Do you take a beautiful walk somewhere in Barking and Dagenham and would like to share this with others? Get in touch and we can add your walk to the growing Wild Walks Collection which will be online soon.
Five boats have formed the River Roding Mooring Community and have moved upstream of Cowbridge Lane, to become the first boats ever to live on the Roding above Barking Creek. One of the key parts of our project was to open up a new riverside path along the Roding, connecting the existing riverside path (which peters out soon after the footbridge at Cowbridge Lane) with Romford Road, 1.5 miles to the North. This piece of riverside land offers a unique opportunity; the building of the North Circular means that the land was cut off from the surrounding area, so it couldn’t be built on. There is an unbroken stretch of unused land running alongside the river, all of it publicly owned. There is nowhere else in London where a new riverside walk and park could be created along such a long unbroken stretch.
To start making this happen, a group of us began to cut back the vegetation and undergrowth to form a path, starting at the Barking end. It was tough going in places, with brambles over head-height, but over a number of weeks, we managed to cut a path all the way through to Ilford. We discovered what a lovely place this strip of land was. There were many beautiful trees, some of the most stunning being a tunnel of cherry trees that lined both sides of the path and were covered in blossom. The riverbank was lined with huge reeds and there were many birds to be seen and heard. However, although the North Circular is the reason for the survival of this green corridor, it is also its biggest downside and you have to learn how to tune out the almost constant hum of nearby traffic! Nonetheless, we hope that our work so far is merely the start of the project to give access to this green oasis to local people and make it a jewel of the borough.
What do we need going forward with the project? First and foremost we need people to use the path. Not only because it is a place that deserves to be seen and used, but also because using the path helps to keep the vegetation down, as it grows back so fast. Therefore we need residents who are interested in growing, being outdoors and getting their hands dirty to help keep the vegetation in check and, in the longer-term, funding to put down some kind of gravel or hard standing path.