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.
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.
Although overcast with a slight wind, the weather was not too cold and there were one or two small boats out on the river.
This section of the river passes alongside some large lakes and side streams and has clearly benefited from man-made embankments.
The walk takes in several pretty lock keeper cottages.
Also on this day, many trees and shrubs were in flower. Sunnier weather would have brought out the colours better.
One strange craft moored at the river edge appeared to be an ex-lifeboat – now painted blue.
This was a contrast against the traditional narrow boats moored next door.
A mixture of bridges cross the river – wooden, concrete and iron.
Across to the east, in the distance a 1930’s style power substation was partly hidden in the trees.
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.
It seems that the original Fishers Green bridge was removed some time ago and replaced by a modern wooden bridge.
The river was looking pretty clear today – too early in the season for the weed growth to cover the surface.
The occasional bridge breaks the monotony of the straight run of the river.
A couple of weirs in the river are signposted on the approach.
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.
Resisting the attractions of the Crown pub, the walk takes a bend to the right.
Carthagena lock warns boaters to look out for hire boats between here and the previous lock. Not many out today though.
Second weir comes into view.
Near Dobbs weir, the walk crosses the river using a series of bridges and the continuation is on the opposite bank.
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.
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.
A few gentle bends follow after the kart track as we approach the final stage of the walk today near Rye House bridge.
A quick walk up the side of the bridge reveals a glimpse of the start of the next walk along the Lea.
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)
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