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A Short Guide to Mudchute Park and Farm on the Isle of Dogs

© 2019 Visiting London Guide.com – Photograph by Alan Kean

A short distance from the skyscrapers of Canary Wharf is one of the largest city farms in Europe. This strange mix of urban and rural makes Mudchute Park and Farm a unique attraction for visitors.

© 2019 Visiting London Guide.com – Photograph by Alan Kean

The Isle of Dogs is one of the fastest growing parts of London with a large number of developments, however this is relatively recent phenomenon. Up to the mid 18th century, the vast majority of the Isle of Dogs was uninhabited and used as pastures for animals.

© 2019 Visiting London Guide.com – Photograph by Alan Kean

The large open space where the Mudchute Park and Farm now stands was once grazing land until the mid 19th century when during the building of the nearby Millwall Docks led to the space being used for storage of millions of bricks. After the docks were completed, the area was used to dump the mud that was dredged from Millwall Dock. This mud was transferred from the dock to the field by a pipe leading to the area being called Mudchute. Over time the mud accumulated to create small hills and bumps, but towards the end of the 19th century there was concerns when the mudfield was considered a health hazard and the pipe which was discontinued in 1910.

© 2019 Visiting London Guide.com – Photograph by Alan Kean

After the first World War, the area was used for allotments . At the beginning of the Second World War, the land was used for gun placements to attack the aircraft bombing the docks ( there is an Ack Ack gun in the farm to pay tribute to those who risked their lives). After the war, there were a number of schemes to use the land for housing. However a campaign by local residents and supporters led to the creation of an urban farm in 1977.

© 2019 Visiting London Guide.com – Photograph by Alan Kean

Since then Mudchute Park and Farm has developed into one of the largest city farms in Europe covering 32 acres and is maintained largely by local volunteers. The farm and park has worked hard to create diverse environment that attracts all forms of wild life.

© 2019 Visiting London Guide.com – Photograph by Alan Kean

Farm animals have been introduced over the years to give visitors a variety of experience, with a strong educational aspect with close ties with local schools and other community groups.

© 2019 Visiting London Guide.com – Photograph by Alan Kean

Whilst most visitors come from the local area, the farm and park has increased its visibility to attract visitors from further afield.

© 2019 Visiting London Guide.com – Photograph by Alan Kean

Mudchute Park and Farm is one of the hidden gems of London providing a wide range of rural pleasures near to the urban jungle of Canary Wharf.

For more information and tickets , visit the Mudchute website here

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All you need to know about the London Marathon 2014

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The London Marathon is unique among international sporting events in that ordinary people  can compete with the best in the world, and that is what will happen this Sunday when over 35,000 people will be running the Marathon course of 26.2 miles.

The first London Marathon was held in 1981. 7,747 were accepted to race and there were 6,255 finishers, led home by the American Dick Beardsley and Norwegian Inge Simonsen, who staged a dead heat at the  finish on Constitution Hill. Joyce Smith  broke the British record to win the women’s race.

The event was a massive hit with the runners, the thousands of spectators who lined the course, and viewers who followed the race on the BBC. As a result, the 1982 race received more than 90,000 applications from hopeful runners around the world. The entry was limited to 18,059.

The race has grown in size, stature and popularity ever since. Now established among the major events in the sporting calendar, the London Marathon is shown on television in more that 150 countries around the world.

A total of 882,946 runners have completed the London Marathon (1981 to 2012), while a record 37,227 people finished in 2012.
it is estimated that more than £500 million has been raised for hundreds of charitable causes by London Marathon runners since 1981.

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If you are not competing you can join the hundreds of thousands of spectators lining the streets of London to cheer on the runners.
The course has three different starts on Blackheath that straddle the border between the Boroughs of Lewisham and Greenwich. These three routes eventually meet up at John Wilson Street in Woolwich by the Royal Artillery Barracks. The ‘race-line’ is marked out in blue on the road for the entire 26.2 miles.
After about six miles, the runners cross the Meridian Line that marks the transition from East to West and pass the Royal Naval College at Greenwich.
They turn right to the Cutty Sark before heading on to Surrey Quays and along Jamaica Road to Tower Bridge at around 12 miles.
Runners then cross the Thames, turning east along The Highway, over the halfway mark, into Wapping and on to the Isle of Dogs, through Canary Wharf, before returning back along The Highway and passing the Tower of London at 22.5 miles.
The course drops down to follow the Thames along Victoria Embankment and on to the Houses of Parliament where it turns towards St James’s Park. Finally, The Mall, with Buckingham Palace and Admiralty Arch at each end, marks the glorious finish.

However to get the best out of your day, here are some London Marathon day  tips:

AVOID THE START AREA

All the runners are entitled to free travel to the start, this means the trains will already be very busy. Even though extra trains are put on they can only have so many carriages so have great difficulty coping with large numbers of traffic.

If you are following a runner you would be better advised to use the time in the morning to find a good spot to watch the race.

PLACES TO  AVOID

If you have watched the Marathon on the television, you might be tempted to watch from one of the iconic sights like the Cutty Sark, Tower Bridge and the Mall. Not surprisingly these get crowded very early and become very difficult to move about – Remember you might be in the same spot for hours, so easy access to toilets and food  are important.
These busy areas include: •  Greenwich town centre and the Cutty Sark. •  Tower Bridge and the Tower Hill area. •  Anywhere from mile 23 to the Finish in The Mall, especially around Westminster and Parliament Square.

BE COMFORTABLE

April in London means that you could be hit by all four seasons in one day, so be prepared for rain, cold and sun.

It is not only the runners that will need food and drink so come prepared or stand near a food outlet.

You are likely to be on your feet all day so wear sensible and comfortable shoes.

TRANSPORT

Many roads are closed on race day, so the best way to get around is using the London Underground, Southeastern and Docklands Light Railway (DLR), who lay on extra services especially. Remember, the trains will be busy all day – expect it to be like rush hour. You’ll probably have to queue at some stations and the tube lines may be forced to shut temporarily throughout the day to help ease the crowds.

For more information and expected timings, visit the Marathon website here