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A Tale of Two Rivers – Broxbourne Circular B

Event Details

Restarting Events

We are restarting some events with the easing of lockdown restrictions.

Currenly walks in England can restart from the 29th of March.  Walks in Scotland may take place with a maximum of 15 participants, but all participants (and walks) must stay within their own local authority area.  Walks in Wales are not currently able to restart.

General information

If you like water, boats, locks, wildlife and miniature sculptures then this walk along sections of two very different rivers is for you. The first half of the walk takes us north from Broxbourne Station, mostly on the towpaths and footpaths, along the River Lea to Ware. The second half of the walk follows the course of the New River from Ware back to Broxbourne. The route finishes where it started, at Broxbourne Station (National Rail Services). A frequent train service runs to Central London (Liverpool Street) or Tottenham Hale (for Victoria Line Underground services). Trains from Broxbourne can also take you north towards Hertford or Cambridge.

From Broxbourne station we will join the towpath on the River Lea which, for the early part of the walk, forms the Herts/Essex border. It is immediately apparent that this is a working river, picturesque in parts but sometimes less pleasing on the eye. The first section of the walk will quickly take us to our first lock (of five) before we arrive at Dobbs Weir. From there we will head towards Rye House where we will pass a power station, a Sainsburys Distribution Centre and the Karting Centre where Lewis Hamilton raced as an eight year old! Heading north the scenery improves and it isn’t long before we pass through the mooring area at Stanstead Abbotts. We cross the river to enjoy the Amwell Nature Reserve. As we arrive in Ware we continue along the river to see the surviving gazebos on the opposite bank.

The second half of our walk follows the course of the New River which is neither ‘New’ nor a ‘River’. It is a waterway constructed under the supervision of Sir Hugh Middleton which opened in 1613. It supplies London with fresh drinking water taken from the River Lea in Hertfordshire and various springs and wells along its course. A miniature sculpture of a man with his dog greets us as we join the New River as it heads out of Ware. We make our way, along the bank footpath towards Great Amwell. A set of steep steps takes us into St. John The Baptist Churchyard where one of the first graves to be seen is that of Harold Abrahams, the 1924 Olympic 100 metres sprint champion as depicted in the 1981 film Chariots of Fire and the 2012 West End play of the same name. More miniature sculptures and a silhouette of a first world war soldier can be seen on Amwell Island as we continue along the New River path towards St Margarets (Stanstead Abbotts) and Rye House. As we head along the river path to Broxbourne it is worth remembering that more than 200 labourers were paid the equivalent of 4p per day to dig out the channel, whilst carpenters were paid the equivalent of 6.5p per day to wharf the banks and erect bridges. The total cost of the project was approximately £18,500.

A five minute walk through the park passing St Augustine’s Church in Broxbourne will take us to The Bull in Broxbourne where those that want to can chill out over a pint (or two)! Food should also available for anyone that is hungry.

Over 90% of our route is on green spaces and traffic free towpaths and footpaths (some shared with cyclists). The remainder is on roads with pavements.

Terrain / Difficulty

This is a moderate walk mainly on the flat. There are no stiles or fences but there are two sets of steps. If it has been wet you can expect some muddy/boggy areas!

Approximate Distance

11 miles

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