Lee Valley Regional Park

Park Development Framework

Return to homepage

Land Based Recreation and Leisure

Land Based Recreation and Leisure

Where are we now?

The Park provides a wide range of land based recreational and leisure opportunities, supported by purpose built facilities and a well considered infrastructure. Activities available throughout the Park include:-

Walking running cycling

The expanse of the Park allows for a variety of routes to be taken on foot, running or by cycle. For most users, walking, running or cycling in the Park is for recreation and enjoyment, although for some users the primary purpose may not be recreational but functional; for example to get to work or the shops. Whether for leisure or everyday business, the Park’s aim is to provide all users with a range of routes that meet their different needs.

Informal use and access to open space

The majority of our estate is fully accessible to the public; much of it with unrestricted access, although most of our facilities and some open space areas do have controlled opening hours (e.g. sports facilities, operational farmland, allotments, club operated facilities).

Access to land owned by others in the Park is more varied, with some areas having unrestricted access (e.g. parkland managed by local authorities) while other areas have severely restricted or prohibited access (e.g. water supply reservoirs).


There is currently little ‘traditional’ playground provision, apart from those incorporated within visitor facilities (e.g. Lee Valley Farms), although the Park does offer a valuable resource for informal play in its diverse range of open space.

Horse riding

Equestrian use of the Park is a popular recreational activity, and can be undertaken at specific areas of the Park (e.g. Lee Valley Riding Centre, Walthamstow Marshes). However in much of the Park equestrian access is limited due to the physical constraints of rail, roads and waterways that traverse the area and by perceived conflicts with other uses.

Recreation and leisure facilities

There are a wide range of facilities providing specific recreation and leisure activities throughout the Park. We operate a number of these facilities, including those considered in more detail in the Sports Facility section of the framework.

Other facilities are provided by a range of public, private and club based operators.

What do we want to achieve?

For recreational and leisure use to be one of the defining elements of the Park.

To integrate a wide range of leisure and recreation uses, including the following:

Walking, running and cycling

We want to develop the network of routes, facilities and other infrastructure to offer a high quality and diverse range of opportunities for people of all abilities.

Informal use and access to open space

We want to increase the amount of accessible open space within the Park, as well as the range of experiences and activities available for users.


We want the Park to be a place where people can and are encouraged to play. We want to provide space and play provisions; to include natural and wild areas as well as specifically designed and managed facilities. These should cater for people of all ages, abilities and cultures.

Horse riding

We want the Park to provide a more comprehensive equestrian offer that integrates with the wider bridleway network beyond the Park boundary.

Specific purpose facilities

To cater for a diverse community of age, abilities and interests we want to ensure that facilities are used to their best potential. We will strive to establish synergy between different facilities at the various sites so that they work together to provide multi-purpose, rather than stand alone, activities.

How will we deliver?

Park wide

We will

  • Continue to develop the infrastructure to support walking, running and cycling throughout the Park. This will include:
    • Route network Our proposals for the ongoing development and management of the Parks route network are set out in the Visitor Infrastructure section of this document.
    • Coordinated cycle hire network Develop a coordinated network of cycle hire opportunities throughout the Park. This will enable users to pick up and drop off cycles at points throughout the Park. Hire opportunities should be located at primary visitor nodes and close to public transport access points.
    • Information Maps, guides and other interpretive information to promote and enhance the enjoyment of walking and cycling in the Park. We will work with partners, both within and surrounding the Park, to ensure information includes the wider network of routes and encourages links beyond the Park boundaries to other sites of interest.

On our estate

We will

  • Diversify and add interest to the route network through secondary infrastructure and enhanced site management/maintenance.
  • Develop a network of visitor facilities that meet the needs of people walking, running and cycling through the Park by providing changing facilities, showers, secure storage etc.
  • Continue to increase the extent and quality of accessibility within our own estate where possible. This will be undertaken by improving the physical infrastructure, overcoming existing barriers to access, enhancing attractiveness and safety. We will focus attention on those areas that are currently inaccessible or have restricted access. Priority sites include:
    • Spitalbrook
    • St Pauls Field/Nazeing Mead
    • South Glen Faba
  • Acquire affordable land currently owned by others within the Park to improve the quality of publicly accessible open space for leisure and recreation. Risks within this process to be appropriately mitigated (e.g. risk of land contamination). Priority sites include:
    • Wharf Road/Turnford
    • Land south of Glen Faba
    • Land required to deliver the Lea Valley Pathway – Roydon Loop
  • Develop a range of playable space and play provisions that will encourage, facilitate and invite play. These will include:
    • Key visitor facilities Introduce the provision of playable space and play areas as a core component of the offer at key visitor facilities.
    • Creative grounds maintenance Introduce playable space across the Park through creative maintenance.
    • Signage Install appropriate signage to help identify specific areas where play is encouraged.
    • Information Promote play opportunities through marketing, education programmes and events.
    • Regionally significant play destinations Explore opportunities for the development of one or more regionally significant destination play facilities. Potential sites include:
      • Lee Valley Leisure Complex (Picketts Lock)
      • Broxbourne (former Lee Valley Leisure Pool site)
      • River Lee Country Park
  • Where possible and appropriate, extend the bridleway network on our own estate, and create links to bridleway networks and paths outside the Park boundary.
  • Specific recreation and leisure facilities Continue to operate our existing recreation and leisure facilities (subject to periodic review as described below)
  • Periodically review the ongoing operation of all our recreation and leisure facilities to assess current and future operation, usage, expansion and refurbishment. The review will include consideration of factors such as:
    • Regional value offered by the facility
    • Provision of competing or complementary facilities in and around the Park
    • Life cycle and asset management costs of the facility
    • Commercial viability and potential operating/ development partners
  • Explore opportunities for the provision of new recreation and leisure facilities through commercial partnership. Such facilities should contribute (either individually or collectively) to an enhanced regional offer, and should be appropriate to our wider aims and objectives (i.e. as expressed in this document). Priority sites for development of new recreation and leisure facilities include:
    • Broxbourne (Leisure Pool site)
    • South River Lee Country Park
    • Rammey Marsh West
    • Picketts Lock
    • Lea Bridge Road
    • Lea River Park (including Three Mills Green and East India Dock Basin)

Working with others

We will

  • Continue to support the range of existing recreation and leisure facilities owned and operated by others within the Park.
  • Continue to work with other landowners to encourage and facilitate increased public access to currently inaccessible or restricted access land. Priority sites/ landowners include:
    • Walthamstow Reservoirs – Thames Water
    • Tumbling Bay – British Waterways
  • Work with other landowners and partners within the Park to expand the bridleway network throughout the Park.
  • Continue to work in partnership with existing providers of recreation and leisure opportunities within the Park.
  • Support the ongoing development of new recreation and leisure facilities within the Park where they contribute (either individually or collectively) to an enhanced regional offer. These should be appropriate to our wider aims and objectives for the Park.

Land Based Recreation and Leisure

flash here
Link to home page