Mudchute Park and Farm is an east London “people’s park” covering 13 hectares (32 acres) in the middle of the Isle of Dogs. It is managed by the Mudchute Association, a charitable body, in partnership with the London Borough of Tower Hamlets.
Address: Mudchute Park & Farm, Pier Street, Isle of Dogs, London E14 3HP. (Map:; OS grid reference TQ381788) Tel 020 7515 5901.
History[edit | edit source]
The Mudchute Park & Farm was established by the local Island community on derelict land created during the 20th century from the spoil of construction from dredging Millwall Dock. The hidden natural wilderness remained untouched for decades until 1974, when the site was earmarked by the Greater London Council for a high-rise estate. The resulting public campaign against these plans reflected the affection that local people and those working on the Island felt for The Mudchute. Their success secured it as the "People's Park" for the area. In 1977 the Mudchute Association was formed to preserve and develop the area. Its objectives include preserving the natural environment of the Mudchute, advancing the education of local people in countryside activities and promoting conservation both of the natural and the built environment. The association introduced farm animals (British rare breeds) and horses and has planted trees and flowering plants.
Habitat[edit | edit source]
Together with the adjacent Millwall Park, Mudchute Park & Farm provides the only substantial area of grassland on the Isle of Dogs.
Species[edit | edit source]
The park attracts thrushes and finches in winter and warblers in summer; the paddocks can be good for pipits and wagtails during migration, and Starling numbers are quite high for London, drawn in by the plentiful animal feed. House Sparrows are present in much smaller numbers. There is a chance of passage migrants such as Northern Wheatear, Common Redstart, Spotted Flycatcher, Whinchat and Ring Ouzel. There is a small nature trail. The park is also frequented by a flock of Monk Parakeet, currently numbering around 21 individuals (which makes a change from their Ring-necked cousins, though this species has become more frequent here in recent years). Recent notable sightings include several Firecrests in the last few years, Hawfinch, and Pied Flycatcher.
(The farm has its own birdlife: White-Crested Black Polish Chicken, Brahma Chicken, Light Sussex Chicken, Rhode Island Red Chicken, Muscovy Duck, Indian Runner Duck, Chinese Goose, Greylag and Pied Turkey, plus aviary birds such as Budgerigar, Chinese Painted Quail and Golden Pheasant.).
The site can be combined with a visit to the Thames foreshore for gulls. A Ring-billed Gull wintered regularly at Saunders Ness until 2009. Mediterranean and Yellow-legged Gulls are fairly regular and rarer sightings include Iceland Gull, Caspian Gull, Little Gull and Kittiwake. Low tide is best. It is also easy to access Tower Hamlets Cemetery and East India Dock Basin by the DLR.
Mammals, reptiles and amphibians
Hedgehogs are still just about hanging on in the area, probably the only place in Tower Hamelts where a population remains. Grey Squirrels are abundant and totally without fear of humans - feeding them is discouraged. The ubiqiotous Fox and Brown Rat are also present. The status of small mammals is currently unknown. There are no confirmed reptile sightings, though there are unconfirmed reports from the 1990s and the habitat is certainly suitable. The ponds support large populations of Common Frog and Smooth Newt, and a Marsh Frog was seen in 2013.
The flower-rich areas support a good diversity of common butterflies, including Meadow Brown, Gatekeeper, Common and Holly Blues, Speckled Wood and Small, Large and Essex Skippers. Jersey Tiger has colonised in recent years and is now common. Azure Damselfly breeds in the ponds.
Practicalities[edit | edit source]
Mudchute Park & Farm is easy to reach by car, train, bus, foot, cycle, river ferry or the Docklands Light Railway.
By car, take the A13 and follow signs to Canary Wharf, then take the A1206 towards Island Gardens and turn right at the second Pier Street turn off. On-site parking is strictly limited and allocated on a strictly first come first, served basis. There is limited meter parking on Pier Street and neighbouring streets.
If travelling by train, take the DLR to Mudchute. On leaving the station, cross East Ferry Road and you will see the entrance gateway to Mudchute Park & Farm just to your immediate left.
By bus, take route D3, D6 or 135 to Crossharbour Asda hyperstore. Walk across the car park to the rear and enter Mudchute Park & Farm at the gate next to the car wash facility. Alternatively catch the D3 or D7 bus travelling via Island Gardens tube station, and alight at Pier Street. At the end of Pier Street you will find the entrance to Mudchute Park and Farm.
On foot, you can walk to Mudchute Park & Farm from either Island Gardens or Canary Wharf in under 15 minutes. From Island Gardens cross Millwall Park and enter the Park at the gate next to the One O'clock Club. From Canary Wharf cross the footbridge to South Quay and walk down East Ferry Road entering Mudchute Park, at the entrance just after Asda.
The park is open all day every day. The farm is open from 9am to 5pm during BST and 8am to 4pm during GMT. Admission is free, but voluntary donations are welcome. Most areas of the farm are accessible by wheelchair but not all the paths have tarmac surfaces, During and after heavy rain, paths with a natural surface can become muddy.
Toilets, including a disabled toilet, are available in the farm courtyard and extensive hand washing facilities are available throughout the farm. Baby changing facilities are available in the ladies public toilet within the courtyard. The on-site Mudchute Kitchen serves a daily changing menu in the courtyard and is open Tuesday to Sunday from 9am to 5pm.