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Roberts in February 2011; and also because of the ever-increasing controversies over the development and legacy of the site of the 2012 London Olympics.

in Leagrave Park, north of Luton, it flows south east through Hertfordshire (by Welwyn Garden City). It enters Greater London near Waltham Cross, then moves through East London via Enfield Lock, Ponders End and Tottenham Hale; through Upper Clapton, Hackney Wick, Stratford, Bromley-by-Bow (past Fish Island), Canning Town; and, finally to the Thames just east of the Isle of Dogs. The lower Lea Valley is the area around the final leg of the river’s journey through the London Boroughs of Hackney, Newham and Tower Hamlets, which all have sites which were demolished and redeveloped to host the 2012 Olympic and Paralympic Games. It has a long and fascinating history – its landscape is the result of centuries of use and change, comprising a complex network of canals and rivers, roads and railways, interspersed with former industrial sites, gasworks and bridges, derelict land, factories and warehouses, and light industry. It also contains places where certain species of plant and invertebrate, which could no longer thrive in the country due to changes in farming practice, have flourished, which is a common feature of areas on the urban/rural fringe. The history of the lower Lea

Valley highlights common factors in Trevor’s work - the relationship between natural phenomena, man’s intervention, and phases of decay and renewal which cumulatively created the urban wilderness or ‘edgeland’ known as the lower Lea Valley, which existed prior to development of the area for the 2012


Olympic Games. It was the environmental activist, writer and lecturer, Marion Shoard, who first used the term ‘edgeland’ in 2002 to describe ‘the interfacial interzone between urban and rural’; and also called for poets and novelists to celebrate these areas. Edgelands in general, and the lower Lea Valley in particular, attracted considerable media attention following the publication and reviews of ‘Edgelands: Journeys Into England’s True Wilderness’ by poets Paul Farley and Michael Symmons

A History of Change The lower Lea Valley is an example of how an area is affected by changing priorities, for example, with the growth then decline of industry, increasing environmental concerns, and the development of the Olympics sites which also have social, economic and political implications; and also how these cyclical changes affect communities – established and new.


demonstrates the principle that natural green spaces are essential to the vitality of industrial urban zones. The history of the changing relationship of man to land or, in the urban context, to space is demonstrated in the lower Lea Valley; and how this relationship (man to land or space), the essence of man’s being as a species, can be enriched by closer contact with nature.

The lower Lea Valley has the

Picture of the run down Lower Lea Valley prior to its regeneration with the construction of the Olympic Park

Painting – Union 2, by Trevor Wood If you are interested in Trevor’s work on the lower Lea Valley or the ‘wilderness’ landscapes of his native Scotland, his website is and he is happy to make appointments to view at his studio in East London. He also undertakes web page design at very reasonable cost.

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