Monday, July 04, 2022

Mudchute Park and Farm

London The Unfinished City
A sheep at Mudchute Park and Farm with Canary Wharf in the background.

Sunday July 3, 2022.

I had been meaning to take Erin and Keilyn to Mudchute Park and Farm for quite a while, now, so, as we had nothing else planned, we set off to the station (Metropolitan line to Finchley Road, Jubilee line to Canary Wharf) and began our latest exploratory.

After exiting Canary Wharf station we took a meandering route along the old docks, where yachts and narrowboats were moored, while some people had taken to the still waters in kayaks.

London The Unfinished City
Canary Wharf on a Sunday.

Eventually we found East Ferry Road and made our way around the Asda car park, which brought us to the entrance of Mudchute Park and Farm.

From this entrance you can take a number of routes as the path branches in a number of directions. We took the centre one, which led us past meadows and fields until we reached a Remembrance Garden and a 3.5" Ack-Ack gun. 

London The Unfinished City
Erin and Keilyn with an Ack-Ack anti-aircraft gun.

With paths heading of in different directions we decided to turn right which lead us between fields of ram and sheep and a huge meadow, where people were sitting and enjoying the afternoon sun, with the buildings of Canary Wharf as a backdrop.

London The Unfinished City
Canary Wharf from Mudchute Park and Farm.

We then followed the path to the left, where we saw a myriad variety of turkeys and chickens, quickly followed by some pigs. 

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Keilyn and Erin with chickens.

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Here's looking at you, kid.

After the pond with its wide of range of geese and ducks we saw horses, cows, goats, donkeys and llamas, while parakeets called from the tree canopy above.

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Ducks and a Chinese Goose.

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Time for a drink.

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Cows off for a wander.

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Keilyn and a ram.

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Mountain goats and Llamas.

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Billy Goat.

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Llamas.

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Some serious horns, here.

We then made our way to the Mudchute Kitchen where, along with many others, we grabbed a table and ate our lunches in the glorious afternoon sun. Suitably fed we made our way back to the park proper and took to the paths we had not yet trod.

London The Unfinished City
Erin and Keilyn: Free Range Children.

Walking along the boundary path, in the shade of the tall trees, came as a welcome respite from hot sun.

London The Unfinished City
Canary Wharf from Mudchute Park and Farm.

Once we had seen everything things that there was to offer, we headed out of the park, via its southeast entrance, and made our way towards Island Gardens DLR station, ready to begin our journey towards home.

Brief History

Most of the land across the Isle of Dogs was owned by the Millwall Freehold Land and Dock Company, who intended to use the land to extend to the east, to link up with the River Thames. Although this never happened they used the land to dump silt dredged from the Millwall Docks, while the rest was leased as pasture.

The stench of the dredged silt and mud, which was transported to the area via a pneumatic pipe, or mud shoot, over East Ferry Road, caused many residents to complain that it was causing disease.

By 1890 a small piece of land to the east was still fertile pasture land, having not had mud dumped on it yet. A Mr William Clark of the George pub leased a 400 x 420 ft parcel of land and built a stadium on it, which became the home of Millwall Athletic football team. The stench, however, did remain.

Millwall Athletic football team would only get to use the ground until for 11 years as, in 1901, the dock company took back control of the land in order to build a timber storage yard. It was this timber yard that, during World War II, the RAF used as an embarkation point, while Ack-Ack anti-aircraft guns were installed on the higher ground.

Following the war Mudchute remained under the ownership of the Port of London Authority who used it for various purposes. When the Millwall Docks were announced to be closing, in the early 1970s, the Port of London Authority negotiated with the Greater London Council to hand the land over for housing purposes. This was scuppered by the Association of island Communities who successfully campaigned for the land to a public open space.

A newly formed Mudchute Association was formed and the Mudchute Park and Farm opened in 1977.

The park and farm cover an area of 32 acres. Also hidden in this space is an Omphalos, which is rare in London. 

Mudchute Park and Farm

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