Lea River : Waltham to Rye House

The 2014 season of walks kicks off with a return to the Lea River – this time starting at Waltham and ending just north of the junction with the River Stort, at Rye House.

Waltham town lock

The weather this day was quite overcast – occasional breaks in the cloud brought out the sunshine and warmer colours, but otherwise it was a bit drab.

Looking north from Waltham Town Lock

Although overcast with a slight wind, the weather was not too cold and there were one or two small boats out on the river.

Bridge number 44, just north of Waltham Town Lock

This section of the river passes alongside some large lakes and side streams and has clearly benefited from man-made embankments.

Waltham Common Lock

The walk takes in several pretty lock keeper cottages.

Looking back to Waltham Common Lock

Also on this day, many trees and shrubs were in flower. Sunnier weather would have brought out the colours better.

Converted lifeboat

One strange craft moored at the river edge appeared to be an ex-lifeboat – now painted blue.

A more traditional boat

This was a contrast against the traditional narrow boats moored next door.

Cadmore Lane Bridge

A mixture of bridges cross the river – wooden, concrete and iron.

Waltham Cross substation

Across to the east, in the distance a 1930’s style power substation was partly hidden in the trees.

Fishers Green footbridge

In fact, power lines dominated most of the walk – a mixture of the classic tall metal frame pylons with their HV cables buzzing and lower, wooden poles.

Remnant of brick bridge north of Fishers Green footbridge

It seems that the original Fishers Green bridge was removed some time ago and replaced by a modern wooden bridge.

Reeds in the river Lea


Aqueduct Lock


Lock keeper’s house at Aqueduct Lock

The river was looking pretty clear today – too early in the season for the weed growth to cover the surface.

Slipe Lane bridge

The occasional bridge breaks the monotony of the straight run of the river.

Looking south from Slipe Lane bridge

A couple of weirs in the river are signposted on the approach.

Kings weir


At Kings weir, looking south towards Slipe Lane bridge

At Broxbourne the river comes close to a couple of railways – and as usual the railways follow close by the riverside, taking the same route through the countryside.

Bridge number 50, near Crown bridge


Canalside at Broxbourne

Resisting the attractions of the Crown pub, the walk takes a bend to the right.

Crown bridge

Carthagena lock warns boaters to look out for hire boats between here and the previous lock. Not many out today though.

Carthagena Lock


Dobbs Weir lock


Dobbs Weir Lane bridge

Second weir comes into view.

Dobbs Weir

Near Dobbs weir, the walk crosses the river using a series of bridges and the continuation is on the opposite bank.

The FIsh and Eels pub near Dobbs Weir


Feilde’s Weir lock

Just after Feilde’s Weir lock (as shown by the sign) the river is joined by the River Stort – I suspect I will be returning to this spot and crossing the lock here to start the walk along the Stort.

Junction with the River Stort


Just past Rye House karting circuit

A little further along the sound of karts fills the air – this is Rye House karting circuit – a place I have raced twice so far (3rd place trophy on the second visit!) The circuit is surrounded by waterways and has a reputation for being wet and occasionally flooded.

On the bend before Rye House road bridge

A few gentle bends follow after the kart track as we approach the final stage of the walk today near Rye House bridge.

Approaching Rye House road bridge

A quick walk up the side of the bridge reveals a glimpse of the start of the next walk along the Lea.

Today’s end – just north of Rye House road bridge

Total distance: 13.82 km (8.6 mi)
Total time: 2:41:24
Moving time: 1:24:35
Average moving speed: 9.80 km/h (6.1 mi/h)
Max elevation: 97 m (317 ft)
Min elevation: 57 m (188 ft)

View Waltham Cross To Rye House in a larger map

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