Leisure is time off from the pressures of work to relax, enjoy life and go do things you normally cannot do at work. It seems that in today's society, it is hard for us to get away from the hectic schedules of work to enjoy life. We crave time for leisure, and value the time that we do get for leisure. Yet there are many different types of leisure such as Indoor- fitness activities, sports clubs, health farms, cinemas, pubs, and restaurants, as well as outdoor leisure such as sports, walking and enjoying the scenery, and parks.
With the aid of different types of parks- national parks (located in remote areas), country parks (in urban areas, with havens of greenery), and regional parks (a mix of both national parks and country parks), the leisure moments are valued even more because it become more exiting and interesting.
Regional and country parks allow people who live in the city to witness and enjoy leisure in the outdoor form. This is due to the countryside atmosphere, numbers of leisure centres, and the outdoors, natural environment. An example of a type of Regional Park is The Lee Valley Regional Park.
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The Lee Valley Regional Park is located on the lower Lee Valley River. The river creates a boarder between Essex and Hertfordshire. It also flows through several boroughs of London. The River Lee is a tributary of the River Thames
During the Industrial Revolution, the River Lee was used as one of the many transport links. Consequently, the River Lee and its valley became polluted and then derelict. Then in 1963, ten authorities around the Valley discussed, in depth, the future of the Valley. The meeting was held because the pollution of the valley effected the neighbouring areas. The authorities discussed and agreed that the valley was a perfect area to develop into a recreational area.
The parks governing body was set up in 1965, after a bill was promoted in parliament. On the first of January 1967, The Lee Valley Regional Park authority was established due to the Royal Assent.
It is easy to access The Lee Valley Regional Park as the M25 cuts through the park. The park is ten thousand acres (approx.) in land. The regional park has various features such as holiday areas - caravan parks and camping sights, water activities- fishing, swimming, etc., and other sights such as picnic areas, large sums of greenery, and fields for sports as well as sport centres. Due to certain water activities, reservoirs were developed around the region, to insure the usage of water.
The Lee Valley Regional Park 'provides leisure activities while conserving and enhancing the environment.' The purpose of the enquiry is to collect information and evidence, from a field study, to see if the hypothesis is true. I must agree or disagree with the hypothesis. From the field study I will understand if the park meets all it requirements as well as if the park conserves and enhances the environment.
To prove the hypothesis is correct or not I will need to study The Lee Valley Regional Park carefully. I will take a map of the Lee Valley Regional Park and plot data such as assessments, economic activity, signs, facilities, damage and neglect on the map in code. Then I will note the data and what it means on notebook paper. I will assess and evaluate both sides of the river. Then, using the map on the trip I will create two maps. One will be for assessments and the other of economic activities, signs, facilities, damages and neglects. I will produce lists. With this information I will create evidence towards my answer of the hypothesis by producing pie charts and divided bars. Using the maps, pie charts, and divided bars I will analyse and conclude whether or not the hypothesis is correct.
Analysis of Results
To help me reach a decision about whether the hypothesis is true or not, I constructed pie charts, dividing bars, lists, and maps on the data collected on the trip. From the map of assessments, I have analysed that on the near bank, there are more assessments ranging from 1-5 while on the far bank the assessments range only from 3 and 4, mostly consisting of 3.
The near bank consisted of 4% of assessment 5. The far bank consisted of 8% of assessment 5. Similarly the near bank consisted of 8% assessment 1 and the far bank consisted of 0% of assessment 1. On the assessment map, it seems to have large sections of the same assessments. There are long strips of assessment 3 stating that the landscapes around the Lee Valley Regional Park are very similar. Yet a 3 in assessments counted as a nothing special in the landscape for the public to enjoy nor is it enhancing and conserving the environment.
Overall I had a 50% of assessment 3 (69% on the far bank and 38% on the near bank) Towards the end of the route, there seemed to be longer strips of assessment 4 on the near bank. There were also many facilities and economic activities at this point. For example there were car parks, picnic areas, and restaurants. Similarly, during the beginning of the trip, there seems to be many facilities and economic activities compared to the middle of the trip.
Data collected and transferred on map 2 (Signs, Economic Activities, Facilities, Damage, and Neglect) shows that there are many facilities for the public at the Lee Valley Regional Park, yet these facilities are close together at each end of the route. These facilities include car parks, picnic areas, pubs, and restaurants. However, there are facility locations in the middle of the route. Yet these facilities are little thing such as rubbish bins. There also seems to be more facilities on the near bank, than there is on the far bank.
Facilities such as The Crown Pub, the boat hire, and the caravan site were also economic activities. Yet privately owned economic activities such as the factory (E6) seemed to make the Lee Valley Regional Park polluted with rubbish.
The economic activities were distributed evenly on the near bank, however this was not the case on the far bank.
Neglects and Damage
In total, there were 6 numbers of neglects that I recognised on the route. However there seemed to be no neglects after the first lock. This shows that some care has been taken to maintain the park, but not as much to conserve the environment. There was only one neglect on the far bank, which was the resurfacing and painting of lines in the car park. However there were 5 on the near bank.
There were a total of 7 damages that I recognised. Damages such as graffiti, litter, noise, and pollution coming from buildings. Using the neglect and damage dividing bar, there are more damages that neglect.
Overall there were a total of 42 signs. Most of these signs were on the near bank, probably because most of the public uses the near bank. The signs are fairly distributed. There were a handful of signs, which were neglected, yet it did not seem that those signs were any help to the public. Some of the signs were really helpful and informative. These signs included maps, and lots of colour, which attracted a lot of attention.
However, all the results, which I collected, were based upon a small bit of the park. This is because we only followed the near bank. The far bank was seen from a distance, so maybe if I had taken the far bank route, I would have found more assessments, signs, facilities, etc.
From the data that I collected on the trip, and the graphs and maps which I have created using the data, I have come to the conclusion that the Lee Valley Regional Park IS NOT up to the standard of its main purpose which is 'to provide leisure activities while conserving and enhancing the environment'.
50% of the assessments were 3. This means that there wasn't anything for the public in this area as well as that area wasn't conserving or enhancing the environment. If 50% of what I saw was assessed as a 3, than The Lee Valley Regional Park is failing its main purpose.
'To provide leisure activities,' is one of its main purposes. However, from the evidence collected, this does not seem to be the case. There are only 16 facilities that I recognised. Out of those 16 there are only the caravan parks, children's play area, and the picnic areas are leisure facilities. With only 3 leisure facilities, the rest of the facilities are not leisure related. Also the Caravan Park is very dirty, with a lot of waste from people who stay there. The authorities do not seem to take care of the environment around the Caravan Park. It seems that unless the authorities stop neglecting the Caravan Park, there will be a decline in people staying at the Caravan Park. Since the Caravan Park is an economic activity, The Lee Valley Regional Park will start to loose some money.
Most of the facilities are close to the ends of the route. It seems to be like this as the authorities know that people will not walk a long distance, and so the will only walk a little further from the car park, where most of the facilities are. Yet if they are to provide leisure activities, it should be throughout the route.
'Conserving and enhancing the environment' is another purpose of The Lee Valley Regional Park. Yet with a lot of assessment 3, this purpose is not falling through. With private development such as Gravel Pits (E7) and Factories (E6), conserving and enhancing the environment is not possible. These types of developments cause pollution and destroy the environment. It is understandable that these are private developments. However, The Lee Valley Regional Park authority do have control and a say of whether or not they want these private companies developing on their land.
With the air and land pollution comes sound pollution from these development areas. The noise disturbs the environment around it. For example, people will become irritated from the noise that a development area brings e.g. machine noises. Also the wildlife are effected, as they will move away from the noise.
The Lee Valley Regional Park does need more land in order to create more facilities for leisure purposes. This is not possible if there are many private lands owned around the area of the park.
For The Lee Valley Regional Park to meet its requirement, which is to provide leisure activities while conserving and enhancing the environment, it will have to invest money to buy private land, to increase facilities. They will also have to fix damages and neglect. They should also fix the route.
Remember. This is just a sample.
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