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Organisation Reference Lee Valley Regional Park Authority
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This information has been provided by the Lee Valley Regional Park Authority and is supplied in its original format.

Lee Valley Regional Park

The Lee Valley Regional Park Authority was created by Act of Parliament in 1967 to serve the people of Hertfordshire, Essex and Greater London. The Act conferred a duty on the Authority to, "develop, improve, preserve and manage or to procure or arrange for the development, improvement, preservation and management of the park as a place for the occupation of leisure, recreation, sport, games or amusements or any similar activity, for the provision of nature reserves and for the provision and enjoyment of entertainments of any kind."

The Regional Park consists of 4,000 hectares of open space and nature reserves, interspersed with various leisure facilities. There are also pockets of residential, industrial or horticultural developments. It is located in North East London and follows the course of the River Lea for almost 40 km (25 miles) from the River Thames at East India Dock Basin (Bow Creek) in Poplar out to the southern edge of Ware in Hertfordshire. To the south separate sites are linked by a system of waterways and the River Lee Navigation towing path. Gilwell Lane, the Greenway (NOSE), the towing paths of the Limehouse Cut, the Hertford Union Canal and the City Mill River, known as linear extensions, are also part of the Park.

The Park is a key element in the open space network of London and the south-east region of the UK. It is part of London’s Green Belt, a green corridor of countryside penetrating through the urban area. The character of the Regional Park is dominated by water bodies, rivers and streams. Through the length of the Park there are the linear waterways of the River Lea, the River Lee Navigation, the River Stort, the Flood Relief Channel and the various smaller rivers and the system of Bow Back Rivers. The north of the Park is dominated by water filled gravel pits in different stages of maturity. The south is dominated by large water supply reservoirs, surrounded by the urban development of London.

The amount and variety of open water habitat is a key feature of the Lee Valley Regional Park. Open waters support large amounts of vegetation and a wide variety of animals. Many of them provide important breeding and wintering sites for waterbirds. Five of the eight Sites of Special Scientific Interest (SSSIs) in the Regional Park are notified, at least partly, on the basis of the communities associated with the open water habitats. The associated bird communities are recognised to be of international importance.The Valley is used regularly by 1% or more of the British population of Bittern and 1% or more of the populations of Shoveler and Gadwall in north west/central Europe. This significance is recognised by the classification of land and water comprising the Amwell Quarry, Rye Meads, Turnford and Cheshunt Pits and Walthamstow Reservoirs SSSIs as a Special Protection Area and listing of the same area as a Wetland of International Importance ("Ramsar site"). More scarce species, including birds, aquatic flora, invertebrates, fish and mammals are associated with open water habitats than any other habitat in the Valley.

Dates Referenced August 2001
Contact Details

Mr Tim Hill – Nature Conservation Officer
Lee Valley Regional Park
Park Operations
Abbey Mills
Highbridge Street
Waltham Abbey

Fax: 01992 651406

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