The 18 mile (29 km) hike along the Lee Valley follows the Lee Navigation towpath from Waltham Abbey to the north of London for much of its way south to its confluence with the Thames at London's Limehouse Basin. A particularly fascinating three mile stretch of the walk lies between Lea Bridge and Three Mills. This section of the walk offers a chance to take in the essence of historic and constantly evolving East London at your own leisurely pace.
An amble through here includes country-like scenery yielding to post industrial landscapes (and vice versa) along with plenty more photogenic urban sights. From some of London’s best graffiti to bobbing canal boats moored alongside the path, from impressive views of the modern London skyline to an amazing range of waterfowl, the Lea Bridge to Three Mills walk is one of London’s most varied wanders. And it's free for all to enjoy! Places of interest along this section are the Middlesex Filter Beds – now a nature reserve rich with butterflies in summer – and the nearby former Matchbox toy factory at Marshgate Bridge.
The Lead Bridge to Three Mills walk is also an excellent way to check out the 2012 Olympic Park as the walk takes you right up next to the Olympic Stadium. And if you know where to stop and venture off the towpath a bit there are awesome galleries, cafes, pubs and more rewards to be found. Time your ramble right and you can take your lunch or coffee break with a front row view of the Olympic Stadium’s backside at delicious little Counter Cafe in Hackney Wick. This large-windowed, post-industrial canal-side cafe has high hangout potential. The cafe is situated within a Victorian warehouse, which is actually an exhibition/performance/studio space. So the odds are pretty good there’ll be some interesting art to see as well when you’re there.
At the north (Lea Bridge) end of the walk, the nearest rail station is Clapton and the nearest Overground station is Homerton. Starting from or ending at the southern end, Bromley-by-Bow Underground Station is nearby.
More info about the Lea Bridge to Three Mills section and all of the Lea Valley Walk may be found at the Walk London website: http://www.walklondon.org.uk/section.asp?R=4§ion=75&x=17&y=16
Photo: Chris Osburn
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