also brings in numerous other bird species such as Teal. One or two Common Sandpiper overwinter. As as part of a biodiversity action plan, a Kingfisher and Sand Martin bank has been installed. (The bank may be there to attract extraterrestrial visitors from one of our neighbouring planets, since the LVRPA site management plan for 2006–2011 describes it as a “Sand Martian” bank.) (Further information needed, please)
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The meadows and open waters attract numerous butterflies and dragonflies. The ponds are full of pond life, notably the scorpion, an indicator of water quality.
(Further information needed, please)
The site can be reached easily from Canning Town Station, which is served by both the Docklands Light Railway and the London Underground Jubilee Line. Take the station exit signed "Bow Creek". Turn right out of the station and follow the path along the river a short way to the gates of the park. The adjacent bus station is served by bus routes 5, 69, 115, 147, 241, 300, 309, 323, 330, 474, N15, N550 and N551. (Information needed about where to park cars if arriving by road.)
The park is open daily 8am to dusk. A surfaced path winds around the edge of the site.
The site includes observation points, information boards and seating.
This page has been cobbled together from various internet sources by someone who has never visited the site but thinks that it deserves a page on this website because it keeps cropping up on the Latest News page. Walking directions added by a visitor to the park on 21 June 2017. If you are familiar with the site, please correct, expand and/or update this information (and delete or amend this paragraph).