Walthamstow’s parks and green spaces need protecting

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I’ve been asked to sign up to the Park Protector Pledge, which got me thinking about my own connection to Walthamstow’s parks.

As a kid growing up in Walthamstow I got to visit quite a few parks. When I was very young it’d be a trip down to the playground in Bridge Road, on my little bike accompanied by my parents, along with some bigger adventures across the border in Leyton.

Visits to my grandparents would often involve a trip down to Coppermill Park, where my father, as a 3-year-old, had ridden off on his own bike up to nearby Glenthorne Road, before he was found. Thankfully I was less adventurous at that age. We’d also visit the massive St James Park, usually as part of a trip down to the River Lea and Springfield Marina.

When we later moved house, the BMX track, playground and playing field of Higham Hill Rec became a regular destination. As did Lloyd Park, with its sandpits, open space, ducks and aviary. Great places to play and learn, and still are!

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Me in Lloyd Park as a youngster.

Years later, as a father, I’ve rediscovered my old stomping grounds, but also began visiting many of the other smaller parks and playgrounds to see what else Walthamstow had to offer. They vary enough that there’s always something new to explore in each one, keeping my kids entertained for hours at a time, usually meeting and making new friends along the way. Lots of memories have been made.

As a consequence, my kids have been to the playgrounds of Marlowe Road, Wingfield Park, Vestry Road and more. All generally easy to get to by public transport, and with Mini-Holland, even becoming safer to reach by bike. Great for any adventurous 3-year-olds…though parental supervision is advised!

A couple of years ago I made a list of all the things we’d discovered and enjoyed in Walthamstow’s parks:

  • Free-to-use outdoor gym equipment
  • Under 7s and Under 12s play areas / natural play areas/adventure playgrounds including tunnels and things to climb, rope ladders etc.
  • Skateboard and scooter parks
  • BMX Track
  • Ornamental Gardens
  • Nature Area
  • Bowling green
  • Parallel bars
  • Educational surface painting for counting and other types of games
  • Shelters and sails for temporarily avoiding the rain
  • In-ground trampoline
  • Water features with ducks
  • Sandpits
  • Picnic space, even better if they have picnic benches/tables
  • Well-provisioned cycling spaces in parks

I must say that now my kids are getting older, I am going to miss having a reason to visit these parks, but they will always hold a special place in my heart.

The parks and green spaces of Walthamstow are vital resources for us all, bringing our communities together and benefitting our physical and mental health and wellbeing. I believe that green spaces are good, they do good, and that they need protecting, for good. To demonstrate my commitment to this I have taken Fields in Trust’s Parks Protector Pledge and promise that as your MP I will support and champion parks and green spaces as well as advocate for their protection. You can find out more about the pledge I have taken by visiting www.fieldsintrust.org/pledge.

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