The 300-odd acres of sandy grasslands and mature trees that make up Wanstead Flats are seen as a bit of a sacred site in our part of town. It’s where you walk your dogs, play footy, ride horses, fly your remote control ‘plane, go to the circus, lounge in the sun, watch fireworks, bareknuckle box and (sometimes) poison the wildlife. Leytonstone locals hate the idea of any development, no matter how small (or ‘temporary’ like the mooted Olympics police HQ), encroaching on the flats. It took me by surprise, then, to find this spanky new cyclepath on my way home one evening. I can only think this was allowed because it was previously a muddy ‘desire line’ worn into the turf as a shortcut from Francis road to the boho crescent of Bushwood, which leads ultimately to the North Star (the boozer, not the celestial feature. It’s not that long a road).
This being a Waltham Forest Council project, It’s beautifully flat and smooth until it stops at Francis road, suddenly terminating in a compacted earth berm – what BMXers used to call a ‘whoop-de-doo’. Oh well. It’s hardly the start of a Copenhagenized E11 but it’ll make getting back from the pub a bit easier.