Hackney Marshes is one of those places that has an instantly recognisable name, even to those who live nowhere near London and would be unlikely to go there even if they are visiting the capital.
The image of a vast expanse of football fields with a plethora of matches going on, perhaps with a few landmark London buildings in the distance, is the image that will come to mind to most; a place of great endeavour but modest skill, except for that one whizzkid all the scouts have come to watch.
However, as any Hackney estate agents will tell you, there is more to the area around Hackney Marshes than football. This week the Guardian published an article providing an insight into the extraordinary escape from the busy big city provided by the River Lea, which flows past the marshes.
The article focused on a series of images of local people last summer, who came down to the riverside to enjoy peace and quiet, the shade of the trees and some fun in boats or swimming in the river as the temperature soared to 35 degrees C.
As well as the contrast this provided to everyday urban life, the article captured the diversity of the community, with people from different countries mixing with locals. The cultural melting pot that is Hackney was there by the riverside.
Of course, Hackney Marshes lies close to some of the most notable developments in the country, with the Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park providing the legacy of a multi-use stadium featuring Premier League football, a velodrome, the Copper Box Arena and a plethora of other developments such as the Westfield Stratford Shopping Centre.
However, sometimes it is good to know that even in a densely populated part of the nation’s capital, there are oases of calm and greenery to be enjoyed.
Indeed, the Lea Valley offers a corridor of greenery and water to explore, with its dedicated walkways passing through Walthamstow and Tottenham to Enfield and northwards out of London; past reservoirs, through parks and playing fields.
New Hackney residents may be surprised and delighted to discover than they ever imagined.