The Lea Valley - Walk 1
Leagrave to Hertford
The Lea Valley Walk is a long-distance path starting in Leagrave, the source of the River Lea near Luton, and finishing at the River Thames (Limehouse Basin near Canary Wharf). The walk was opened in 1993 and uses a swan logo as its signage.
Like most long distance walks, the length varies depending on where you look - so I used my workings and chose to end the walk at Limehouse Basin rather than the alternative ‘Meridian' ending of East India Dock. The walk was slightly longer than expected in the end, as due to poor signage there were a couple of unexpected detours.
The Lea starts life as a small trickle in the corner of Leagrave Marsh (next to Rotten Corner - a rather peculiarly named wetland). Once out of Leagrave the river becomes larger and the route more rural until reaching Luton, quickly navigated out of as there’s not much to see. It then descends into the Lea Valley and follows a disused railway line (the former Luton, Dunstable and Welwyn Junction line) before heading back uphill to Wheathampstead. It was around this point that the signage was particularly poor and an unfortunate lengthy detour was made!
After managing to navigate back, the route then headed down the Cole Green Way, another disused railway line (the former Hertford, Luton and Dunstable line), to Hertford.
Distance: around 27 miles.