To mark its 50th anniversary, Lee Valley Regional Park Authority will be giving away hundreds of free tickets for people across London to enjoy different experiences at the various venues and parks.
Online registration for ‘Lee Valley Big 50’ opened on Thursday, April 13 and features tickets to activities and events across Lee Valley Regional Park, in Enfield, including white water rafting at Lee Valley White Water Centre, tickets to Six Day London at Lee Valley VeloPark, family passes to Lee Valley Park Farms and horse riding at Lee Valley Riding Centre.
People can apply for tickets to as many attractions or activities as they like by registering and entering the ballot online. If successful, they will win tickets to one of their selected activities. The closing date is 5pm on Monday, May 15.
Shaun Dawson, chief executive at Lee Valley Regional Park Authority, said; “The creation of Lee Valley Regional Park was the trigger for the amazing transformation of the Lee Valley over the past 50 years - changing from what was often referred to as ‘London’s Back Yard’ to a world class visitor destination.
“To celebrate this milestone, we are thrilled to be able to give away hundreds of free experiences across the park, allowing more and more people to enjoy sports and leisure activities in our wonderful 10,000 acre green space.
“Whether it's white water rafting, athletics, golf, horse riding, ice skating, cycling, camping or simply exploring the countryside, Lee Valley’s Big 50 has something for everyone”.
At the beginning of the twentieth century, much of the Lee Valley was a space for industry including armaments, engineering, electronics and chemicals, as well as housing sewage works, rubbish dumps, scrap metal yards and railway sidings.
Wartime bombing, changes in industry and post war reconstruction meant that 50 years ago, much of the land in the Lee Valley was derelict, neglected and unloved.
Architect and city planner Patrick Abercrombie recognised the Valley’s potential and in 1944 suggested that it be regenerated to create a “green lung” and “a playground for Londoners” in his seminal Greater London Plan
The plans lay untouched until the 1960s when the Mayor of Hackney, Alderman Lou Sherman, who also saw the region’s potential for leisure and recreation, took on the challenge to regenerate it.
By 1963 he had the backing of 17 other local authorities and The Civic Trust and in 1966 the Lee Valley Regional Park Bill was passed, which lead to the formation of the Lee Valley Regional Park Authority in 1967.
Fast forward 50 years and Lee Valley Regional Park now provides state-of-the-art sports centres, urban green spaces, heritage sites, country parks, farms and nature reserves for seven million visitors to enjoy every year.
To find out more about the different free experiences, visit: LeeValleyBig50.org.uk