Lea Valley Walk - Hertford to Ponders End

26 April 2008

The Lea Valley Walk follows the River Lea from its source at Leagrave north of Luton to the River Thames at Limehouse Basin. Over the years, I've walked quite a bit of it, but with the gift of the revised edition guidebook to the walk from Lucy for Christmas, I plan to do the whole thing in order this year. Today Stephen and George picked up where they'd left off in March in Hertford.

The top lock of the Lee Navigation is Hertford Lock, which we reach as NB Gecko begins her descent towards the Thames

Below the lock the navigation makes its way alongside King's Meads on the right, with the River Nib coming alongside on the left, and joining near the houses in the distance.

Cattle cross the bridge over the New River as it begins its journey from the River Lee here to Islington, a route Stephen and Henry followed last year.

At Ware, we find a weir and another lock

Beyond Ware is a section of the River Lee not previously explored, and we pass Hardmead Lock

George pauses by the Lee. After a close encounter with one of the three hundred or so bikes that passed us during the walk, he is at last being more cautious towards bikes.

After walking the length of the previously unvisited Lee, we are once more on familiar territory from Rye House onwards, where we pass the noisy go-karting track.

At Dobbs Weir the scene is more peaceful, and the pub's garden very popular on a warm day, with the temperature reaching 20C.

Dobbs Weir

George by Dobbs Weir

This section of towpath was officially closed when we were last here for repairs. I'm not sure about the new tarmac surface - having provided a very smooth and flat surface, it has been necessary to install speed bumps to slow down the cyclists.

Aqueduct Lock, named after the aqueduct immediately above the lock which carries the navigation over an old mill stream

Enfield Lock with its sadly boarded up Lee Conservancy building

George briefly shelters from the sun as we pass the point where I finished walking the London Loop in 2006. Sadly the LOOP interpretation board has gone.

The original intention had been to finish at Enfield Lock, but some confusion caused by my original intention to get a train from Ponders End meant that when the plan had changed, I'd arranged for Lucy to pick us up at Ponders End Lock, so we continued south alongside the King George's Reservoirs

George looks sidelong at some sculptures

More sculptures

The Navigation Inn, once a warehouse, more recently a Beefeater, then an independent pub, then a Beefeater and now a Harvester.

Ponders End Lock, and beyond it Wharf Road and the end of today's walk, which turned out to be George's longest, and Stephen's longest since 1996.

Zoom in for more detail, or see map in larger window: Ordnance Survey | Open Street Map | Google Maps

Total 25.9 km, in 5 hours 26 mins. That leaves 18 km left to do to reach Limehouse Basin, the Thames, and the end of the route.

Continue the Lea Valley Walk towards Limehouse and the Thames...


Back Up Next

Unless otherwise stated, all images copyright (c) Stephen and Lucy Dawson