Updated: Jun 2, 2020
Pamela is originally from Italy and a Buildings Manager in Euston
What part of London is home and how long have you lived there?
I moved to Leyton a year ago with a friend. We bought a flat together but it won't be ready for another few months so we decided to rent around the corner from where we will live in order to get to know the neighbourhood. Prior to that, I lived in Hackney for 9 years.
The key thing that really strikes me about this area is the sense of community. It is so friendly, people often say hello to one another. It's not what one usually thinks of when they think of London.
It's a great place to live in. I love that it's not gentrified but the shops that are here are lovely, but if you do want more, Westfields is a 7 minute cycle ride away and Hackney only 5 minutes.
What are your favourite things about where you live?
This area is amazing as it is so close to the Lea Valley and the Marshes. When I lived in Hackney, I had visited it but I had only really walked along the canal. Now, having it on my doorstep means I have started to explore so much more. I cannot believe the vastness of the marshes, the immense trees I come across and the numerous idyllic spots.
Although I cycle to work, I prefer to explore the area on foot. Once the Lea river passes under Lea Bridge Road it diverts into 2 branches. One is the navigational canal which is very well-known and filled with barges. This section runs down to Hackney Wick which is flanked by many bars and clubs. The other branch of the river is where the Water Works are found running along the east side of the marshes and then into the Olympic park.
This particular section of the river is wilder and more hidden meaning that you cannot really walk along the length of its banks, but nonetheless the beauty is breath-taking.
The section where the Lea Valley river ends and the Olympic park starts is a wonderful area. It is such a hot spot in the summer and you will even find people swimming (not that it's really allowed!). It's locally known as the Hackney Riviera.
Being Italian, I often send pictures back home. Given the current lockdown restrictions, my Mum recently got worried that I was travelling as she couldn't believe that I was showing her photos taken just a few minutes walk from home!
Hackney Wick Woods
Back in Italy, it is very common to go foraging but being in London, I am amazed to find wild rocket growing in abundance. Depending on the season, you can also find blackberries, elderflower, hazelnuts, cherries and pears.
Given the current lockdown restrictions, my Mum recently got worried that I was travelling as she couldn't believe that I was showing her photos taken just a few minutes walk from home!
If there was something you want others to know about your area, what would it be?
There is always something to discover. With the Lea Valley, the Olympic Park, Walthamstow Wetlands and the Waterworks all on my doorstep, I am completely spoilt for choice and the area brings in a huge range of birds. There are hides at the Waterworks and whilst I am not a birder, it's so tranquil spending time observing what is out there and such a blessing to find some peace amongst the madness of the city.
There really is so much to explore that you can spend an entire weekend seeing so many different things.
There is always something to discover.
Where is your favourite part of London for nature?
Even though I have lived in the East for most of my time here, I absolutely adore Richmond Park and seeing that part of the river. I love the majestic weeping willows, that whole area is just so romantic.
In addition, I have realised that Epping Forest is so close to where I live. So far, I have only visited it briefly with a friend and cycled along it on the road so I really want to explore it a lot more in the future. It's so vast and to live so close to a forest whilst being in a city is such a special thing.
One summer, I was out with friend in Here East. In 2012, it was a location for the storage of all the Olympic uniforms but since, has been turned into offices and is filled with bars and restaurants and unobscured views, a really beautiful location in Hackney.
It was a lovely summer's day so we all stayed out late and decided to walk the 35 minutes back home along the canal. Half way home, I really needed to pee. Whilst it's not something I would usually do, I was absolutely desperate and it was killing me. The friend I was with insisted that I should just quickly duck behind a bush. There were a few people around but it was really dark so no one would see me and my friend said she'd keep watch.
It turned out that being dark wasn't actually a good thing. In my haste, I managed to find myself amongst a load of stinging nettles. Let's just say, my relief ended up leading to a lot of pain!
We had planned to go out later to a club. After getting home and getting ready, I was still in agony. Upon arrival at our friend's house, she could see my despair so I explained what had happened. Thankfully, she suggested I try the nappy rash cream she has for her baby. I cannot tell you the relief I felt. Sometimes getting close to nature isn't always a good thing!
Living in Leyton means that Pamela is close to many of the points of the Lea and North line on the #GreengroundMap
For TFL, Leyton is in zone 3, on the central line with good access to buses.
Find the full Greenground Map here