The Lee Valley White Water Centre, which opened in the spring of 2011, was the first completely new Olympic venue to be completed and the only one available to the general public before the Games.
Building work to create the White Water facility got underway in the summer of 2009 but given the extent of the construction it was a complex 18-month project which was completed just before the end of 2010. Private testing then took place and the centre has now been open to the public for more than a year, making it the only new London 2012 venue that members of the public can utilise before the Olympic Games.
The £31million centre which is located 18 miles to the north of Stratford’s Olympic Park venue, outside the M25 in Hertfordshire near Waltham Cross, includes two floodlit canoe slalom courses. One course is a 300-metre competition circuit with a drop of 5.5m and the other is a 160m training circuit with a descent of 1.6m, both of which are pump-fed from a 10,000 square metre lake.
There is also a main building that houses a cafe bar, changing rooms, offices and meeting rooms. There will also be temporary seats for the Games, but these will be dismantled afterwards, when the centre will become a white-water rafting, canoeing and kayaking facility for the local community.
The centre borders the 1,000-acre River Lee Country Park, making it an attractive place for athletes to compete and for spectators to visit.
Lee Valley Regional Park Authority will operate the facility after London 2012 and it will remain a world class facility for participants of all experience and skill levels. The venue will also host the 2015 Canoe Slalom World Championships.
Public facilities: There is a terraced cafe bar overlooking the courses. The Games Mobility service will be present, plus there is a London 2012 Shop. There will also be London 2012 information points for venue and sports information, transport updates, lost and found services and pushchair and wheelchair storage.
History: The Lee Valley White Water Centre opened in the spring of 2011 and was the first completely new Olympic venue to be completed and opened to the public.
What’s on? Canoe slalom (29th July to 2nd August)
How do you get there? Road or rail offer the only real options of getting to the centre, which is located in the River Lee Country Park midway between Waltham Cross in Hertfordshire and Waltham Abbey in Essex, and around nine miles north of the Olympic Park in London. If you are travelling by train, Cheshunt is the nearest National Rail station. You can then either walk to the centre, which is 20 minutes away, or take a shuttle bus. If you are travelling by car, the centre is situated just off the A121, but you will need to use a park-and-ride service to reach it.
Location – in relation to other venues: The Lee Valley White Water Centre is located 18 miles to the north of Stratford’s Olympic Park venue, outside the M25 in Hertfordshire near Waltham Cross.
Find it on the map: here.