Today I found myself in another one of those quiet, tranquil spots in London that are blissfully free of noise, pollution and also people! This despite the fact that it is surrounded by housing and the roaring traffic of the A13 goes along one side – the East Ham Nature Reserve.
Managed by Community Links, and occupying the now defunct graveyard of St Mary Magdalene church, this space has been a dedicated nature reserve since the late 1970s and covers seven acres in total. For the squeamish, you’ll be pleased to know that the graves themselves have been almost completely subsumed by plant life – only an odd tombstone here and there emerges from the undergrowth. There are an absolute mass of beautiful wildflowers to be found in the nature reserve (amongst them some very colourful examples of the Scotch Thistle), and some surprising vistas to discover.
The East Ham Nature Reserve is open from around 10am until dusk each day, and there is a visitor centre although it was closed up and silent on my visit. It’s a short walk from Beckton DLR or you can take the 104 bus leaving Stratford station, alighting just before the A12. A handful of other photos of my visit to the nature reserve can be found here.