Work is underway to create around 250 acres of new parklands, on former industrial land, that will provide a colourful and festival atmosphere for the London 2012 Games and afterwards become the largest new urban park in the UK for over 100 years.
The first of 4,000 new semi-mature trees are taking root in the Olympic Park with around 100 ash, cherry and hazel trees, grown in Hampshire, already planted.
The first of 300,000 wetland plants, grown in Norfolk and Wales for the UK’s largest ever urban river and wetland planting, were laid on the river banks today by Minister for Sport and the Olympics Hugh Robertson, TV Gardener Charlie Dimmock, Olympic Gold medal winner Jonathan Edwards, Olympic Delivery Authority (ODA) Chairman John Armitt and children from the Olympic Park construction crew.
The new reed beds are being created in a large wetland bowl in the north of the Olympic Park, formerly a 100 year old landfill site, where visitors during the Games will be able to relax and watch the action in 2012 on live screens. In legacy the riverside area will be a tranquil space for people and wildlife which will also help protect 5,000 properties in the area from flooding.
New webcams enable people to watch the park taking shape first-hand at www.london2012.com
Over 2,000 semi-mature British-grown trees have been hand-picked to form the roots of the central parklands. The four to seven metre trees, grown by Hilliers Nurseries in Hampshire, are predominantly native species such as ash, alder, willow, birch, hazel, cherry, poplar, London plane and lime. The trees will provide shelter from wind and sunshine across the park, willow, poplar and alder will be planted in river areas to withstand flooding and species vulnerable to climate change have been avoided.