Having explored all of the Thames from source to Barrier, I thought I would take a look at what lies further east. Beginning at the Thames Barrier Park (just by Pontoon Dock DLR station), I was impressed with the wonderful undulations of the ‘green dock’ and the diagonal planting of hornbeams and rare oaks, all designed by French landscape architect Allain Provost. The park is a tranquil space with nicely maturing planting, superb views and a good cafe – well worth a visit. Crossrail works made the walk to the Woolwich Ferry a bit of a weary trudge, but the ferry itself (amazingly still free) was a good ride, manoevring between orange tugs hauling heavy loads. Heading east, the river gets impressively wide, and the ships get larger.
Oystercatchers, grey wagtails and even rabbits are mixed in with industry such as waste processing sites, aggregate businesses and sewage works, making this a very interesting and varied stretch of water. It was also a day of slightly overwhelming smells – from the treacle of the sugar works, to the hawthorn blossom and hint of seasalt in the air to the knockout punch of the sewage works.