Greenwich Park Giant Steps work nears the finish line

Work to alter the landscape of Greenwich Park with the installation of “giant steps” is nearing the finish line.

Perhaps one of the most visible signs of a wider Greenwich Park upgrade project, the steps see a section in front of General Wolfe’s statue returned to something like seen hundreds of years ago.

Work underway

Also known as the Grand Ascent, it’s an extremely visible change noticeable from across the park and also sees trees removed and others planted either side.

If you’re wondering whether you can ever recall the giant steps, well, no. This isn’t something from a few decades ago but the 17th century.

Work on eastern side of Grand Ascent as seen earlier this year

The park became a far more formal affair in the 17th century under Charles II who commissioned André Le Nôtre to landscape the Royal hunting grounds.

Le Nôtre was also behind gardens at Versailles.

Observatory on right

After working with Loue XIV he begun designing gardens at Greenwich starting in 1662.

Changes are also underway at the top of the former slope – now steps – which offer for my money the best views in London.

General Wolfe statue vantage point offers best views in London

I’d also add the recent decision to defer a decision on new homes due to views from here are odd. There may be other valid views about the development on Greenwich peninsula but in terms of tall buildings there’s dozens already visible. And to me that’s what makes it such a wonderful sight.

There’s thousands of years of history laid out in one vista – and how they all connected and fed into the other is so very legible. The view below is actually from One Tree Hill but gets the point across.

View across London from Greenwich Park

The view from further west is better as it offers a greater sweep. But just look above with the Victorian power station, various centuries of residential buildings then modern towers. The river running through it all.

It reminds me of when you see those dreary-old nostalgic posts on social media showing views from the 1970s compared to now which is supposed to induce a dislike of the present. Nope.

Splendour of the Queen’s House in front of modern London with the Thames between

The view today is wonderful. The smog covered, dull vistas of decades past showed a city in decline. Half of the buildings with merit were soot covered or about to be demolished. Generally crap compared to now.

We can see the glorious Queen’s House and Naval College with fne Georgian and Victorian buildings dotted around amongst sites such as the former Millennium Dome and a rising Canary Wharf. Each compliments the other.

Other park changes

The park is undergoing other changes including renovation of a bandstand while the pavilion café dating from 1906 has had a spruce up.

A wildlife meadow has also opened alongside a learning centre.

Bandstand set for renovation. Courtesy The Royal Parks

Funding for upgrades comes from a variety of sources including the Royal Parks alongside a £4.5m grant from the Parks for People programme obtained from The National Lottery Heritage Fund and The National Lottery Community Fun.

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J Smith

I've lived in south east London most of my life growing up in Greenwich borough and working in the area for many years. The site has contributors on occasion and we cover many different topics. Living and working in the area offers an insight into what is happening locally.

    3 thoughts on “Greenwich Park Giant Steps work nears the finish line

    • What a lovely park it is!

      The transformation is truly remarkable, and I find the grass steps particularly delightful. They add a charming, natural touch that seamlessly integrates with the surrounding landscape.

      I wholeheartedly agree that the photos from the 1960s and 1970s appear quite dreary and depressing. Those who romanticize that era are likely longing for the days of their youth. It’s common for us to look back on our younger years with nostalgia, often believing that things were better then simply because we were younger and perhaps more carefree.

      Reply
    • The work has transformed the park alright. Transformed it from a space that looked natural and appealing to a landscape that looks man-made and out of place. This whole project has been an insane waste of money and a dreadful vanity project for the out-of-touch people responsible for the Royal Parks.

      Reply
      • I disagree. The rewinding is certainly making it look more natural and hopefully will bring more bees to the park. The space where the steps were was completely wasted and fenched off at the bottom. It’s opening up a lot of the park and harking back to the victorian age which is a great way to pay tribute to the areas heritage

        The new trees at the bottom look lovely. I’m really impressed with it all. Finally the new cafe is in a great spot. Always found it odd bar that temporary hut about 8 years ago there hasn’t been anything in that corner of the pallrk

        Reply

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