Geology Site Account
Bow Creek Meanders, CANNING TOWN, London Borough of Newham, TQ392812, General geological site
A meander is a looping bend in a river, probably the best known example in Britain being the majestic loop of the Thames at the Isle of Dogs. However, there are more impressive meanders on the River Lea near its confluence with the Thames immediately opposite the Millennium Dome. This part of the River Lea is called Bow Creek and here the river turns back on itself twice before finally discharging into the Thames.
The reason for a river adopting a meandering course is not fully understood but it is clear that a river uses less energy this way and once a curving channel has been established, water moving downstream will exaggerate the curve and eventually create a series of loops which move back and forth across the floodplain.
The Bow Creek meanders have created two tongues of land; the western one has long been derelict and has now been designated as Bow Creek Ecology Park. Good views of the Bow Creek meanders can be obtained from the Docklands Light Railway which passes over the park on a modern viaduct but they can only be fully appreciated from the air.
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