The Wildlife & Wellbeing Trail is designed for Barking Riverside’s residents and visitors to journey through a unique ecosystem and discover the endangered, protected and often hidden wildlife of Barking Riverside in East London. The trail includes Oystercatcher Park, home to a range of endangered and protected species, and the Thames Foreshore, where seals sunbathe on the shoreline and migrant birds travel from the South African shores to breed.
Responding to the area’s histories and unique wildlife, Create London commissioned architects, artists and graphic designers to design the trail and associated activities. Informed by ecologists and wildlife experts, the creatives dived deep into the context through repeat visits and collective knowledge sharing, learning all about the local soil, plant life, animals and insects that cohabitate the unique ecosystem. The trail signage is designed by Channel Projects and graphic designer Studio Vandling. Committed to circular design principles, Channel Projects have transformed discarded building materials and derelict fencing found locally into new designs for the trail. While the new signs and markers are sensitively installed in the landscape, their materiality makes legible references to the area’s industrial history and its current housing development.
Artist Joseph June Bond worked closely with the community to create two new sound artworks. Titled ‘Estuaries of Echoes: Mud’ and ‘Estuaries of Echoes: Marsh’, the works are inspired by the sounds of local industries, incorporating residents’ stories of Barking Riverside’s past, underwater recordings and the sounds of local youth ‘playing’ the landscape like an instrument.
The trail launched in Autumn 2023 alongside a dedicated zine exploring the Wildlife & Wellbeing Trail in more depth. The publication was designed by Barking-born graphic designer Rosalyn McLean following two workshops she delivered with local families.
The Wildlife & Wellbeing Trail is commissioned by Create London and funded by Barking Riverside Limited.
Find out more here.