JUN 11,2013 - JUN 11,2013 (1 DAYS)
Stoke Newington to Hackney Wick to Startford and Bow - One Day Walk. Capital Ring Section 13 with additional section.
Source: Capital Ring web site - section 13 (with minor modifications).
I've added the Stratford / Bow / Limehouse Cut section.
Start: Stoke Newington Natinal Rail station.
End: Hackney Wick National Rail station or Bromley-by-Bow Tube Station or Limehouse DLR station.
Distance: 8 km. / 14 km.
Orientation: This easy section is dominated by the Lee Navigation waterway. The walk traces the expansion of Stoke Newington over the last 150 years before going into a nature reserve at Springfield Park. The rest of the route follows the River Lea as it winds its way towards the Thames. There’s plenty of history and wildlife to keep you interested on your walk. The terrain is almost entirely level with some short slopes. The walk is mainly on the towpath and is narrow and rough in some places. There are steps in Springfield Park (with an alternative, fairly steep, ramp route) and some of the canal footbridges have steep slopes.
There are pubs and cafés at Stoke Newington, Springfield Park, Lea Bridge Road and Hackney Wick, with public toilets at Springfield Park and Hackney Wick.
Start at the junction of Stamford Hill and Cazenove roads. Continue along Cazenove Road and follow the signs along Kyverdale Road and Filey Avenue until you get to Upper Clapton Road. Turn left and cross at the zebra crossing, then turn right and immediately left into Springfield. Keep ahead through the gate into Springfield Park:
There are great views of Walthamstow Marshes as you enter Springfield Park. To your left there is a café, toilets and an information point in the 19th century Springfield Mansion. Springfield Park, opened to the public in 1905, has been designated as London’s first Regionally Important Geological Site – RIGS – and is on the English Register of Parks and Gardens of Historic Interest. The Park landforms tell a fascinating story about the geological history of the Lea Valley. The name comes from the series of springs that arise in the area from the combination of sand, gravel and London clay. With the pond on the right, head down the Park and go down a short flight of steps to a wooded area. There is a bandstand over to the far left. Pass the tennis courts on the left and go towards the river, leaving the Park at a metal gate.
Turn left and then right over a pedestrian bridge over the River Lea. For centuries the River Lea formed the boundary between Essex and Middlesex. Now it forms the boundary between the boroughs of Hackney and Waltham Forest. Over that time the spelling of the river has caused problems as originally it was Ley, a field covered with grass. Acts of Parliament called it Lee although it appeared as Lea on many maps. There were disputes about the spelling for a long time and to settle them it was decided that the natural aspects of the river, such as river itself, would be LEA and manmade features such as the canal would be LEE. On the left as you cross the bridge is Springfield Marina, created in 1970 by excavating silt from a meander (a bend) in the old river course. It offers moorings and services for travelling narrowboats:
For the next 3 miles (4.8km) the route joins the Lea Valley Walk which follows the river for 50 miles (80km) from Luton to Island Gardens on the Isle of Dogs.
The path passes Walthamstow Marsh on the left with the river on the right. The marsh was a summer meadow, Lammas Land. The word Lammas comes from the mass of our Lady the Virgin Mary and in medieval farming practice from spring – from Lady Day (25th March) until late summer, the marsh vegetation was allowed to grow and was then cut for hay. After that until the next spring, local custom allowed cows and horses to be turned out to graze on the marsh. This system would have given a good quality winter fodder for livestock from the meadow flowers growing there.
Follow a sandy track under the railway arches with Walthamstow Marsh
Nature Reserve on your left. A plaque on the railway arches commemorates A V Roe’s first all-British powered flight in 1909. His ‘Yellow Terror’ tri-plane was built under these arches and flew an historic 900 feet across the Marsh. His inspiration for doing this had been the flight of the Wright brothers from Paris to London in 1903.
Continue on to the black ‘King’s Head’ footbridge on the right:
Cross the bridge and turn left at the end. Beyond the bridge, the weir to your left separates the flow of the old River Lea from the canalised section of the Lee Navigation.
From the park on the right there is a link to Clapton Station. To stay on the route, keep beside the river to pass under Lea Bridge Road.
Follow the towpath signage to Middlesex Filter Beds by crossing over the cobbled bridge by the weir keeper’s cottage. The Middlesex Filter Beds were built by East London Waterworks Company in 1852. They were built to remove impurities from the river Lea and thus provide an improved quality of water to East London. Along with the sister Filter Beds on the Essex side of the River Lea the site produced an average daily supply of 42.5 million gallons of water. The filter beds went out of use in 1969 and since 1988 have been managed as a wildlife reserve where there are more than 200 species of plants including cuckoo flower and purple loosestrife and birds such as reed warblers and greater spotted and green woodpeckers. Two artworks can also be found here: one, Nature’s Throne, is nicknamed ‘Ackney Enge’, Hackney’s own version of Stone Henge, made up of the granite blocks that formed the foundations of the engine house which housed the beam engine. The other, Rise and Shine Magic Fish, is the heads and tails of three giant ceramic fish that pop up out of a shallow pond.
