Geology Site Account
Springfield Park, Hackney, HACKNEY, London Borough of Hackney, TQ346876, General geological site
Designated Geological Nature Reserve
Springfield Park is on the west bank of the River Lea, and therefore just outside the old county of Essex, but it is included in this gazetteer because it is London’s only geological nature reserve. The geology of the park is straightforward with gravel of the Hackney Terrace of the Thames lying directly on the London Clay. As the name implies, the primary geological interest is the occurrence of numerous springs where groundwater flowing through the gravel emerges at the surface where it meets the impervious clay below. The springs are sometimes a trickle and at other times a vigorous bubbling flow and the damp ground creates lush vegetation providing a reminder of the relationship between geology and plant life.
There are many other aspects of geology that can be demonstrated in the park, from the different types of vegetation that can be seen growing on sandy or clay soils, to the cracks in the tarmac paths that indicate minor landslips as the clay slowly moves downhill. All this is contained in an excellent leaflet on the geology, produced by geologist Eric Robinson when the park was designated a geological nature reserve in 1997.
A steep walk to the top of the park rewards the visitor with a fine view of the Lea valley containing the complex of reservoirs supplying drinking water to the north and east London (see under Walthamstow in the Borough of Waltham Forest). It is a good place to appreciate the great width of the valley which was created during times of a melting ice sheet, when the vegetation was sparse, the river was swollen with meltwater and debris, and the local wildlife included reindeer and polar bear.
The park has an information office were leaflets can be obtained.
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Reference: Robinson 1997
Geology Site Map
A-Z Geological Site Index