Homegirl London’s Half Day Walk: Hertford East to Rye House Walk. If you fancy getting out of London for an afternoon stroll, this is just the ticket. Jump on the train to Hertford East and walk beside the River Lee Navigation and River Lea. You will pass by three locks, King’s Meads Nature Reserve, Amwell Nature Reserve, Ware Weir and see the pretty gazebos lining the banks. You’ll experience the picturesque scenery of rural Hertfordshire, see romantic canal boats and catch a glimpse of ducks, birds and dragonflies as you saunter along the river banks. Read on to find out more about the Hertford East to Rye House Walk.
Hertford East to Rye House Walk Start
We caught the train from Tottenham Hale to Hertford East which takes an average of thirty-eight minutes. Prices will vary but will be in the region of £9 off peak. Alternatively, you can also use your Oyster card or contactless payment. You can also get this train from Liverpool Street. When you get out of the station at Hertford East (which is in Hertfordshire), head down Mill Road until you see the River Lea. Get onto the Riverside Walk path heading in the direction of Ware. You will walk past the 1st Hertford Scout Group hut on your left across the river bank which signals you are on the right track!
Hertford East to Rye House Walk Highlights
As you walk along beside the bank of the River Lea you’ll notice how pretty it is, lined with weeping willows and colourful canal boats. The first lock you pass is the River Lee Navigation Hertford Lock 1 which has a lovely house situated beside the lock. You are likely to see ducks waddling about in the vicinity.
River Lee Navigation Hertford Lock 1
On your right will be the King’s Meads Nature Reserve which is part of the Herts and Middlesex Wildlife Trust. This is 96 hectares of water meadows with 265 species of wildflower and 119 bird species recorded.
King’s Meads Nature Reserve
Continue until you reach Ware, a small Hertfordshire town. It was an old brewing town and the River Lea was used to transport beer via the river. According to Wikipedia, bargemen born in Ware were given the ‘freedom of the River Thames’ which meant that they didn’t have to pay any lock dues. You will see the Ware Weir which is quite spectacular.
Keep an eye out for the unique gazebos which were originally called Dutch Summer Houses, after William of Orange, but renamed Gazebos in the 1980s when they were restored. These are small wooden structures which line the river banks. They are covered with wooden slats which are painted white and have pointed tiled roofs. This is the largest collection of Gazebos in Britain.
Ware Historic Gazebos
You will pass by another lock which is Hardmead Lock 3 River Lee Navigation. A little later you will come to a bridge, the Amwell Walkway, which if you cross over you can see the Amwell Nature Reserve. This is breathtaking and well worth a peek. It has been designated a Site of Special Scientific Interest, a Special Protection Area and a Ramsar Wetland of International Importance. It is situated south of Ware and managed by Herts and Middlesex Wildlife Trust. The reserve includes lakes, rivers, grasslands, woodlands and is home to many birds, wildfowl and dragonflies. Cross back again to your original path so you can continue the route.
Amwell Nature Reserve
Soon you will pass by the River Lee Navigation Stanstead Lock 4. Next is Stanstead Abbotts which is a village and a place for boat moorings. Here you will find a few shops, pubs and eateries. We stopped off and sat down in a pub for a break and a drink. We noticed a sign saying that the Stanstead Abbotts is twinned with Fass Njagga Choi in The Gambia which I had a giggle about because it just sounded so odd. After the pub, we returned to the path which took us past the Stanstead Marina, this is where boats moor and can have repairs undertaken.
Hertford East to Rye House Walk End
Eventually you come to a natural end to this walk when you reach Rye House Railway Station which is in Hoddesdon, Hertfordshire. You can use your Oyster card at for your return journey. The trains go to Tottenham Hale and Liverpool Street plus other stops. Close by is Rye Meads Nature Reserve, Rye House Kart Raceway and Rye-assic Adventure Park. We were far too tired to investigate any of these and just wanted to head home and treat ourselves to a bowl of pasta. I racked up about nine and a half miles of walking that day but this included going to and from the station and seeking out that bowl of pasta. It was a fantastic walk because you kept mostly on the one path along the river and although the sun was hot that day it was shady so I didn’t get too sweaty. I hope you enjoy the walk!
Author: Homegirl London. Photographs: Homegirl London. Thanks: Rich for planning the route and navigating.
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- Hertford East to Rye House Half Day Walk
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