Sunday was a bright, sunny if a little chilly morning and it was time to turn my back on the road works and building sites on Marsh Wall and head for the wide open spaces of the countryside. Fortunately when you live on the Isle of Dogs, the countryside is not far away, in fact it is only a short walk down the Island to Mudchute Farm.
Mudchute Park & Farm is one of the largest inner City Farms in Europe with a wonderful collection of British rare breeds and currently home to over 100 animals and fowl. Set in 32 acres of countryside in the heart of East London, Mudchute is a community charity, with a working farm, stables and a wide range of education activities.
The Park and Farm are a great example of community action, in the 1970s, the Island community fought against plans to build a high rise estate on the land. The success of the campaign against these plans led to the creation of the Mudchute Association which was formed to preserve and develop the area. Since then it has become a well-known London attraction loved by adults and children alike.
One of the ironies of the site is that the hills and mounds were formed in the 19th century by the waste matter dredged up by the construction of Millwall Dock. This foul-smelling mud put off any prospective developers of the land and it remained derelict for much of the 20th century. Another irony was that the mud was actually full of minerals and nutrients and provided ideal growing conditions for the many allotments that were built on the site.
Once inside the gates of the Park and Farm you are transported into another world of sheep grazing in the fields, donkeys, goats, llamas and pigs.
But that is not all, the Park and Farm is proud of its roots in East London and you can even enjoy some mussels and jellied eels.
A visit to the Park and Farm is a pleasant way to get away from stresses of Christmas shopping and crowded trains. You can wander around the fields and look at the beehives, visit the old Ack Ack gun which was stationed in the park in the Second World War, let the kids have a go on the merry go round and enjoy a warm drink at the wonderful café whilst watching the horses in the stables.
Not surprisingly, the Park and Farm is very popular with families but is free and open to everyone who enjoys some peace and quiet away from the urban jungle.
If you are looking for a Christmas treat, the Park and Farm is having a special Christmas Open day on the 9th December between 11am and 4 pm with a Santa’s Grotto, Kid’s craft workshops, Donkey rides, Fairground rides, Cream teas and plenty of food and drink options.
The Park and Farm are also selling Christmas Trees from 3ft to 10ft with proceeds going to the Mudchute charity.
If you have never been to Mudchute Park and Farm, it is well worth a visit at any time of the year and is one of the best and most enjoyable open spaces on the Island.
If you would like more information about Mudchute Park and Farm, visit their website here
The article on Mudchute Farm is an enjoyable read and the person/s who made it possible to create a living mini zoo and to make the best of a big open space to be enjoyed by so many people are to be applauded.
As a young girl of 5 years or so I sometimes was taken to “the allotment” that my grandfather used to tend to.
He grew rhubarb and maybe cabbages, there could have been other veges but I can’t recall it now.
Grand Dad was a rubbish collector in Poplar and he drove a horse and cart and he would bring it back home at lunch time and gave the horse a bag of oats or whatever the horse ate, while Grand Dad had his lunch.
I used to stroke the horse’s muzzle and marvelled at how soft and warm it was. The horse liked it so much he always peed in the gutter, how nice of him.
When we went to Mudchute Farm Grand Dad would take a bag of horse manure on the bus to spread over his allotment. Needless to say we were not nice to be near in the bus when that happened.
I have lived in New Zealand now for over 50 years but I left part of me back in the East End that I used to know.
I have never forgotten my roots and early life there.
Thanks for your memories especially your granddad taking his bag of manure on the bus, I bet you always had a seat.
Mudchute Park and Farm is one of those places that you go to recharge the batteries, it is like going into the countryside yet is surrounded by buildings, the people that run are doing a great job. long may it continue.
Hope all is well in Auckland, it seems ages from when we visited NZ and met up with you in September.
Have a great Christmas.