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New River Path Part Three: Cheshunt to Enfield

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New River Path Part Three: Cheshunt to Enfield
Author: Thames Water, Published: 13 Mar 2014 Walk rating : Rating:star1 iFootpath - walking guides and directions for the UKstar1 iFootpath - walking guides and directions for the UKstar1 iFootpath - walking guides and directions for the UKstar0 iFootpath - walking guides and directions for the UKstar0 iFootpath - walking guides and directions for the UK
Hertfordshire, Cheshunt
Walk Type: River or lakeside
New River Path Part Three: Cheshunt to Enfield
Length: 6 miles,  Difficulty: boot iFootpath - walking guides and directions for the UK boot iFootpath - walking guides and directions for the UK
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A 5.5 mile waterside linear walk along the third stretch of the New River in Hertfordshire and London. The walk bridges the sections north and south of the M25, taking you through quiet suburbs, beautiful parks and the picturesque section of the river as it winds through Enfield Town. The New River has an unhelpful name, being neither new nor a river! It is a water supply aqueduct, completed in 1613, to bring drinking water from Hertfordshire to North London. Before this time, London’s water supply was limited to the Thames, local streams and wells which were often contaminated. Thames Water has worked with partners to create a 28 mile long-distance path that follows the river’s course.

The route has just a few steady slopes and follows some paved paths, but mainly unmade paths which can be fairly muddy after periods of rain and in winter. You will need to negotiate several kissing gates and some steps along the way. Whilst the route is waymarked, we found that some of the signs had been rotated round to face the wrong way so take care to check the map and directions regularly. The return leg can be completed by train (see the ‘Getting there’ section for details). Approximate time 2 to 2.5 hours (plus extra time to walk to/from the rail stations and for the train journeys).

As this is a linear walk, you will need to arrange for both your journey to the start point, as well as your return journey from the end of the walk. You could use two cars, but we would recommend using trains. The start point of the walk is in Cheshunt, about a one mile walk from Cheshunt Rail Station (which has a large car park) and the end point is in Enfield, just a short walk from Enfield Town and Enfield Chase Rail Stations. To travel from Enfield Town to Cheshunt you can take two short train journeys: Enfield Town to Edmonton Green, then Edmonton Green to Cheshunt.

To reach the start point of the walk from Cheshunt Rail Station, come out of the station car park to reach the road. Turn left along Windmill Lane (away from the level crossing) and follow this all the way to the T-junction at the end. Turn left for a few yards and, immediately before the fountain roundabout, use the double pedestrian crossing to turn right into College Road. After passing the fire station, use to the pedestrian crossing to swap to the left-hand pavement. At the crossroads, use the footbridge to cross the A10 and keep ahead along College Road. At the small roundabout, turn right into Emmanuel Lodge and Whit Hern Court. As the road swings right you’ll see a wooden bridge to the left, marking the starting point of Part Three of the New River Path.

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Walk Sections

Start to Theobald's Lane
Start to Theobald's Lane

Start point: 51.7029 lat, -0.0464 long
End point: 51.6921 lat, -0.051 long

The start point for this section of the walk is at the wooden footbridge across the river, alongside Whit Hern Court in Cheshunt. This is accessed off College Road and is alongside the car park for the Council Offices. Directions to this start point from Cheshunt Rail Station can be found in the ‘Getting there’ section of this guide.

Standing on Whit Hern Court with your back to the car park and facing the bridge, do NOT cross it, instead turn left to follow the grass riverside bank with the car park to the left and the Council Offices visible over the river to the right. The path emerges up a short slope to College Road, turn right for just a few paces and then cross over to continue on the New River Path, with the New River now on the left.

The New River was commissioned in 1609 and Hugh Myddelton, a goldsmith and merchant adventurer, proceeded to build the New River over the next four years. He employed Edward Wright, the mathematician, to survey and direct the course of the river, quite at engineering feat at the time.

A little further along, the views open up each side, across playing fields to the right and farmland to the left. Beyond the playing field, use the metal bridge to cross the river and go right down the steps to continue on the riverside path which now follows the left-hand bank. Follow the path under the B198 road, cross the small bridge across the weir and you’ll emerge via a kissing gate onto Theobald’s Lane.

Theobald's Lane to Whitewebbs Loop
Theobald's Lane to Whitewebbs Loop

Start point: 51.6921 lat, -0.051 long
End point: 51.672 lat, -0.0575 long

Cross over the lane and take the kissing gate opposite to continue on the riverside path. The path swings steadily right to reach a pretty wider section of river with an island at its centre. There is a large square bench here, ideal for a picnic stop should you wish. Beyond the trees on the opposite bank is Theobald’s Park (and this is no coincidence!).

Theobald’s Park housed a royal palace back in the 1500s. Queen Elizabeth I visited eight times between 1572 and 1596 and the palace later became a favourite of James I. By 1611, Hugh Myddelton had realised that he did not have the money to complete the New River project. James I agreed to pay half of the cost on condition he received half the profits and that the New River’s route would pass through his palace grounds at Theobald. The King’s involvement overcame all opposition to the scheme from local landowners. The palace was later replaced by a Georgian Mansion which today is managed by the De Vere group as a hotel and conference centre, set in 55 acres of landscaped gardens.

Ignore the footpath which crosses the river, simply keep ahead on the left-hand bank. This will lead you over a bridge across the M25. The New River is flowing in concrete channels slung below this access bridge. At the far side, rejoin the New River Path, which now follows the right-hand bank. A little further along you’ll emerge via a concrete slope and gate to Bullsmoor Lane. Cross over with care and take the gate opposite to join the path still following the river to the left.

