If Springfield Park were anywhere but this slightly forlorn corner of Clapton it would be overrun with joggers, revellers and pram-toting parents; instead, it's so little-known it's like a private garden for locals. Further north than its more famous East End siblings Clissold and Victoria, Springfield Park is a way to leave London for a few hours without the bother of actually travelling. The lack of tube connections is almost a bonus. A scenic wander or cycle along the Lea River towpath is a bucolic way to get there. Beautiful views across the River Lea and the Walthamstow Marshes were an ideal canvas for veteran Victorian park designer and chief officer of parks JJ Sexby, who also designed Brockwell Park. One of the elegant original houses, White Lodge Mansion, survives; it's now the Spark Café and rangers' office.
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