A welcome surprise down in the Bow Back Rivers area at the bottom end of the Lea Valley: the Long Wall Path from the Greenway at Abbey Mills, along Abbey Creek round to Three Mills Lock, has finally been re-opened. [Google map - though they don't even show the lock]. It was closed by Thames Water way back in 2007 as part of the Three Mills Lock construction, and it's taken all this time to get it back, In fact it opened back in October (Diamond Geezer, inevitably, had it covered), but it's not been till now, with the warmer weather, that I've been down this way. And reacquainted myself with the low tide mud, and views of the Twelvetrees gasometers:
It's not, perhaps, the most scenic location, but it has a certain gloomy estuarine charm - and you're certainly not much troubled by other users.
Three Mills Lock was originally planned to allow building material from the Olympic site to be carried downstream by barge, but it was completed too late to be of much use in that regard. At the moment they reckon it's used by about one barge a week, which makes it something of a white elephant. It does, however, ensure that some of the Bow Back Rivers upstream, round the Olympic Park, are no longer tidal, and therefore fit for happy boaters to use without ending up resting on the mud every twelve hours.
Quite why they didn't build a lock right down by the Thames, so that the whole of the Bow Back Rivers would no longer be tidal - including Abbey Creek here - is a subject I explored in this 2011 post.