Here you begin to leave behind the road noise of the M25 to enjoy a more peaceful stretch through the residential suburbs of Bullsmoor. A little way in you’ll emerge via a kissing gate with a Children’s Centre opposite. Use the bridge to cross the river and then turn right through the gate to continue along the left-hand river bank. The path narrows and veers left away from the river to pass some river workings and you will reach a crossroads of paths at a pair of kissing gates. This point marks the spot where the New River Path splits, giving two options of routes. We will be following the Whitewebbs Loop, the original route of the New River.

Whitewebbs Loop to Clay Hill
Whitewebbs Loop to Clay Hill

Start point: 51.672 lat, -0.0575 long
End point: 51.6711 lat, -0.0835 long

Turn right, leaving the main signed New River Path, and following the fenced narrow path. You will reach a T-junction with Bulls Cross Road. Turn left along the pavement for a short distance, and then cross over to turn right through the staggered green barrier, signed as the New River Link.

Follow this path across the pretty bridge over Turkey Brook (or Maidens Brook). Beyond the bridge follow the path as it swings right and then turn right at the crossroads. Follow this path with the woodlands and Turkey Brook running immediately to the right.

The New River originally performed a loop here (through Whitewebbs Park) to avoid the need to construct a crossing of Turkey Brook. In 1859 a new aqueduct was built to carry the river in large pipes over the brook, meaning the Whitewebbs Loop became redundant. Beyond the brook is Myddleton House and Gardens, the headquarters of Lee Valley Regional Park Authority. The park which you are crossing is part of the Forty Hall Estate. Forty Hall is a 1620s manor house which is today used as a museum by the London Borough of Enfield.

Follow the path past a large pond to the left and eventually you’ll some to a signed junction of paths. Fork left here, signed to Clay Hill. Follow this winding brook-side path for some distance and you’ll emerge to another signed junction of paths. Keep straight ahead, signed again to Clay Hill. A little further along you’ll come to the T-junction with the road, Clay Hill.

Clay Hill to Enfield Loop
Clay Hill to Enfield Loop

Start point: 51.6711 lat, -0.0835 long
End point: 51.6576 lat, -0.0839 long

Cross over with care, and take the path continuing opposite into Hilly Fields Park (which runs immediately to the right of Browning Road). Keep left at the first two forks, staying on the path closest to the road running on the left. At the third fork, keep right and you’ll emerge out to a T-junction with Phipps Hatch Lane. Cross over and take the footpath opposite, passing St Luke’s Church on the left.

Keep ahead on this wide tarmac footpath, crossing several residential roads along the way. When you reach a crossroads, keep straight ahead down Laurel Bank Road. Follow the road as it swings right and then turn left down Chase Side Crescent. At the T-junction, cross over to take the footpath opposite. At the next junction keep ahead into Nunn’s Road and continue just until you reach the crossroads with Parsonage Lane.

Turn left along Parsonage Lane and continue past Chase Side Avenue on the right. A few paces later, cross over to the right-hand pavement using the zebra crossing. Continue along the road for a few more paces and then turn right down the tarmac footpath, immediately alongside house number 93. The path swings right and you’ll find yourself alongside the New River once again, part of the Enfield Loop.

Enfield Loop to End
Enfield Loop to End

Start point: 51.6576 lat, -0.0839 long
End point: 51.6531 lat, -0.0875 long

In fact, this is no longer part of the working New River. This horseshoe loop of the New River through Enfield Town was bypassed around 1900 following the laying of three cast iron pipes between Southbury Road and Bush Hill. This redundant watercourse was been restored and the water levels are maintained by Thames Water.

On the right you’ll pass a row of old gas street lights. The two bars protruding out from the base of the glass lantern were used to allow the street lighter to rest the ladder against, allowing him to climb up and light the gas lamp each evening. The lights have now being converted to work with electricity so ladders are no longer needed!

Continue with the river on the left and then cross to the left-hand side using the next wrought iron footbridge. Keep right immediately afterwards, following the left-hand river bank. Pass a pub on the left and then cross the next bridge ahead and turn left to continue along the pretty paved section with the river on the left. Beyond the houses, keep straight ahead on the tarmac path through the park, the path closest to the river still on the left. You will emerge out of the park to a T-junction with Church Street in Enfield, marking the end of this third section of the New River Path.

Enfield Chase Station can be reached by turning right, whilst Enfield Town is reached to the left. If you wish to make your way back to Cheshunt (via Enfield Town Station), turn left along Church Street and follow this main road as it swings left along the main parade of shops. Keep straight ahead at the first crossroads and at the next road junction you’ll see Enfield Town Station on the right. From here you can catch the train down to Edmonton Green and then change to catch a second train back to Cheshunt.

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Text and images for this walk are Copyright © 2014 by the author thameswater and may not be reproduced without permission.

The information in this guide has been provided in good faith and is intended only as a guide, not a statement of fact. You are advised to check the accuracy of the information provided and should not use this guide for navigational directions nor should you rely on the accuracy of the weather forecast. You are advised to take appropriate clothing, footwear, equipment and navigational materials with you according to the current and possible weather and nature of the terrain. Always follow the country code and follow any additional warnings or instructions that may be available. Some walks may be very strenuous and you are advised to seek medical advice if you have any doubts as to your capability to complete the walk.

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