The London 2012 Games are the catalyst for transforming 2.5sq km of land in east London. What was once industrial, contaminated land has been rapidly transformed over the past three years.
The Olympic Park will create a green backdrop for the Games and a new green space after 2012 for people and wildlife living in and around the area to enjoy.
The southern part of the Park will focus on retaining the festival atmosphere of the Games, with riverside gardens, markets, events, cafes and bars. The northern area will use the latest green techniques to manage flood and rain water, while providing quieter public space and habitats for hundreds of existing and rare species, from kingfishers to otters.
Around 2,000 semi-mature British-grown trees have been hand-picked to form the roots of the Park’s green spaces, which will be enjoyed by spectators and become a home for wildlife. There will also be a further 2,000 trees planted on the Olympic and Paralympic Village site.
The trees have been carefully selected to ensure they are ‘future proof’ against climate change. They are mostly native species, such as ash, alder, willow, birch, hazel, cherry, poplar, London plane and lime.
More than 300,000 wetland plants will also be planted in the Park. It will be the UK’s largest ever urban river and wetland planting. It will help create a colourful riverside setting for the London 2012 Games.
Stretching for half a mile between the Aquatics Centre and Olympic Stadium will be an area of gardens that will celebrate centuries of British passion for gardens and plants. They will trace the journey of the UK’s plant collectors around the world through more than 250 species of plants, trees, meadows and herbs.
It will also be a highly accessible Park. The gradients of the paths will be accessible to everyone and views will be maintained of the new venues and landmarks in the surrounding area. ‘Henman Hills’ will be created so visitors to the Park during the Games will be able to watch live action on large screens.