London's Parks and Green Spaces

Russia Dock Woodland

Description

Russia Dock Woodland is a long narrow park in Rotherhithe, London, created by the infilling of one of the former Surrey Commercial Docks. The former Russia Dock was originally used for the importing of timber from Norway, Russia and Sweden. The soft wood, known as "deal wood", was mostly used for newsprint and for manufacturing furniture. Following the closure of the docks in the early 1970s, the area was redeveloped by the London Docklands Development Corporation (LDDC). Russia Dock Woodland was made up of a number of docks, including Russia Dock, Island Dock and Surrey Basin, which were infilled (save for a thin 'stream' through the woodland) and planted as a 34.5-acre (140,000 m 2 ) woodland in 1980. The Woodland still contains surviving dock features including the retaining wall capstones, depth gauges, bollards, mooring chains and tracks. In 1985 the LDDC added an artificial hill, Stave Hill, to the west edge of the park, using waste material and rubble. A relief map of the former docks in cast bronze by Michael Rizzello stands at the top of the hill. The woodlands were established by the LDDC and were handed over to and are now managed by Southwark Council with the assistance of the Friends of Russia Dock Woodland. The LDDC established various footbridges (including the Alfred Salter footbridge) and paths (including Waterman's path along the stream) through the woods, which are now maintained by Southwark Council. The Conservation Volunteers organization (formerly the Trust for Urban Ecology) is responsible for the maintenance of the neighbouring Stave Hill Ecological Park, and works closely with the Friends of Russia Dock Woodland to address issues of concern to both areas. Both ares are an excellent resource for residents of and visitors to Rotherhithe.

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