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Bees, berries and beans

tooltipDiscovering Britain walk

An edible walk through the London Borough of Hackney

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greater london greater london

Picture a city. Are you thinking of skyscrapers, office blocks, housing estates, shopping malls and superstores? Or are you thinking of flower gardens, allotments, orchards, vineyards and bee hives?

This walk explores a rather unexpected aspect of city life – growing food in urban spaces.

By meandering through the residential areas of the London Borough of Hackney, you will discover a surprising amount of vegetables, fruit and herbs being grown in marginal spaces. You’ll also find out about some of the people who have taken the initiative to transform unused land where they live.

Looking at other urban spaces – grass embankments, car parks, rooftops and derelict sites – you will be able to think about the potential for increasing food production and creating a more sustainable way of living in cities.

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This walk is best in the late spring, summer and early autumn.

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Walk Info

Distance:

1 ½ miles

Level:
A flat route on pavements and in parks

tooltipA flat route on pavements and in parks

Suitable for:
Lots of things for children to spot on this walk

tooltipLots of things for children to spot on this walk

An entirely step-free route

tooltipAn entirely step-free route

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Region:
Greater London
Setting:
Towns & Cities
Landscape:
People in the landscape Hidden landscapes Changing landscapes
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Start:
The Triangle, junction of Mare St and Westgate St
Finish:
Hackney City Farm
Getting there:

tooltipNearest mainline stations London Fields and Cambridge Heath

tooltipNearest station Bethnal Green (20 minute walk)

tooltipServed by various bus routes

tooltipSeveral Barclays Cycle Hire docking stations in the area

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London Hackney

Vegetables and herbs growing in Warburton and Darcy Community Garden
Rory Walsh © RGS-IBG Discovering Britain

London Hackney

Indian bean tree in London Fields
Rory Walsh © RGS-IBG Discovering Britain

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Route map

Select pins on the map to find out more about each point of interest on the walk

Walk kit

Choose between an audio or written guide: download and enjoy!

Downloads

Written guide
A flat route mostly on urban streets

tooltipHelp with downloading - Double-click the icon to download this PDF file. You can save it to your computer or open it now. The file is designed as a booklet. To print it choose ‘Booklet Printing’ from your printer options.

Audio guide
A flat route mostly on urban streets

tooltipHelp with downloading - Double-click the icon to download this ZIP file of the audio commentary (mp3 files) and accompanying booklet (PDF) which contains maps and directions. You can save the audio files to your computer then add them to your mp3 device. This will vary for each device but you can use any supplied software (such as iTunes, Windows Media Player) or drag and drop the files. The PDF is designed as a booklet. To print it choose ‘Booklet Printing’ from your printer options.

Extras
A flat route mostly on urban streets

tooltipHelp with downloading - Double click to download this GPX file and load it on to your GPS device.

Photo Gallery

Find out what you might see on the walk - click on an image to view full size

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Comments

Find out what other people said about this walk

A food for thought walk - perfect for improving fitness and health and burning-off a few more calories while looking at ways and thinking about good initiatives for sustainable urban food production and consumption needed for the health of the planet and indeed ourselves.

Laura Shawyer, Strood, Kent

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Links

Find out more about the walk story and places of interest along the route

External links open in a new window


Growing Communities

Hackney-based urban gardening group whose 7 sites produced over a tonne of salad leaves last year

http://www.growingcommunities.org/

The London Orchard Project

http://thelondonorchardproject.org

Recommended place to stay - YHA

London St Pancras

http://www.yha.org.uk/hostel/london-st-pancras

Capital Growth

Group aiming to create 2,012 London garden plots in the year 2012

http://www.capitalgrowth.org

St Mary’s Secret Garden

A Hackney oasis with home-grown organic food for sale & honey bees in action. Open Mon-Fri.

http://stmaryssecretgarden.org.uk/

V&A Museum of Childhood

http://www.vam.ac.uk/moc/

Credits

The RGS-IBG would like to thank the following people and organisations for their assistance in producing this Discovering Britain walk

 

Mikey Tomkins for creating the walk and providing photographs

 

Jenny Lunn for editing the walk materials

 

Rory Walsh for taking photographs

 

Caroline Millar for editing the audio commentary

 

Nick Stanworth and Alex Ricketts for additional assistance with compiling walk resources

 

Hackney City Farm for kind permission to use images of the farm

 

Laura Shawyer and friends for testing the walk on a very wet Bank Holiday! 

thank you
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