The Artway Trail in River Lee Country Park

Lee Valley Regional Park, spread over 10,000 acres and with a variety of green spaces and wildlife havens, makes for a great family day out. There are miles of walking & cycling routes, gardens to visit, waterside environments to be enjoyed, woodlands tbeo be explored and so many open spaces to wander about and relax in.

The Artway Trail in River Lee Country Park

I have written earlier about the 'Explosive Pedal Power' route which is a 5-mile cycle route but can also be explored on foot. It is a round trail which starts and ends at Gunpowder Park. Along the route, you will pass Meridian Way, Lee Valley White Water Centre, Rammey Marsh and Knights Pits.

Today, I am sharing another fantastic trail from River Lee Country Park - the Artway Route 1. It is 5.5 mile route consisting of tarmac and gravel paths and is an excellent route to explore all the artworks in the lower part of River Lee Country Park.

You can commence walking the Artway Route 1 from a number of starting points - Fishers Green Car Park, Pindar Car Park, Hooks Marsh or Lee Valley White Water Centre.

Let's begin the walk at Lee Valley White Water Centre and go round in a clockwise direction. The first sculpture, with this starting point would be 'Musicality', which is a large wooden xylophone made of different types of wood (in various sizes and densities). You can play it to create natural sounds. Located right next to Musicality is another sculpture called 'Murder of Crows'. There is nothing sinisiter here. It is just that a group of crows is called a 'murder'.

Murder of Crows - Lee Valley Sculpture Trail

Note: When we visited (in the first week of June) the 'Musicality' sculpture had been sealed off due to damage.

As you follow the Artway trail towards Cheshunt, you will come across the next sculpture which is titled 'The Shrine'. Carved from a huge Cedar tree, this piece is one of the main sculptures on the trail. As we approached it, we could see that the sculpture represented a man's face. It is the face of the 'Green Man', who is nature's watcher. Get closer to the sculpture and take a look behind and you will see that the other side is a storytelling seat. There are two carved leaf benches positioned nearby for those wishing to hear the storytellers tales.

The Shrine - Lee Valley Sculpture Trail

Continue on the route (link to route map at the end of the post) and you will come across the next sculpture - 'The Giant's Chair'. As the name suggests, it is a chair made for a giant. You can climb up the chair to get wonderful views of the surroundings.

The Giants Chair - Lee Valley Sculpture Trail

The trail takes you past a number of waterbodies that are home to a variety of waterfowl.

River Lee Country Park

River Lee Country Park

A little further on the trail is a group of sculptures featuring elements like 'Earth', 'Wind', 'Fire', 'Water' and more. This area (on TurnerHill Marsh) is great to relax and to allow kids to enjoy these fun sculptures.

Lee Valley Sculpture Trail

Lee Valley Sculpture Trail

Lee Valley Sculpture Trail

'Fire' (below) was represented with wooden spikes reaching up into the sky.

Lee Valley Sculpture Trail

'Water' was also beautifully represented by a woman surrounded by all kinds of marine creatures.

Lee Valley Sculpture Trail

Continue on the trail, and the next sculpture on the route is the 'Stag Beetles'. Perched on an Okal log are two male Stag Beetles who are shown battling it out for a mate. As you take a look at the sculpture, you will notice other carvings like a beetle larvae, Woodlice and a centipede. 

The Stag Beetles - Lee Valley Sculpture Trail
A little walk ahead, you will come across the 'Play Boulders'. You can climb on these boulders and if you look east you will see the North Metropolitan Pit which is an old gravel pit that is now a wonderful habitat for a variety of wildlife.

Play Boulders - Lee Valley Sculpture Trail

Continue on the route, taking in the beautiful landscape & views and you will arrive at the next sculpture - 'Wildlife Benches'. It is a set of two benches with a variety of local wildlife  carved onto them. There's Bitten, Water Beetle, Otter and other animals/birds depicted on the benches. 

Wildlife Benches - Lee Valley Sculpture Trail

March on, past lovely views and wildlife friendly habitats.

River Lee Country Park

River Lee Country Park

The route takes you past the Waltham Cross substation, arriving at Fishers Green Car Park where you will spot the next sculpture - 'The Glade'. It features a metal daisy and an ant. The sculpture is said to show the world from the view point of the ant.

The Glade - Lee Valley Sculpture Trail

River Lee Country Park

Continue along the route through Seventy Acres and you will reach Hooks Marsh Car Park where the next sculpture on the trail is located. It is called 'Bird Transition' and is a carved block of limestone covered with carvings of differnet kinds of waterbirds found wittin River Lee Country Park. 

Bird Transitions - Lee Valley Sculpture Trail

travel wallets

Next is the 'Banded Demoiselle', a lovely metal sculpture depicting a Banded Demoiselle damselfly sitting on a Yellow Water Lily, a sight that you would see along the River Lee during the warmer months.

Banded Demoiselle - Lee Valley Sculpture Trail

And finally as you walk south along the path towards Waltham Abbey, you will arrive at the final sculpture on this trail - 'The Viking Ship'. It depicts the burnt out frame of a Viking ship and is associated with the legend of King Alfred and how he left a Viking raiding party stranded by diverting the course of River Lee.

The Viking Ship - Lee Valley Sculpture Trail

Each sculpture on the trail has a story to tell and is associated with the area, its history of the local wildlife. It is an excellent trail and can be enjoyed by those who love nature and art.

Like I mentioned at the begining, it is a 5.5 mile trail, but you can split it up into smaller routes if that works best for you.

You can download the trail map here.

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