Continue along the towpath to follow a section of the river known as the
Hackney Cut; a cut is a separate navigable section of a river.
Continue along the towpath between the River Lee Navigation and Hackney Marshes to a bridge that gives a good view of the Marshes to the left and Clapton Park to the right:
The Guinness Book of Records lists Hackney Marshes as having the largest collection of football pitches in the world – amazingly more than 80 - and the area is known as the home of English ‘Sunday Soccer’.
Continue along the towpath under Marshgate Bridge and alongside a
wooded area. On the left is a long avenue of mature London Plane trees;
beyond is Wick Woodland, planted in 1996 as a community project; you can enter from the towpath and enjoy a circular walk between a mix of native trees. Continue under the A102M motorway and the railway line to finally reach Carpenters Road Bridge. In case you are up to your strength limit - follow the signs to Hackney Wick Station. Otherwise, follow the Lee Navigation river - heading south to Stratford.
After crossing the railway line, continuing along the Lee river you leave Hackney and enter Stratford. On your way you cross the White Post lane with beautiful view of the houses on the Lee banks:
The White House on the Lee river on your way to Stratford:
Opposite the Carlton Cafe on the Lee:
You pass the Old Ford Lock. Old Ford Lock marks the start of the Hackney Cut – an artificial channel built in the 18th century to cut off a large loop in the natural channel. The natural river rejoins the Navigation at this point – below the lock, having travelled 2 miles (3.2 km) from the Middlesex Filter Beds Weir, just below Lea Bridge; and passing to the east of the Navigation:
Old Ford Lock - back of Stratford Olympic Stadium:
Now, to your left you can see clearly part of the Stadium and Aquatic Sports Centre in the Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park:
Here you can dine in a charming cafe/restaurant - the "View Tube" (light green building - inside the Greenway - inside the Olympic Village.
From the Greenway or from the View Tube Cafe head south along the Pudding Mill Lane. Cross the DLR line. Confusing walk from The main road past the road works and building of new station at Pudding Mill Lane. Behind the Container Cafe it changes its name to Marshgate Ln. Cross the Bow Back river and turn right to the A118/High St. Arriving to the Lee river, again, go down and turn LEFT, continuing along the river - heading to the 3 Mills Studio / 3 Mills Island (southward).
It is 15 minutes walk along 1 km path along the river - until you arrive to the 3 Mills Island, 3 Mills Studios and the the Clock Mill:
The Three Mills Island or Three Mills Green is a wonderful site. The architecture and location are unique – with cobblestone streets, oast house architecture, a clock tower and old brick buildings, one feels transported back in time to a place far away from East London. Part of the future-planned Lee River Park. Opening times: Three Mills Green is open 24 hours a day every day. House Mill - Open for tours, Sundays May to October 13:00 – 16:00. The House Mill is the world’s biggest tidal mill. You can join a guided tour only on Sundays, or at other times by appointment. There are also the Clock Mill, which is now part of 3 Mills Film Studio (home to London’s largest film studio) and the reconstructed Miller’s House:
From the Three Mills Green/Island it is 5 minutes walk to Bromley-on-Bow tube station: return west to the Three Mills Lane, walk (west) until its end and turn left. 2-3 minutes walk and you face the tube station.
If you are still in shape, do not take the Three Mills Ln: from the Three Mills Island, turn left (south) and walk along the Lee river until you arrive to the Limehouse Cut. The Lee river splits into: the right leg - the Limehouse Cut and the left leg - the Bow Creek. Take the Limehouse Cut path (South-West). It is a 30-40 minutes of pleasant walk until you arrive to the Limehouse Basin (5 minutes from the Limehouse Station):
Part of Limehouse Basin:
View Tube Cafe / Resaurant - Olympic Village, The Greenway, Stratford:
Lovely coffee shop serving delicious light meals and drinks - including very good coffee. Glassed- in terrace overlooking the Olympic stadium and aquatic sports centre. Go upstairs in the cafe as where there is an covered viewing gallery with stunning views of the stadium. Very friendly and initiative staff. 5-10 minutes walk to the Pudding Lane DLR station nearby (through the maze of construction works around...). Small exhibits in the cafe premises (interesting and inspiring !).