Gunpowder Park to Lee Valley White Water Centre and Back | Walking Trail

Walking Trail from Gunpowder Park to Lee Valley White Water Centre and back

Lee Valley Regional Park is spread over 10,000 acres and is 26 miles long, stretching from Ware in Hertfordshire, through Essex to the Thames at East India Dock Basin. The park includes a number of wonderful green spaces, heritage sites, ecologically important wildlife havens and many walking & cycling routes.

On the Lee Valley website, I came across a cycling route called 'Explosive Pedal Power' which is a 5 miles long route starting and ending at Gunpowder Park. I had a look at the route; the path was tarmac and gravel paths all along and it looked like a good weekend walking route for us to explore. And so, the past weekend we set out to explore this section of Lee Valley on foot.

The trails begins in Gunpowder Park. The park was a Royal Ordnance site in the past and was used for munitions testing. It was decommisioned in 1991 and was subsequently regenerated by Lee Valley Regional Park into the beautiful green space that we see today.

Gunpowder Park

Once you enter the park, turn right, go past the AbFabFit Club and follow the path as it turns left. Continue on the path until you reach the point where there is an exit from the park to Deer Park Way. Cross the footbridge and the second roundabout turn left onto Meridian Way.

Footbridge to Meridian way

Continue on Meridian Way until you reach Station Road in Waltham Abbey. Turn left, go past the entrance to Royal Gunpowder Mills and turn left into River Lee Country Park.

River Lee Country Park

As you continue walking you will come across a Viking Ship sculpture, which refers to "the legend of King Alfred the Great who left a Viking raiding party stranded when he diverted the course of the River Lee". It is one of the many sculptures located in the park and is a part of the Sculpture Trail in River Lee Country Park.

Viking Ship sculpture in River Lee Country Park

Keep to the path on the right and continue walking. The park is beautiful. It has got rivers, pools, grasslands and a variety of wildlife.

Wildlife at River Lee Country Park

Wildlife at River Lee Country Park

Ignore the first left and continue ahead. Turn left at the next path. It is identifiable by a Cycle Path waymarker on a wooden post.

Cut past the ground dotted with tall electric masts.

Electric Masts at River Lee Country Park

Cross the Lee Valley Canal Bridge.

Lee Valley Canal Bridge

And you arrive at Lee Valley White Water Centre. 

Lee Valley White Water Centre

Constructed to host some events of the London 2012 Olympic Games, the centre now offers everything from canoeing and kayaking to white water rafting, paddling and hydrospeeding.

People paddle boarding on River Lee

From this point, you start making our way back. Head onto the River Lee Navigation towpath and continue walking towards Waltham Abbey.

This path is great for gongoozling. There are a number of colourful boats moored along the path and you will cross three locks on your way back to Gunpowder Park.

Boats on River Lee

The first lock on the route back is the Waltham Town Lock. Continue along the towpath.

Boats on River Lee

The second lock on the route is the Rammey Marsh Lock.

Rammey Marsh Lock

Boats on River Lee

Colourful boats on River LeeOnce past the lock, follow the canal-side path which fringes the edge of Rammey Marsh. It is a Site of Metropoitan Importance for Nature Conservation and home to birds such as skylark, linnet, meadow pipit, bats etc.

Rammey Marsh

A little ahead, you will pass under the Causeway (Smeaton Road) bridge which leads to Enfield Island Village.

Causeway Bridge

Continue along the canal-side path until you reach Enfield Lock.

Enfield Lock

Cross the River Lee Navigation and continue on the towpath. Walk along the path (this path is also a part of the Section 18 of London Loop) and you will reach Swan and Pike Pool. 

Swan nesting at the Swan and Pike Pool

Continue ahead, go across the car park and you will reach a footpath. There is a signboard here with directions for the London LOOP and Sewardstone Marsh. Follow this path. Cross the first bridge you come across. This path leads to Enfield Island Village. Take the path on the right, cross Brunswick Road and continue walking on the path through the green space. At the end of the path, turn right into Blanchard Grove. Continue ahead, cross the bridge over River Lea and you are in Knights Pits, which were gravel pits at one time and are now home to a range of plants and wildlife.

Knights Pits

From here, follow the directions to Gunpowder Park and make your way to the starting point.

Path to Gunpowder Park

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