Half of my friends will hate me for posting this. And half will love me. Springfield Park in E5 is a hidden pocket of lush, green, zen peaking out the top of Hackney.
This is the view as you zoom through the park gates from Clapton. A lake dripping in thick green willows, quacking ducks and daffodils if you’re lucky. No, this is not Hereford. Hackney.
The park is perfect for running, as the top half of the park is flat, with a drop off leading down a hill towards the canal. Walthamstow marshes recline in the background – a wide, open panoramic vista. At the top of the hill wooden benches have been placed within little box hedges, where couples, and the odd tramp sit watching the sun set. Ok, and drinking cider. But discreetly. Better than noisy groups glugging white wine. I promise.
The canal at the bottom is a gentle hive of activity – barges, rowers and brave dogs glide along. On the far side, narrow walkways weave out into the marshes which offer a few hours exploration if you’re running in a group. At night, on a full moon, take wellies and wade through in the luna light. Super beautiful.
Back in the park, five free tennis courts are where I spend Sunday mornings, well OK I’ve spent one Sunday morning (so far) practicing my racquet skills. And you rarely have to wait for a court. Yes I said free. Oh dear, why am I posting this?
After all the running, serving and rowing, Spark Cafe in the pretty white house at the top of the hill serves fair trade tea and coffee, natch (well this is practically Stoke Newington), homemade vegetable curries, organic fry ups and fresh juices. Inside on the big wooden tables if it’s cold and outside on the grass if it’s not. A great place to expel a hangover, even if you’re not making use of your trainers.
Sorry to all the friends who already know about Springfield and now hate me for sharing our local secret. To everyone else, I’ll see you on the courts.