Dave Sergeant

The Lea Valley Walk follows the Lea Canal and River over its London sections. It forms part of the longer LDWA trail which follows the Lea from its source in Bedfordshire down to the Thames.

Sections 1 and 2 - Enfield Lock to Tottenham Hale - March 13th 2020

Yesterday's trip up to town was to do the first part of the Lee Valley walk, the last of the TFL ones I have to do. The official start of section 1 is at Waltham Cross, but since that station is out of zone 6 and I would need to sort out extra fares or a long detour via bus I decided to start the next station down, Enfield Lock, which I became very familiar with doing the London Loop. This would also easily allow me to combine the first two sections down to Tottenham Hale. Good journey up on the train then headed to Liverpool St where I had plenty of time for the 1042 train.

The Turkey Brook seems to have been cleaned since I was there in August or maybe it was just that there had been a lot of rain so it looked far healthier. Even a bit of wild life there as well. I was immediately a bit concerned by the great big diversion/bridge closed signs that greeted me at the start, but that was just a pedestrian footbridge back into Enfield so was not a concern.

The first part of the Lee Navigation (canal, so Lee, not Lea which is for the natural parts) is hardly that scenic with lots of industry on one side and the not really visible King George V reservoir on the other and electricity pylons from the nearby Enfield power station dominating the scene all the way. Very few walkers but plenty of cyclists.

We than come to Ponders End with its lock and some rather strange staturettes on the bank nearby together with some much older cast iron ones with engraving I couldn't read.

After that lock the canal becomes a bit more ruralified with the Lea Valley golf course on one side and the William Girling reservoir on the other. The Lea Valley Athletic Centre, built for the Olympics, was supposed to be visible but I couldn't decide which was that bulding. Pickets Lock was familiar in that some years ago the Radio Society of Great Britain held an amateur radio show there, but the original hall has now been demolished for the Olympic buildings and I see they have now even renamed the lock to be Alfie's Lock. Didn't tell me who Alfie was.

Then it gets industrial again. Approaching the North Circular was what I had found before leaving as a possible closed towpath and they had put a floating pontoon diversion to avoid all the work going on adjacent to the canal. A huge area was being demolished to make way for a new 'green' power station but apart from big 'obstruction ahead' notices the towpath was open as normal and the pontoon blocked off. However I was going to experience the same sort of pontoon further on at Tottenham Lock where I did indeed have to walk on the pontoon along with several other people. Not pleasant, they could make you seasick as I commented to a woman as I wobbled along.

The other side of the North Circular another big demolition was going on. Immediately after I took that photo a chap on a boat berthed there asked me if I was from the council... It seems all the debris from the demolition works is falling right on top of his boat and he isn't happy! Interesting few minutes chat with him then he wished me a pleasant walk.

Then continuing down the canal to first Stonebridge Lock - where the path moves to the other bank - and finally Tottenham Lock - with Tottenham Marshes along the way. A fairly pleasant walk but somewhat dull in places. Reaching Ferry Lane I made my way to the Ferry Boat Inn which I had earmarked as a suitable eating place earlier where I enjoyed a very pleasant lunch. Then to Tottenham Hale station, with another footpath diversion due to major building works, and back to Central London - not via Liverpool St as I had originally intended but straight to Waterloo on the Victoria Line which happened to stop at Tottenham Hale.

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