Barking Town Off The Beaten Path Tips by MikeStarr5
Barking Town Off The Beaten Path: 7 reviews and 19 photos
I have added a 2nd page to my Barking Park tip to enable me to include some additional photos - Our thanks should go to Adrian Cable who took these excellent pics - Great work Adrian !
Barking Boating Lake - Click to Enlarge Pic
You will find Barking Park east of the Town Centre. Turn left from the station, walk down the hill, passed a roundabout with a modern sculpture called "The Catch" - See separate tip.
Continue for 4 mins & you reach the main gates of Barking Park on your left.
There's lots to see and do, particularly in summer. Ideal for a picnic too. There's a miniature railway, 8 tennis courts-grass & hardcourt, a basketball court, skateboarding, an indoor & outdoor bowling green & 4 football pitches with ample parking & changing facilities.
Various festivals & community events are held in the park & Holland's Funfair visits a twice a year. In the centre of the park is a lovely, well-maintained flower garden, in the middle of which is a memorial dedicated to the men and women of Barking Town who fell in World War 2.
At the far side of the park is a long, man-made boating lake that took 2 years to dig by hand. During the summer, both motor & rowing boats can be hired by the hour or ½ hr. To reach it from the main gates just walk straight ahead along the tarmac road - ie do NOT turn to your right across the grass.
At the far side of the lake is a small stream called Loxford Water. You used to be able to walk the entire way around the lake with the stream on one side and the lake on the other. It was a very peaceful way to spend an hour or so away from the bustle of busy Barking Town. Sadly this walk is no longer possible as the path is totally overgrown. (May 2010)
The lake itself has little or no aquatic vegetation but its three islands provide good nest sites for common waterfowl, including mallard, tufted duck, moorhen and coot. The lake is also home to several pairs of swans.
The mature trees & dense shrubberies in the park provide habitat for common birds, including the declining spotted flycatcher. So if you are interested in birdwatching or wildlife remember to bring your camera & binoculars.
Kids however love the dog-free children's playground, watching the grey squirrels & foxes or feeding bread to the ducks & baby swans ....
Sathyan otherwise known as "Mountsat" took this lovely video of them in June 2010.
Click to see Barking Park's Swans and Cygnets
See my separate tips about Guided walking tours of Barking Park and the miniature railway.
Phone: 020 8215 3006
Barking Arboretum 1 - Click to Enlarge
It's arrival had been rumoured for an eternity but finally at the end of September 2009 Barking Town finally got it's long awaited "Arboretum".
Open any dictionary and it will tell you that an "arboretum" is a collection of trees, shrubs and wild flowers. However, sited where it is, just a stones throw away from the hustle, bustle and noise of Barking Town Centre and Market, this arboretum really is a welcome oasis of calm.
In all, there are around 40 mature trees and 16 different species. Stacked tree trunks form balustrades and walls. Quite deliberately also the designers have incorporated "hiding places" to encourage children to play in the area.
Scattered among the the trees and shrubs, there are some unusual seating areas and a permanent stage, just crying out for performers. Look closely and your will also discover some rather intricate murals.
Gradually also to the side of the arboretum, the ground floor of the adjacent "Lemonade Building" will fill up with new cafes, bars and restaurants. As I write in June 2010, a Japanese Sushi Bar called Oishi Sushi (see separate tip) is about to throw open its doors to an unsuspecting public.
I had to confess that when "Barking Central" is it is called by the developers, started to be built, I wondered if they had lost their marbles. However gradually, as the final pieces of the jigsaw have been put into place, I can see their colourful grand plan.
The Barking Arboretum is part of a shady pedestrianised path which runs from the side of the new Barking Town Travelodge Hotel in Ripple Road, through to the new, award winning, Town Square (see separate tip). Nearby you will find our "New Ancient Wall" (see separate tip), the Barking Learning Centre (see separate tip)
From here you can walk along Clockhouse Road by the side of the Town Hall (see separate tip)and on to the Broadway Theatre (see separate tip), St Margarets Church (see separate tip), the Curfew Tower (see separate tip) and the remains of Barking Abbey (see separate tip). It really is a nice little walk.
The arboretum project has received quite a few acolades too and has even been included as one of the Mayor of London’s top 100 open spaces.
After several years in the doldrums, the Barking Park miniature railway is well and truly back in action.
The train takes passengers on a journey of around 340 metres from the 40 foot long chalet-like ticket office and railway shed near the main entrance down to the boating lake. The station at that end is called "Lakeside Halt". There is a turntable at one end and also run-around loops.
You travel at a maximum speed of 5 mph. (The trains can actually go much faster but are restricted for passengers' safety and comfort. The current owners are a father and son team whose unbridled enthusiasm saved the railway at the 11th hour from almost certain extinction. Now the train carries around 6200 passengers a year.
Prices for the 2010 season were set a bargain rate of 50p single or 70p return. You can break your journey at "Lakeside Halt" to go and feed the ducks or simply stroll along the length of the lake and back. You can then catch a later train back to the park gates when you want to go home.
The miniature railway is loved by children and railway enthusiasts alike. The owners have set up a website and issue a periodic newsletter called the Signalman. You can even become part of the railway and undergo driver, guard, shunter or station staff training. Annual membership is £25.00 and is open to those aged 13 and over.
Phone: 07768 162258 Wayne
Bridge Over the River Roding
As you stand on the this bridge gazing at, or possibly taking pictures of the River Roding, take 5-10 minutes or so to have a close look at the brige itself.
It was built between 1902-1904 and the parapets are made of cast iron. They are painted in a light matt, sea-green colour and are still in pretty good condition. The centre panels contain both the date (1904) and the coat of arms of Essex County Council.
If crossing the River Roding by car, you are sure to still get a good view. All the traffic from the busy A406 (North Circular Road) is funnelled down to almost single file as it comes around the roundabout and slowly crosses the bridge. This is to ensure that no harm comes to this GRADE II listed "building".
Other Contact: On London Rd -West of Barking
The River Roding - Click to Enlarge
The River Roding rises in Dunmow in Essex and flows through the county until it reaches the River Thames at Barking Town. It forms much of the boundary between Barking and Newham.
These are organised morning / lunchtime walks which have been set up for tourists, locals or indeed anyone wishing to improve their health and fitness and at the same time learn about the history, flora and fauna of Barking Park.
They are completely free and are ideal for families and individuals, both young and old.
You are always on good paths which are suitable for wheelchairs. The tour is led by a trained guide with a backup person making sure no one gets left behind.
The walk is circular so you start and finish at the same point. It starts at 11.00am on Saturdays and is 2.7 miles long. It should take approximately 50 minutes.
You meet by The Lodge ie the entrance to Barking Park in Longbridge Road.
Please remember to call 020 8227 3984 in advance and book your free place(s).
Phone: 020 8227 3984
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