diamond geezer

 Saturday, September 28, 2013

NR400: 1613 - 2013
Hertford → Islington
(28 miles)

If you've ever fancied walking the New River, there's never been a better time. Indeed I suspect there'll be more people walking it this weekend than ever before, because it's 400 years old tomorrow, which is a damned impressive anniversary for a 17th century aqueduct that still works. Some will only walk a short part, some will walk for longer, and a few valiant souls are even planning to walk the lot. I wasn't sure if I'd enjoy walking the New River Path, I wasn't convinced a private canal would hit the spot. But I was pleasantly surprised by the diversity of the walk, from scenic Herts through built-up Middlesex backwaters to the heart of the city. And I was rewarded by a number of intriguing places I passed through along the way, many that I'd never have found myself in otherwise. You should have a go one day. Here's my advice.

Get a map: If you don't have a map of some sort, you will get lost. The route is well signposted for most of the way, but there are sufficient gremlins in certain spots to ensure you'll miss the path. You'd think following a river would be easy, but the path alongside is sometimes blocked off (especially south of the M25) and then you're diverted through residential streets instead. An Ordnance Survey map's no help. The New River Path isn't a public right of way - it's been opened permissively by Thames Water - so no useful dotted line appears on any Landranger or Explorer. But you will find the New River Path marked on the excellent OpenStreetMap, see here, all the way along (I think) the correct route. I've also had a go at mapping the path on a Google map (the management accepts no responsibility for any accident, injury or tantrums that may be caused). But what you really should do is get hold of the official New River Path booklet published by Thames Water. It's full colour, it's 28 pages long, and it shows not just where to go but also the major points of interest on the way. I eventually got hold of a copy last weekend, after I'd finished walking the whole thing, thanks to a useful table of goodies at an Open House event. You can ring (0845 9200 800) or write (PO Box 436 Swindon SN38 1TU) for a copy, so it says on the back. Or you can download it, thanks to a page that appeared on the Thames Water website less than two weeks ago. That full New River Path booklet is here. You'll want it.

Check out an old map: The original New River was 40 miles long, but has been straightened over the years to cut off several contour-hugging detours. It's informative to see where the 400-year old route deviates, indeed some of the larger loops near Enfield are walkable in their own right. A wonderful (zoomable) 1834 map can be found here.

Wear sensible shoes: The New River was never a working canal so never had a proper towpath. This means the banks are often just grass, which can get muddy and squelchy after wet weather. Perfectly fine in the summer, but best be prepared at other times.

Walk south: Obviously, because that's the direction the New River flows.

How many days does it take to walk the New River Path? That depends. It definitely takes more than one, and it probably takes more than two. I did it in three. You might feel more comfortable doing it in four. One way to find out is to start walking at the Hertford end and see how far south you get before you feel tired. Stop at Broxbourne and you're a 4-dayer. Continue to Cheshunt and you're a 3-dayer. Cross the M25 and you can do it in two.

The New River Path in two days: The halfway point is roughly Enfield. To be a little more accurate, it's approximately Turkey Street. You can catch trains fairly easily here, or from either of the two main Enfield stations. You don't need to stay overnight in the area (although that's what one dedicated group is doing this weekend, sleeping over at Theobald's Park).

The New River Path in three days: I ended my first day in Cheshunt, although be warned it's a non-trivial walk from the path (on the New River) to the station (on the Lea). Then I ended my second day at Palmer's Green, to create three roughly equal sections. Did I tell you how enjoyable it was?

The New River Path in four days: This means four sections each approximately seven miles in length. Day one ends at Broxbourne, immediately adjacent to the station, which is ideal. Day two ends in Enfield, probably Enfield Town rather than Enfield Chase. Day three ends at Alexandra Palace, or Wood Green, take your pick. And day four is urban all the way to Islington.

If you don't want to walk it all, which bit? The Hertfordshire half is definitely prettier than the London half... in which case I'd suggest the first seven miles from Ware to Broxbourne. If you want to get the full flavour of the New River, rural and urban, then Cheshunt through Enfield delivers this in only five miles. And if it's an inner London heritage stroll you're after, maybe try the five miles from Finsbury Park to Angel, which is mostly along streets but with a few good stretches of water to enjoy.

I've walked all of it. Click to read more.
New Gauge → Chadwell Springs → Ware → Great Amwell → Rye House → Hoddesdon → Broxbourne → Wormley → Turnford → Cheshunt → M25 → Turkey Street → Enfield → Winchmore Hill → Bowes Park → Palmers Green → Alexandra Palace → Hornsey → Harringay → Finsbury Park → Woodberry Down → Stoke Newington → Canonbury → Islington → Angel → New River Head

...or read the whole thing on one page here.

My New River gallery
There are 146 photographs altogether. [slideshow]

And yes, it's 400 years old tomorrow. Get out and celebrate.

