AN ancient tradition marking out the boundaries of Lammas Land on Leyton Marshes brought out over 40 walkers for the procession.

The annual Beating of the Bounds saw the intrepid crew, carrying stripped willow wands with colourful ribbons according to custom, tramp the boundary of the special land almost entirely in the rain.

The walkers were led by ecclesiastical lawyer Rev Dr Meic Phillips and Katy Andrews of the New Lammas Lands Defence Committee (NLLDC) around the land which is held in trust by the council for use by the public.

Ms Andrews said: "Halfway along the parish boundary with Walthamstow rain and mud threatened to defeat the gang's attempts to scramble up the steep bank on to the Sustrans route along the former aqueduct.

"But luckily the boundsmen this year included an outward bound instructor, an extreme sports enthusiast and two mountain climbers.

"Everyone was eventually hoisted up in human chain with no worse injury than a few stings from the nettles."

The wet weather meant the route was shortened but the walk ended as usual at the Eton Manor Cottage by Dagenham Brook bridge in Marsh Lane.

The site is marked by a plaque which commemorates Lammas Day in 1892, when 2,000 Leyton residents rioted on the marshes against a land grab by the East London Water Works Company.

At the end of the walk ribbons were removed from the willow sticks which were cast into the stream before wishes were made.

The day was rounded off with a slap-up sandwich and sausage roll tea at the Hare and Hounds pub in Lea Bridge Road.