The Greenwich Peninsula is formed by a northward loop in the River Thames between Greenwich and Woolwich. Its main birding features are the Greenwich Peninsula Ecology Park, with 11 hectares (27 acres) of freshwater wetland and meadows, and the Thames Path, which affords good views of the river and its foreshore.Edit
Address (Ecology Park): The Ecology Park Gatehouse, Thames Path, John Harrison Way, London SE10 0QZ. (Map:; OS grid reference TQ400792)
The peninsula was originally marshland, which was drained by Dutch engineers in the 16th century, allowing it to be used as pasture. From the early 19th century onwards, the peninsula was steadily industrialised. It acquired a range of industries but for over 100 years from the 1880s it was dominated by a huge gasworks that grew to cover 97 hectares (240 acres) — the largest in Europe at nearly a square kilometre. Closure of the gasworks and other industries in the late 20th century left much of the peninsula a barren wasteland, heavily contaminated. By 1968 the only green space left on the peninsula was the British Gas playing fields (where the Sainsbury's and Comet superstores are now located). But from the 1970s onwards the gas works declined and marsh began to reappear on derelict land. Since the early 1990s, public and private investment has dramatically changed the peninsula's topography. The transport network has been enhanced and new homes, commercial space and community facilities have been created. These changes have been accompanied by the development of public open spaces and the opening up of access to the riverside. The ecology park, which opened in 2002, was been constructed to reflect the nature of the original marshland on the peninsula. The park is a partnership project of the Homes and Communities Agency and is managed by the Trust for Urban Ecology (TRUE). Other green spaces include Central Park, which runs through the central spine of the peninsula.
Ecology Park — The ecology park contains two lakes, marshland, shingle beach, alder carr, shallow pools, willow beds and meadow. These multiple habitats have been created to attract a diverse range of animals including amphibians, fish and insects. The two lakes are filled by water pumped from a chalk borehole deep underground to ensure the water quality is suitable for wildlife, and the water levels are controlled to mimic natural seasonal variations — low in summer and high in winter. A major reason for the creation of the willow beds is that willows help to remediate the environment and restore species and habitats loss during industrialisation. Willows are tolerant of toxins and pollutants and help to remove them from the soil, soaking up metals such as silver, chromium, mercury, lead, selenium and zinc, as well as organic contaminants.
Thames Path — The Thames Path runs round the peninsula, generally close to the riverbank with views over the river and foreshore. On the western side of the peninsula there are views across Blackwall Reach to the east shores of the Isle of Dogs; on the north-east side there are views across Bugsby’s Reach to the Silvertown shore and downstream to the Thames Barrier.
Birds — Common Snipe and Water Rail can be seen in the ecology park in winter. Little Grebe and Common Tern breed in the summer. Unusual gulls may appear on the Thames foreshore, including Caspian Gull and Yellow-legged Gull and the infamous leucistic Herring Gull with the “SH1T” leg ring. Black Redstart are also found in the area. The ecology park is a good site for warblers and passage migrant passerines. Further information needed, please
Other vertebrates— Anyone know about bats and other mammals? Or reptiles? According to the ecology park website, amphibians include frogs, toads and newts, but no information is given about individual species. Information needed, please
Invertebrates — The ecology park website says: “In spring and summer the Park comes alive with brightly coloured dragonflies and damselflies, and look out for butterflies over the meadow areas.” More detailed information needed, please
Directions— Once difficult to reach, the Greenwich Peninsula is now well served by roads and has a good public transport network. London Underground’s North Greenwich tube station (Jubilee Line), which opened in 1999, has a neighbouring bus station, served by routes 108 (Stratford to Lewisham),129 (from Greenwich), 132 (from Bexleyheath via Eltham and Blackheath), 161 (from Chislehurst via Woolwich) 188 (from Russell Square via Waterloo, Canada Water and Greenwich), 422 (from Bexleyheath via Plumstead and Woolwich), 472 (from Thamesmead via Woolwich) and 486 (from Bexleyheath via Charlton). North Greenwich Pier offers a commuter boat service from other parts of London, both east and west, and the Emirates Air Line is a cable car service across the Thames from the Royal Victoria Dock (close to the Royal Victoria DLR station).
If travelling from North Greenwich tube station, buses 108, 129, 161 and 472 all stop at the Millennium Village - Oval Square, next to the Ecology Park; two stops; the 132 and 486 also stop here, but only run at the weekend. Walk through the park to the Gatehouse at the River Thames side of the park.
Access — The inner part of the ecology park is open from 10am to 5pm (dusk if earlier), from Wednesday to Sunday (admission is free) CLOSED MONDAYS AND TUESDAYS. The outer area has open access at all times, as does the Thames path. There is good disabled access at all sites.
Facilities — Food and drink can be purchased at a Sainsbury’s store south of the ecology park at 55 Bugsby’s Way. The store includes a branch of the execrable Starbucks. New restaurants and shops have opened facing onto Peninsula Square and Green Place. There are several pubs in the area.
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 crops up on the Latest News page. If you are familiar with the site, please correct, expand and/or update this information (and delete or amend this paragraph). Updated by Paul Francis following a visit on Tuesday(!) 24.7.18.