Sunday 29th September (list courtesy of the New River Action Group)
» 1.30-4.30 Sir Hugh Myddelton's Glory: New River Head. A special event, funded by Thames Water and organised by the Amwell Society. There will be a re-enactment of the opening of the New River on the very site it happened 400 years ago, with live theatre, music, food and fireworks. The event is invitation-only...
» 9.30-1.30 New River 400 Walk organised by John Polley. The walk starts in Finsbury Park and finishes at New River Head, Islington, where the main New River 400 celebration event organised by the Amwell Society will be taking place. Get yourself a free invite to the big bash here.
» 9.30-6 New River 400 Year Anniversary celebrations at Myddelton House Gardens.
» 11-4 Myddleton Road Market. A special street market in Bowes Park.
» 12-4 New River 400: Family Activity Day at Clissold Park. At The Old Bowls Green.
» 11-4 New River Walk 400 Year Celebration. Free community fun day along the New River Walk in Islington

<< click for Newer posts

click for Older Posts >>

click to return to the main page

...or read more in my monthly archives
Jan23  Feb23  Mar23  Apr23  May23  Jun23  Jul23  Aug23  Sep23  Oct23  Nov23  Dec23
Jan22  Feb22  Mar22  Apr22  May22  Jun22  Jul22  Aug22  Sep22  Oct22  Nov22  Dec22
Jan21  Feb21  Mar21  Apr21  May21  Jun21  Jul21  Aug21  Sep21  Oct21  Nov21  Dec21
Jan20  Feb20  Mar20  Apr20  May20  Jun20  Jul20  Aug20  Sep20  Oct20  Nov20  Dec20
Jan19  Feb19  Mar19  Apr19  May19  Jun19  Jul19  Aug19  Sep19  Oct19  Nov19  Dec19
Jan18  Feb18  Mar18  Apr18  May18  Jun18  Jul18  Aug18  Sep18  Oct18  Nov18  Dec18
Jan17  Feb17  Mar17  Apr17  May17  Jun17  Jul17  Aug17  Sep17  Oct17  Nov17  Dec17
Jan16  Feb16  Mar16  Apr16  May16  Jun16  Jul16  Aug16  Sep16  Oct16  Nov16  Dec16
Jan15  Feb15  Mar15  Apr15  May15  Jun15  Jul15  Aug15  Sep15  Oct15  Nov15  Dec15
Jan14  Feb14  Mar14  Apr14  May14  Jun14  Jul14  Aug14  Sep14  Oct14  Nov14  Dec14
Jan13  Feb13  Mar13  Apr13  May13  Jun13  Jul13  Aug13  Sep13  Oct13  Nov13  Dec13
Jan12  Feb12  Mar12  Apr12  May12  Jun12  Jul12  Aug12  Sep12  Oct12  Nov12  Dec12
Jan11  Feb11  Mar11  Apr11  May11  Jun11  Jul11  Aug11  Sep11  Oct11  Nov11  Dec11
Jan10  Feb10  Mar10  Apr10  May10  Jun10  Jul10  Aug10  Sep10  Oct10  Nov10  Dec10 
Jan09  Feb09  Mar09  Apr09  May09  Jun09  Jul09  Aug09  Sep09  Oct09  Nov09  Dec09
Jan08  Feb08  Mar08  Apr08  May08  Jun08  Jul08  Aug08  Sep08  Oct08  Nov08  Dec08
Jan07  Feb07  Mar07  Apr07  May07  Jun07  Jul07  Aug07  Sep07  Oct07  Nov07  Dec07
Jan06  Feb06  Mar06  Apr06  May06  Jun06  Jul06  Aug06  Sep06  Oct06  Nov06  Dec06
Jan05  Feb05  Mar05  Apr05  May05  Jun05  Jul05  Aug05  Sep05  Oct05  Nov05  Dec05
Jan04  Feb04  Mar04  Apr04  May04  Jun04  Jul04  Aug04  Sep04  Oct04  Nov04  Dec04
Jan03  Feb03  Mar03  Apr03  May03  Jun03  Jul03  Aug03  Sep03  Oct03  Nov03  Dec03
 Jan02  Feb02  Mar02  Apr02  May02  Jun02  Jul02 Aug02  Sep02  Oct02  Nov02  Dec02 

jack of diamonds
Life viewed from London E3

» email me
» follow me on twitter
» follow the blog on Twitter
» follow the blog on RSS

