The 2020 programme is now past. We will be launching the 2021 programme mid August 2021
Hackney Marshes is nationally-famed as the spiritual home of Sunday League Football. But it offers an abundance of other recreational facilities to see. At their peak, the Marshes were home to 128 pitches – the largest agglomeration of pitches in the world. Changing social patterns have reduced demand – and parts of the Marshes have been naturalised and some areas turned over to cricket and rugby. In normal times, Sunday morning is the peak time when the Marshes are buzzing with club footballers.
SITE 1: Hackney Marshes Centre, off Homerton Road, E9 5PE
Accessible by buses 276, 308, 388, A9, W15
Opened in 2011 and designed by Stanton Williams. Noted for its innovative and expressive use of materials blending into natural surroundings. Technologies include the use of a series of moveable weathering steel shutters which enable secure closure. Numerous awards as: London Planning Awards Best Project 5 Years On; RIBA Award 2012; Civic Trust Award 2012. It has 31 changing rooms, a café and a roof terrace.
Turn left and walk to the Lee Navigation Canal and turn right to follow the canal with woodland on the right fronting some of the 82 pitches. When John Smeaton canalised the Lea (or Lee) in the 1760s he made an artificial cut to the west of the Marshes as a navigable waterway. You are now looking at the natural course of the Lea. It is an important wildlife corridor and, in recent years, the home of vast numbers of Green Parakeets which come home to roost each evening. Go to the North Marshes Pavilion.
SITE 2: North Marshes Pavilion, off Mandeville Street, E5 0AL
Designed by Studio E LLP and opened in 2018, replacing a run-down pavilion. It is as unobtrusive as possible with landscaping, including a range of poplars outside. It has a variety of sustainable features. Among these area brown roof, which uses the soil displaced from the site and a surrounding made from the crushed remains of the old pavilion. With changing rooms and indoor nets, it’s the home of Stoke Newington Cricket Club. Hackney Marshes played a role in the history of British Aviation. Early bi-planes were tested there and it played its part in the World War II air conflict. Hackney expert Sue Beeby will explain at only 11.00 am on the two mornings.
Walk northwards to the River Lea and, on reaching it, turn southwards and follow the river. These water habitats attract many kinds of birds with the common sandpiper numerous.
There are football and rugby pitches to the right. Continue walking until the Tree Nursery is reached opposite the Hackney Marshes Centre. Here seedlings and shoots are grown before being made available for transplanting.
SITE 3: Tree Nursery, Homerton Road, E9 5PE.
Entry into the Tree Nursery will be allowed and a representative of the Tree Volunteers will be available to explain at only 11.30 am on the two mornings.
The Tree Nursery is run by volunteers from Tree Musketeers and Hackney Marsh Users Group. Trees are grown, in many cases from seed, and potted on until ready to be planted out in parks and estates around Hackney. The Tree Musketeers arrange many community planting sessions and they have been responsible for planting a vast number of whips and trees around the perimeter of the Marshes.
TOTAL 65 MINUTES