School children from Oaks Park and Valentines High Schools joined a number of Redbridge councillors and local people to celebrate the opening of a new walking and cycling path through Fairlop Waters Country Park.
A new wooden sculpture was officially unveiled and a new plaque marked the completion of the mile-long path.
The children cycled to the park from their schools and took part in a scavenger hunt on bikes, based on the local themes carved on the new sculpture by local artist, Jason Parker.
Among the carvings depicted are local wildlife species including a duck, vole and kestrel, and references to an 18th Century merchant who founded the nearby Fairlop Fair.
The children also enjoyed whizzing-up their own pedal-powered drinks on a ‘smoothie bike’.
Bryn Lockwood, Project Manager for Sustrans said:
“Meeting people who will benefit from the new path makes all the hard work worthwhile.
“This traffic-free path will make access to the park possible all year round and open up more opportunities for visitors and locals get out in the fresh air and be active.”
Councillor Wes Streeting, Redbridge Council Cabinet Member for Health and Wellbeing, said:
“I’m incredibly pleased to see this path open and a celebration of the area’s history through this striking piece of public art.
“We welcome projects that help residents young and old take advantage of the excellent green spaces in the Borough and we know that this is another important step in helping them do just that.”
David Rowe, Head of Borough Projects and Programmes at TfL, said:
“We are delighted to see that the funding from our Greenways Programme is helping to encourage more cycling and walking in Fairlop Waters Country Park.
“Promoting and providing for cycling and walking across the capital is at the heart of the Mayor’s Transport Strategy and this new path in Redbridge is part of our work with London’s local authorities and other stakeholders to deliver this.
We will continue to work with the boroughs and others to deliver other such routes under the new Quietways programme as part of the Mayor’s Vision for Cycling.”
To enhance the habitat of Great Crested Newts and other wildlife in Fairlop Waters, the route features a new raised boardwalk over wetland.
The path gives people a new way to enjoy the Country Park by foot or bike, and an alternative traffic-free route between Barkingside and Hainault.
The sculpture consists of an arrangement of solid oak posts in a circle the same size as the colossal ‘Fairlop Oak’ that was a prominent landmark on Fairlop Plain for centuries.
The ten foot (3m) tall posts are carved with eight reliefs, depicting local nature and history.
The £200,000 route was funded by the Transport for London Greenways Programme (pdf).
Find out more about how we are providing safe and direct cycling infrastructure in London.
Find out more about the Art on the National Cycle Network.