» my flickr photostream

twenty blogs
our bow
ian visits
broken tv
blue witch
on london
the great wen
edith's streets
spitalfields life
round the island
wanstead meteo
christopher fowler
the greenwich wire
bus and train user
ruth's coastal walk
round the rails we go
london reconnections
from the murky depths

quick reference features
Things to do in Outer London
Things to do outside London
Inner London toilet map
20 years of blog series
The DG Tour of Britain

read the archive
Dec23  Nov23  Oct23  Sep23
Aug23  Jul23  Jun23  May23
Apr23  Mar23  Feb23  Jan23
Dec22  Nov22  Oct22  Sep22
Aug22  Jul22  Jun22  May22
Apr22  Mar22  Feb22  Jan22
Dec21  Nov21  Oct21  Sep21
Aug21  Jul21  Jun21  May21
Apr21  Mar21  Feb21  Jan21
Dec20  Nov20  Oct20  Sep20
Aug20  Jul20  Jun20  May20
Apr20  Mar20  Feb20  Jan20
Dec19  Nov19  Oct19  Sep19
Aug19  Jul19  Jun19  May19
Apr19  Mar19  Feb19  Jan19
Dec18  Nov18  Oct18  Sep18
Aug18  Jul18  Jun18  May18
Apr18  Mar18  Feb18  Jan18
Dec17  Nov17  Oct17  Sep17
Aug17  Jul17  Jun17  May17
Apr17  Mar17  Feb17  Jan17
Dec16  Nov16  Oct16  Sep16
Aug16  Jul16  Jun16  May16
Apr16  Mar16  Feb16  Jan16
Dec15  Nov15  Oct15  Sep15
Aug15  Jul15  Jun15  May15
Apr15  Mar15  Feb15  Jan15
Dec14  Nov14  Oct14  Sep14
Aug14  Jul14  Jun14  May14
Apr14  Mar14  Feb14  Jan14
Dec13  Nov13  Oct13  Sep13
Aug13  Jul13  Jun13  May13
Apr13  Mar13  Feb13  Jan13
Dec12  Nov12  Oct12  Sep12
Aug12  Jul12  Jun12  May12
Apr12  Mar12  Feb12  Jan12
Dec11  Nov11  Oct11  Sep11
Aug11  Jul11  Jun11  May11
Apr11  Mar11  Feb11  Jan11
Dec10  Nov10  Oct10  Sep10
Aug10  Jul10  Jun10  May10
Apr10  Mar10  Feb10  Jan10
Dec09  Nov09  Oct09  Sep09
Aug09  Jul09  Jun09  May09
Apr09  Mar09  Feb09  Jan09
Dec08  Nov08  Oct08  Sep08
Aug08  Jul08  Jun08  May08
Apr08  Mar08  Feb08  Jan08
Dec07  Nov07  Oct07  Sep07
Aug07  Jul07  Jun07  May07
Apr07  Mar07  Feb07  Jan07
Dec06  Nov06  Oct06  Sep06
Aug06  Jul06  Jun06  May06
Apr06  Mar06  Feb06  Jan06
Dec05  Nov05  Oct05  Sep05
Aug05  Jul05  Jun05  May05
Apr05  Mar05  Feb05  Jan05
Dec04  Nov04  Oct04  Sep04
Aug04  Jul04  Jun04  May04
Apr04  Mar04  Feb04  Jan04
Dec03  Nov03  Oct03  Sep03
Aug03  Jul03  Jun03  May03
Apr03  Mar03  Feb03  Jan03
Dec02  Nov02  Oct02  Sep02
back to main page

the diamond geezer index
2021 2020 2019 2018 2017
2016 2015 2014 2013 2012
2011 2010 2009 2008 2007
2006 2005 2004 2003 2002

my special London features
a-z of london museums
E3 - local history month
greenwich meridian (N)
greenwich meridian (S)
the real eastenders
london's lost rivers
olympic park 2007
great british roads
oranges & lemons
random boroughs
bow road station
high street 2012
river westbourne
trafalgar square
capital numbers
east london line
lea valley walk
olympics 2005
regent's canal
square routes
silver jubilee
unlost rivers
cube routes
Herbert Dip
capital ring
river fleet

ten of my favourite posts
the seven ages of blog
my new Z470xi mobile
five equations of blog
the dome of doom
chemical attraction
quality & risk
london 2102
single life
april fool

ten sets of lovely photos
my "most interesting" photos
london 2012 olympic zone
harris and the hebrides
betjeman's metro-land
marking the meridian
tracing the river fleet
london's lost rivers
inside the gherkin
seven sisters

just surfed in?
here's where to find...
diamond geezers
flash mob #1  #2  #3  #4
ben schott's miscellany
london underground
watch with mother
cigarette warnings
digital time delay
wheelie suitcases
war of the worlds
transit of venus
top of the pops
old buckenham
ladybird books
acorn antiques
digital watches
outer hebrides
olympics 2012
school dinners
pet shop boys
west wycombe
bletchley park
george orwell
big breakfast
clapton pond
san francisco
children's tv
east enders
trunk roads
little britain
credit cards
jury service
big brother
jubilee line
number 1s
titan arum
doctor who
blue peter
peter pan
feng shui
leap year
bbc three
vision on
ID cards