Lea Valley Walk – Part 5 – Hertford North to Ware

Another London Appreciation Society Walkers walk. Still taking in part of the Lea Valley.

We started at Hertford North Train Station, walked down North Road. At the road called Sele Mill, you can see that this is what used to be a paper mill, where there is a plaque which states “At a mill at this site, John Tate was the first to make paper in England, c.1494”.

Continuing along North Road, we walk into the town of Hertford, then onto St Andrew Street, and see St Andrew’s church most prominently.

Hertford is the second largest town in East Hertfordshire and was the site of the first General Synod of the English Church in 673AD. It has been a strategically important site since Saxon times as it is the meeting place of four rivers; the Mimram, the Rib, the Lea (Lee) and the Beane.
Continue to the traffic lights, on the corner with Old Cross, you can see the Old Library between two roads.

Cross the road, and continue down Old Cross, you then come to the McMullen & Sons Ltd (the Hertford Brewery).

Turn onto Hartham Lane, which will lead you to Sainsburys.

You will also see Hartham Common just over the road. Hartham Lane now leads into Thornton Street. You will go over a little bridge, and will find yourself on a small island. Turn right onto The Folly. The you will come to a pub called The Old Barge. This is on the River Lea. Turn left along to towpath. There are some very quaint little cottages long the river bank.

Continue along the river, and you will come to a weir.

Walk over the weir, then over two bridges, and down the river bank on the other side of the Lea. Continue along the tow path, towards The Meads, and go pass the Hertford Lock.

Along the towpath, which makes a right turn and joins with the River Beane.

Next you will come to the Gauge House, with a path going along the New River. We will continue along the River Lea. The New River starts at Chadwell Springs, at the base of Bushy Dell Nature Reserve. This is a man-made waterway constructed by Sir Hugh Myddleton in 1613 to supply London with fresh drinking water.

In the distance you will see the A10 flyover, we will continue and walk under this. Further along the tow path, you will come to a Pumping Station, Weir and Locks.

You are now entering Ware. The great road Ermine Street ran through Ware where it met the River Lee. The town in Roman times was thriving and remained an important site during the Saxon-Dane conflicts. In later years Ware, due to its situation between London and the barley growing counties of Suffolk and Cambridgeshire, was a prosperous centre for the malting industry. The town’s importance as a coaching stop is evident by the number of old inns in the town centre.
As you walk along the river, you will notice that there are a lot of Gazebos at the end of the gardens of many houses. These ‘summerhouses’, built in the 18th Century in the gardens of former High Street coaching inns, line the banks of the River Lee at Ware.

A little further along the tow path, you now start to see more barges moored up.

You will now come to a bridge that leads into Ware. We exited the river here, and over the bridge.

Across the road was the Waterside Inn, which is where we had lunch.

After lunch, the weather had turned to drizzle, which was unfortunate. However, we walked back to Herford, but via a little detour.
We started by heading back across the bridge, and then down Broadmeads. This led to a path which in turn brought us back to the tow path of the River Lea. Once we got back to the Hertford Lock, we crossed over the bridge, and headed into Hartham Common. This path led us back to Thornton Street, and Sainsburys. Were we then headed back to the Hertford North train station.

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