Dave Sergeant

The Green London Way is a walking route of 110 miles length around London split into 18 sections. It follows much of the route of the 78 mile long Capital Ring but has some new sections. The Green London Way is largely the work of one man, Bob Gilbert, who is a supporter for the protection of urban open spaces and public access. His book, The Green London Way, outlines each section with detailed description of the historic and wildlife aspects of each section and is being used as I walk the route.

Green London Way Walk 17 - Lea River and Victoria Park - July 1st 2021

This walk continues from where walk 16 ended at Clapton station then follows the old Lea River down to Hackney. There it goes through Victoria Park and finishes at Cambridge Heath Overground station in Bethnal Green.

Being too late to use the Waterloo and City line it was a slightly longer journey to get to Liverpool Street but just managed to catch the 1033 to Clapton. Out of the station and the short walk back to the Lee canal.

For a mere 400 metres I followed the route of the Capital Ring along the canal before turning off at the first bridge over the it.

The route now goes through Middlesex Filter Beds, originally part of the large filter bed complex built in the nineteenth century to improve London's water supply. These were closed in 1969 and after laying abandoned for some years became a nature reserve in 1988. The skyscrapers near the Olympic Park tower in the distance, must investigate the strange one which seems to be missing its middle.

Coming out of the filter beds the walk now goes for the next mile along the very rural Old River Lea which I found very pleasant. The main path is tarmacked but the river is largely hidden from there by undergrowth. A second unmade path runs quite close to the river but that was very overgrown and quite dangerous so not recommended. A notice half way along mentioned kingfishers and advice not to disturb their nests. In the short time I was there I did not see any of these birds.

Turning off from the river the route first goes through the car park of Hackney Marshes Centre, currently taken over by a Covid test centre. Then a short walk through Wick Community Woodland to reach the Lee canal again and very briefly the Capital Ring which is crossed.

Then Mabley Green is reached, a pleasant open space with a sports centre in the middle. This has been considerably improved after the guide book was written and the instructions didn't quite agree. Star feature is the Mabley Green Boulder, one of two large lumps of Cornish granite created by artist John Frankland. They are occasionally used for training by budding mountaineers. Quite impressive if a little hidden now among the newly planted trees.

Coming out of Mabley Green there now follows a bit of treck over the busy A12. First the strangely named Red Path crosses the busy intersection then the fairly busy Eastway takes us under the road and railway to a pedestrian crossing leading to the Molesworth gate entrance to Victoria Park.

Victoria Park was opened in 1840 and dedicated to her majesty, it is one of London's largest parks and a pleasant area to wander around. The route taken by the Green London Way is designed to pass the various highlights. I had previously passed through it while walking the Jubilee Greenway.

The most impressive feature is the Victoria Fountain, designed and built in 1862 by Baroness Angela Georgina Burdett-Coutts, at the time the richest woman in England. The lake and fountain on the western side of the park show an equivalent extravagence.

Coming out of Victoria Park was a short stretch of the Regent's canal before turning off to Cambridge Heath overground station and the short journey back to Liverpool Street. Then a pleasant lunch at the Wellington next to Waterloo Station that I have used before followed by the trip home. Yet another nice day.