Exploring Greenwich - Part 2: Guardian of the river Thames
So here I am, with the second series to my exploring more in and around Greenwich. There is so much to see really but there are some interesting locations worth a visit, one such is the world's largest movable barriers, the Thames Barrier, protecting London from flooding under storm surge conditions.
To be honest, I knew very little about it myself before I visited it and hence for this post I have picked up some key facts to share from various sources available over the web with reference links at the bottom.
All the images added below are from my multiple visits to the beautiful lush green garden space on the southern side of the Thames Barrier, which is also one of my favourite evening walks.
Operational since 1982, spanning 520 meters across the River Thames, near Woolwich and protecting around 125 square kilometres of central London from flooding caused by tidal surges, stands high these steel barriers.
It comprises of 10 steel gates that can be raised into position across the River Thames. When raised, the main gates stand as high as a 5-storey building and as wide as the opening of the Tower Bridge. Each main gate weighs 3,300 tonnes in itself...WOAH!
How it works
All the gates are hollow and made of steel up to 40 millimetres (1.6 inches) thick. The gates are filled with water when submerged and empty as they emerge from the river. The four large central gates are 20.1 metres (66 ft) high and weigh 3,700 tonnes each.
It remains closed over high water until the water level downstream of the Thames Barrier has reduced to the same level as upstream. This is a managed process to provide for different circumstances, and takes about 5 hours. The Thames Barrier is then opened, allowing the water upstream to flow out to sea with the outward-bound tide.
It gives away some very picturesque views to the Canary Wharf, Royal Wharf, Pontoon Dock and the Thames Barrier Park on the North.
It's among the top 10 tourist attractions in Greenwich with many river boat services taking tourists to high-speed adrenaline gushes. You see them keep coming every few minutes, so I couldn't help but capture some of them.
On the southern end, there is a visitor centre with beautiful views to the Thames Barrier and a perfect setting to have a cup of tea while you enjoy the sunset over Canary Wharf. On a lucky day, you get to see a great play of clouds in the sky with gorgeous white swans cruising their way down the river Thames. Here are some shots from my phone (One Plus 6T)...
And be it any place, I simply can't keep myself away from clicking some mandatory wildlife moments...
Well there is so much more to tell without images as well and for that, here are some of the references: