Monday, 1 February 2016

Stratford to Stamford Hill via River Lea and Navigation 1st February 2016

On the 1st Of February 2016, I set off on a spur of the moment walk. I headed to Stratford in East London and once there I'd decide where I'd be walking.I arrived and walked through the Westgate Shopping Centre and out to the Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park. 

I walked past the London Aquatics Centre that's now open for swimming to the public and onto The Olympic Stadium, soon to be West Ham Utd's new ground. The Hammers are moving into the ground for the 2016/2017 season.

Next to the stadium is the ArcelorMittal Orbit, observation tower costing 19.1 million.16million came from Britain richest man the steel tycoon Lakshmi Mittal.Some 377ft (115m)high.

I walked down to the River Lea and after a short while decided to walk towards Hackney as I had done the other way on a bike trip back in 2012 to The Thames.

I walk up from the river to the road and cross over passing the Copper Box Arena on my left.
Host of the handball, modern pentathlon fencing and goalball during the 2012 Games, the Copper Box Arena is one of London’s most flexible indoor venues. You can get in shape in the gym, work out in group exercise classes, take part in activities in the state-of-the-art sports hall, or just enjoy a coffee and a bite to eat in the café.
With retractable seating for up to 7,500 spectators, the Arena can host a wide range of different sports and activities including basketball, wheelchair basketball, handball, volleyball, netball, fencing, badminton, gymnastics and much more.

Now as I walk along The Lea again over on my right is the Lea Valley Velopark.
Track cycling, road racing, BMX or mountain biking: however you get your two-wheeled thrills, you will find it at the unrivalled Lee Valley VeloPark.
Centred on the iconic, award-winning, 6,000-seat velodrome, where Sir Chris Hoy and his Team GB and Paralympics GB compatriots set the London 2012 Games alight, Lee Valley VeloPark is the first place in the world where you can take part in these four types of cycling in one place.
Catering for all skill levels form beginners through to elite, anyone can cycle at Lee Valley VeloPark. You don't even need a bike - you can hire everything you need - so there's nothing stopping you from experiencing the fun of two wheels.

I follow The River Lea through some bleak scenery, maybe it'll look better on a summers day than a dull winter one.

As I head towards Hackney, Dan my friend said to look out for dead bodies. Where no bodies, but I did find a mutilated Gnome!

I now reach the Hackney Marshes, where a few games of football were being played. I guess its very busy at the Weekends.
Hackney Marshes is an area of grassland on the western bank of the River Lea in the London Borough of Hackney. It was incorporated into the Lee Valley Park in 1967. It was originally a true marsh, but was extensively drained from Medieval times, and rubble was dumped here from buildings damaged by air raids during World War II.

The White House and Fishery once stood nearby and may have dated from the times of King Charles I (1600-1649), Records suggest that the hostelry set in marshland was a hiding place for Dick Turpin. Old maps show that the White House stood near the Ferry crossing to refresh the travellers from the villages of  Hackney and Homerton.

Dick Turpin was born in 1706 in rural Essex and grew up serving an apprenticeship as a butcher in the village of Whitechapel. He began stealing sheep,lambs and cattle. He then joined the Essex gang who raided isolated farmhouses. Turpin and the gang proceeded to rob their way across the Home Counties, frequently employing torture as a method of persuasion.

I follow the river around the park.

I then cross The Lea and head onwards towards Walthamstow.

I now reach Walthamstow marshes. Walthamstow Marshes, is a 36.7 hectare biological Site of Special Scientific Interest in Walthamstow. It was once an area of  common land used for growing crops and grazing cattle.

In 1909, the aero-designer Alliott Verdon Roe rented out two railway arches on the marsh for workshops. In June he made a series of short jumps and then a 100ft hop in his tri-plane before on 23rd July making several 900ft flights. He thus became the first person to fly over British soil. He later formed his own company  and made famous planes such as the Avro Lancaster Bomber.

 Moments later I heard the loud whirr of two Chinooks helicopters flying over!

I continue walking and can now see Stamford Hill in the distance.

I leave the River Lea and walk across a field to join The Lea Navigation.

Just before I reached the wooden boardwalk. The field became very boggy which meant I skirted about the field trying to navigate a  path to keep my feet dry.

I am now walking alongside the Navigation and onwards towards Stamford Hill.

I soon find I'm on the wrong side of the canal as I see a lovely looking Fullers pub across the water called The Anchor and Hope in Clapton.

 Facing onto the River Lea the Anchor and Hope probably dates from the mid-19th century when the area was frequented by watermen, bargemen, dyers and chandlers. Since then this small public house (with only one bar) has created a larger-than-life reputation. In the early 1820s High Hill ferry could only be reached by Mount Pleasant Lane.  During the 1980s and 90s the pub was frequented by Ken Campbell (actor, comedian, writer and director). The pub features in his play ‘Recollections of a Furtive Nudist’ (1991) - a perambulating tale up and down the River Lea.  In the early 1970s Fuller’s brewery took over the pub. They continue to own it today and describe it as one of Fuller’s smallest pubs.

Police looking for bodies I assume :)
I now pass Leaside, Leaside delivers inspiring and engaging outdoor activities to young people.
Based in an area of London which is in the top 10% deprivation bracket in the UK and 29% of young people are not in employment, education or training (NEET), Leaside offers hope to young people, encouraging them to stay in education, develop their confidence, leadership skills and ambition.
They provide a variety of activities within an educational framework, including canoeing, mountain biking, orienteering and expeditions.

Across the water now is Clapton Sea Cadets. As a Sea Cadet you can go to sea, learn to sail and do adventure training, plus get extra skills to give you a great head start in life.

I follow the canal as far as the Lea Valley Marina, Springfield.
Springfield has been owned, operated and developed as a revene marina/boatyard by the Lee Valley Regional Park Authority since the late 1960s, when it was purchased by the Authority from the Radley family.
In the Authority's records it is noted that the Radley family had owned the site since the early 1890s, however, it's unlikely to have been operated as a boatyard initially. The transition to a yard with moorings is locally reported as being around the 1930’s.
Sited on the lower reaches of the River Lee adjacent to Walthamstow Marshes, a Site of Special Scientific Interest (SSSI) and a Nature Reserve, the Marina has some 200 berths and is close to the City of London and the West End.  It is ideally placed for cruising the canal systems and the River Thames and River Lee and Stort.

I now reach the Springfield Riverside Cafe and next door is the Lea Rowing Club. I didn't stop at the Cafe as I'm on a diet and I crack on with the walk.

I reach Watermint Quay, where I decide I'd leave the canal and head up into Stamford Hill to hunt out the church spire I'd seen in the distance a way back.

House in Watermint Quay Very nice looking !

I head on to find the church and then the station to head home.

I now walk along Craven Walk. The first thing I notice about the area, is it has a large Jewish community. There were loads of men in traditional Orthodox clothing with sidelocks in their hair.
I reach the church I had seen in the distance. Georgian Orthodox Cathedral Church of the Nativity of Our Lord.A church with a fascinating history. It was built, as the Ark of The Covenant for a now defunct sect called the Agapemones, in 1892-95 by Joseph Morris and Sons of Reading. It was used by the Ancient Catholic Church as the Church of the Good Shepherd , before becoming the Georgian Orthodox Cathedral in 2011.

The outsize sculptures on the tower are by A.G. Walters.

Across the road was a security guard protecting the church, further along the road I see many more private security guards protecting Jewish schools and other buildings. I assume this community live in fear of anti-Semitic attacks. A shame any community should have to live like this!

Arriva Stamford Hill Bus Garage

Old advertising signage on the corner of Ravensdale Road.
Decades ago, people in northeast London might have found the right garment at Yager's clothes shop on Stamford Hill. Unfortunately two modern billboards hide part of this sign. It would be interesting to see what else could be purchased at Yager's..

I turn right onto the A10 and pass St Ignatius Catholic Church. St Ignatius Church in Stamford Hill where it gradually becomes South Tottenham is a large listed Roman catholic parish church in the Archdiocese of Westminster ministered by the Society of Jesus (Jesuits) who founded it in 1894. It is on the corner of Tottenham High Road and St. Ann's Road in Haringey.

I now walk onto South Tottenham Overground to make my way home. A walk of 5.5 miles.


  1. Anchor & Hope may look's not.... 😂

  2. I'll take your word on that Dan lol... so I was on the right side of the canal after all ;)