Billy the greyhound
Living just a stone’s throw from Gunpowder Park, there is nothing more Elizabeth Pike enjoys than a leisurely walk through the unique open space, a former munitions testing ground that gave birth to its unusual name.
Today, it is home to meadows, bridle paths and a variety of wildlife, such as Water Vole, Daubenton Bats and butterflies attracting walkers, cyclists, horse riders and nature lovers. After adopting her beloved Greyhound Billy in 2014, Elizabeth now also had company for her “blissful strolls,” as she describes them and it was one such occasion that she hit upon the idea of bringing together like minded people who shared her passion for this breed and the great outdoors.
In 2015, the Great British Greyhound Walk came to Gunpowder Park. The event takes place in more than 30 locations around the country each year, attracting more than 5,000 Greyhounds and their owners. It is used as an opportunity to showcase the breed and highlight its sociable nature as part of the drive to get more of them adopted once they have retired from racing.
The Gunpowder Park event attracted more than 30 dogs and their owners and has proved to be so popular that it has become a part of the Great British Greyhound Walk calender.
“I wanted to do something close to my home so Gunpowder Park was the obvious choice,” said Elizabeth. “The aim of the event is to highlight the breed and raise awareness of the fact that retired or never raced, Greyhounds make great family pets. We also wanted to show that, contrary to popular belief, they do not require hours of walking.”
Elizabeth and Billy walk through Gunpowder Park twice a day and in addition to enjoying quality time together, both value it for completely different reasons.
Elizabeth said: “Being on the edge of London with so many industrial developments around it is really important to have places like Gunpowder Park and the other open spaces within Lee Valley Regional Park. There are so many stresses in our lives now so it’s vital to have areas where you can go to relax and enjoy nature.
These places also bring huge benefits to the environment as a whole and improve the quality of the air we breathe. They enhance our lives. When I’m in Gunpowder Park I lose myself in what is a very calming, natural place.”
However, for Billy, the opposite may be true.
“When he’s in the park there is nothing he likes more than a zoomie.’ (running round in circles backwards and forwards at extreme speeds). He then goes home and sleeps for hours,” said Elizabeth.